Powered by Connected Retail, the store of the future will need to maximize process efficiency across many levels— in-store staff, inventories and technology while increasing sales —in order to survive. Real-time monitoring capability will be critical for the store of the future, in order to sense, correlate and automate all of these processes thus proactively managing staff, inventories and related costs.
Smart store monitoring provides retailers with real-time and predictive analysis capabilities in their brick and mortar stores by enabling them to access, monitor and analyze large volumes of streaming data from in-store sensors and apps.
Smart Internet of Things (IoT) sensors detect activity and provide visibility across a store and, coupled with streaming data and real-time analytics, enable actionable and automated responses to things like a spill on aisle one in a grocery store or a run on umbrellas in a rainstorm.
These efficiencies translate into happier customers. No one will slip on spilled milk, for example, because it will have been cleaned up before it causes a problem. Customers caught in a rainstorm can duck into your store and be assured of a plentiful supply of umbrellas, because fresh inventory has already been mobilized. This “Retail Moment” can be used to increase both sales and customer satisfaction.
Minimising inventories is a top priority, as inventory is one of the highest costs a retailer bears.
Today, with looming Living Wage initiatives appearing, the cost of staff is about to become another challenge for retailers. Starting in 2016, the UK National Minimum Living Wage will be implemented, starting at £7.20 per hour and rising to over £9.00 per hour by 2020 – representing a £38% increase on 2015 National Minimum Wage levels. Retailers are facing similar challenges in multiple countries.
For retailers who place a high value on customer service and are attempting to use this to differentiate themselves, increasing overall labour productivity in order to attain maximum value from the increase in costs will be essential to maintain differentiated customer service while controlling costs.
The IoT and smart store monitoring technology can be used to dramatically improve overall productivity whilst enabling increased sales. From automating tasks to orchestrating staff placement and inventories, technology represents a significant opportunity to increase sales and productivity using real-time insights.
Smart stores of the future can “clean up” – not only spillages but also in sales terms.