Every sector of the economy, including retail, is going through a digital transformation. IoT and other technologies have accelerated and fueled the digital transformation in many different industries. The retail sector's share of the global IoT market has been anticipated to grow from 14.5 billion USD in 2020 to 35.5 billion USD by 2025 at a CAGR of 19.6%, according to a report.
Retailers can enhance customer experience, increase productivity, save expenses, and boost efficiency with the help of IoT technology. With such significant advantages, IoT is becoming incredibly popular among retailers all over the world. Implementing IoT solutions can be very beneficial in giving retailers useful information.
IoT offers various advantages to retail like crucial insights, monitoring equipment, real-time data, improving the indoor environment of their spaces, and a lot more. Retailers can streamline customer experiences and make more profit with such beneficial services.
How can IoT Benefit The Retail Industry?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is on the verge of radically altering the way retailers conduct their multi-branch business operations. In the following sections, we have enlisted the best 7 ways how retail industry can benefit from IoT and create value for their businesses:
1. Energy efficiency at scale
Energy efficiency is one of the most fundamental needs for a multi-store retail business, like hypermarkets. Long operating hours and increased client expectations of a unique shopping experience are some of the most difficult factors for unnecessary usage of lighting systems, HVACs, as well as other devices.
Now, the question is how to solve this problem? Well, the technology has much to offer to all the sectors to deal with all the problems with ease. Smart energy management systems! Light and HVAC controls help save energy, reduce the overall energy consumption of the hypermarket, and contribute to dynamic lighting effects that enhance the shopping experience.
The greatest ways to save energy with a smart system are to dim the lights, create HVAC scenarios, decrease the use of gadgets while not in use, and optimize energy consumption. A luminaire that is 20% dimmed, for example, will not be detected by the human eye, but it will offer energy savings of up to 15% to 20%. Isn't that great?
2. Centralized solution
Retail businesses who have their presence in multiple locations find it more difficult to get connectivity of all their branches. But why is there a need for one centralized solution for retail? With centralized IoT solution, businesses can keep track of all their multiple branches in one place, for eg. an apparel retail business which has 10 outlets in a city will not get precise and real-time data of energy usage, asset health, and other information if they follow a manual approach of maintaining records on excel sheets or papers.
But, if the same business opts for a centralized solution to manage their multiple branches, they can benefit a lot like saving energy costs, tracking and maintaining the assets, no sudden equipment breakdown and a lot more.
3. Asset monitoring
Asset monitoring in retail can be more challenging than in corporate setups. Consider an example of a medical equipment in a healthcare chain; whether it is a connected asset or a non-connected asset, it must be serviced regularly to ensure its functionality.
Now, this is applicable for 100+ other devices in 20+ different facilities too, throughout the chain. Maintaining all of this data in a spreadsheet using manual processes will just add to the already complicated landscape. Bringing all the assets under one platform lowers the risk of unexpected equipment failures, boosts uptime by maintaining all historical data for the asset in a single location, and provides timely service alarms.
4. Proactive operations and maintenance
As digital and physical shopping methods merge, retailers must constantly innovate to get shoppers returning to their stores. One such advancement is the use of IoT in retail operations like HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning) systems, lighting, UPS, and energy meters in smart commercial spaces.
For a sector like retail, where equipment is heavily relied on for operations, investing in digital maintenance can produce several benefits such as increased equipment reliability, uptime, and cost savings on maintenance. According to a McKinsey report, fully digital predictive maintenance has the potential to increase equipment availability by 5%-15% while decreasing maintenance expenditures by 18%-25%. This is where predictive maintenance and condition-based monitoring can help to improve maintenance effectiveness.
5. Process Standardization
An organized retail business like a food chain, should ensure not only the same quality of food at all of its stores but also has to provide the same store experience to its customers. Things ranging from the indoor air quality, temperature, light levels etc. all add up to this experience. Setting up processes and procedures to ensure all these across all the stores can be inefficient and ineffective with the manual or conventional approach that most of the retailers rely on today.
A platform that connects all the stores centrally can solve this problem effectively. Advancements in the IoT world today have been so much so that its powerful rule engines take only a few clicks to apply a predefined process across the whole portfolio.
6. Enhanced occupant comfort
Occupant comfort is simply the level of comfort provided by a retail business structure to its people. Physiological factors such as temperature, air quality, and light all contribute to this level of comfort.
With the adoption of IoT in retail, businesses can directly enhance the occupant comfort like changing the intensity of lights during daytime, unoccupied hours and lowering or increasing the temperature of HVACs based on the number of occupants in a space, and much more.
7. Improved indoor environment
Post pandemic, regulations are continuously changing to ensure a safe and sanitary atmosphere. The air we breathe has a significant impact on our health, and the indoor air quality in retail businesses is critical. The World Health Organization (WHO) issued a report in July 2020, that brought indoor air quality (IAQ) to the attention of businesses and highlighted how health dangers can spread fast from person to person in crowded indoor spaces.
An IoT-based solution will not only monitor Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) but also provide insights into the optimum IAQ range and open fresh air intakes depending on the minimal threshold IAQ that has been set, maintaining optimum indoor conditions at all times without the need for manual intervention..
With the help of smart energy savings and asset tracking, more and more retailers are looking to integrate Internet of Things (IoT) technology to boost their profitability and efficiency. Many retail segments have already adopted the aid of IoT service providers, and it is anticipated that the number of such retailers will rise in the future, especially given the fact that these solutions will only get more advanced over time.
Are you also planning to make your retail business smart and efficient with IoT integration? Then, IQnext is THE platform for you! IQnext, a cloud-based platform for centralized multi-branch management uses a connected, data-driven, and integrated approach to improve sustainability and drive continuous efficiency in commercial spaces or buildings. It helps boost energy efficiency and offer you a centralized view of your retail spaces? Contact IQnext now!