The Candid Voice in Retail Technology: Objective Insights, Pragmatic Advice

What Does The Internet Of Things Mean To Retailers?


This year marks the fourth in a row that we’ve queried retailers to find out what the Internet of Things means to them. Is it hype? A saving grace? After three years of findings pointing towards the latter, our hope for this year was that retailers are further along the learning curve and are starting to view the very real possibilities these new technologies afford through a more realistic lens.

Did we find that? Sort of.

Throughout our line of questioning, Winners revealed a far more comprehensive understanding that these are just tools – and that tools, alone, are never enough. It’s using them properly that matters. Consider the following data.

Figure 1: It’s Not Just Us – It’s You

Source: RSR Research, October 2018

Winners recognize that IoT technologies don’t just enable improvement to their internal operations, but can also provide something they believe will be the key factor to continuing loyalty: maintain closer connections with consumers.

It is no secret that consumers, regardless of demographic, are addicted to their mobile devices. And it’s rare that a consumer’s shopping journey doesn’t include accessing relevant content via an Internet-connected (and usually mobile) device at some point. As a result, nearly 90% of Retail Winners think there is tremendous opportunity to engage with consumers via these connected devices in a more meaningful way, and continuously rank every subsequent option we put before them – all the way down the line – higher than their peers.

What does that “closer engagement” look like? The answer to that question varies from brand to brand. Amazon has certainly designed an experience that work for them. For example, Amazon’s Treasure Truck program marries the physical and digital worlds in a way that few retailers (even those with stores acting as regionalized distribution centers) would likely have dreamt up. But that doesn’t mean everyone should simply mimic their (often press-driven) tactics. In order to succeed, retailers need to remain focused on designing their unique brand experience based on their consumer’s needs. That type of strategy requires extensive thought and conversation not just about what new technologies enable, but what is most valuable to the consumer – both the ones each retailer already has, and the ones they want to attract.

Again, it is still in early days for the Internet of Things, but developing a roadmap for what IoT endeavors can accomplish will make all the difference in the world.

We invite everyone to read the full report. It’s full of really interesting data.

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Articles & Opinions November 6, 2018
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