Improving customer experience and adapting to new business trends requires Wireless WAN foundation
Technology adoption in retail stores has always been influenced by consumer trends and seasonal needs. Today the future of IoT in retail also is being influenced by lingering safety standards that consumers became accustomed to amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The main priority for store and restaurant owners is to improve the customer experience and drive brand loyalty. New and evolving IoT technologies, which demand more out of a store’s network connectivity, play a critical role in achieving that goal. Laying down the foundation of a reliable in-store network will accelerate the growth of smart stores and retail technology trends.
Common knowledge at the start of the pandemic was that less contact between employees and customers resulted in lower probability of transmission of the virus. Retailers were quick to implement IoT technologies and applications that enable a contactless experience to allow consumers to feel safe at physical locations. Examples include QR codes at restaurants to replace menus, self-checkout lanes, and contactless payment.
IoT technology in retail, enabled by cellular IoT connectivity, will continue to evolve and play a vital role in day-to-day business. We will see the implementation of new sensors, devices, and software services to create an efficient and safe work environment.
Connected IoT technologies and applications are an integral part of everyday business. Point-of-sale (POS) and inventory tracking are two areas where technology upgrades can make a big difference.
POS hardware and software plays an essential role in all types of stores because it gathers your data on sales, inventory, and customers. Retail Info Systems (RIS) expects 40% of retailers to refresh their POS hardware or software in 2022. . Either implementing or refreshing your POS can assist businesses to make improvements based on the data that is collected. Network uptime and security are essential components to POS because it protects stores from a loss in sales and collection of customer data.
Retailers understand the value of asset tracking beacons and tags for viewing existing inventory and assets across in-store locations, online shopping, and warehouses. 42% of retailers view inventory visibility as a top priority in 2022, as it will help show customers which products are in and out of stock in real time. Store owners can easily get inventory status in real time and take action to optimize the customer experience.
Foundation of smart stores
Optimizing IoT devices to create a better customer experience and having a network to support them are foundational first steps of companies developing “smart stores.” The combination of reliable network connectivity, scalable devices, and cloud analytics is crucial to this process.
Evolving IoT technology and applications require higher bandwidth to keep business running. If the network goes down, so does the functionality of essential devices, leading to a loss of potential revenue that can add up over time. According to RIS, 55.2% of retailers report that network downtime costs them more than $1,000 per minute, per site. 17.2% of those retailers report losing more than $5,000 or more per minute during periods of downtime. As storefronts become more reliant on IoT devices, having a dependable network through a failover plan is a high priority.
Smart stores with a reliable network and business edge computing capabilities can utilize connected devices that provide end-to-end solutions for occupancy and safety control, environmental monitoring, and asset tracking. A range of Bluetooth sensors and management software from Rigado can run in a container environment on select Cradlepoint routers to provide data collection and automated solutions. It also can integrate with enterprise cloud services such as Microsoft Azure IoT Central and AWS IoT Greengrass. This consolidated solution supports the scalability of new sensors and devices that will continue to improve the customer experience and drive the future of IoT in retail.