Iot Market Min

Internet of Things, also known as IoT, is a term used to describe a set of smart devices and sensors that can communicate, through a connection to a network, data, or smart signals concerning a wide range of “events” or physical inputs.

This business sector, which has been continuously expanding in the last few years, is hugely benefiting from the most advanced Machine Learning and Predictive Analysis technologies and from the new infrastructures for managing big volumes of data, such as Data Lakes. Leaving the industrial applications apart, retail can be transformed as well by using these devices, especially as regards Customer Experience and Supply Chain Management.

Let’s analyse the most common applications of IoT technologies in retail industry.

Iot Applications in retail industry

  1. Smart Shelves

Those who work in a shop usually spend a fair amount of their time for monitoring shelves, so that products do not run out and are always correctly positioned. By using smart shelves, it would be possible to automate many of those tasks, along with monitoring any theft. These shelves use RFID tags and sensors that detect the weight of products, so that they can notify the run out of stocks and incorrect positioning, making possible a more precise and effective stock management.

  1. Automated payments

Queueing at the counters is surely an undesirable aspect of purchasing for most of the consumers. Some of them, having to face excessively long queues, could even leave the shop without purchasing anything. To limit such inconvenience, it is possible to introduce IoT technologies able to read tags on each product and charge their price directly on a costumer’s payment app. Amazon, for instance, implemented a technology called Just Walk Out, that allows the costumer to enter, pick needed products and precisely, just walk out. The total amount of the transaction will be charged on a credit card used to enter the shop and the receipt will arrive by e-mail.

  1. Customization and costumer retention

It is possible to use IoT technologies for generating customized offers for customers, who are registered to fidelity programs or for detecting data about customers, which can be used by Analytics department.

The New Zealander Plexture, for example, developed a platform which exploits physical sensors gathering different inputs and, therefore, can offer discounts and customised messages, directly shown on their customers smartphones.

Within the limits of the privacy policy, it is also possible to track, using sensors, the path followed by customers in the shop, with the aim of optimizing product arrangement or other useful measures for improving customer experience.

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  1. Predictive Maintenance

Smart devices can also be employed in the diagnostic and prevention of possible malfunctioning or failure of machinery used in shops (such as refrigerators), cutting down costs related to such events. Thanks to appropriate sensors it is indeed possible to receive signals about the need of maintenance or identifying malfunctioning in advance. Smart sensors can also be employed when a monitoring of certain metrics for the preservation of stored products is needed (such as temperature or humidity).

  1. Supply Chain optimization

Through of RFID technology it is possible to collect data about all the delivery process of products. Thanks to sensors attached to each product or batch you will be able to closely monitor the routes taken during the carriage or specific conditions, such as temperature, to ensure that goods are not damaged. Furthermore, retailers could, for instance, compare suppliers and transporters to choose those who secure better conditions in terms of costs and precision.

Additionally, the sensors themselves, once integrated with other devices, can also be used to optimize the warehouses.


The adoption of IoT solutions can substantially transform traditional retail shops. Thanks to such technologies, it is indeed possible to operate on customer experience parameters, improving their experience and increasing their loyalty, and in the meantime, optimizing Supply Chain and shops for growing profit margins due to an improvement in efficiency.

Nonetheless, successfully investing in IoT technologies requires a high degree of expertise and experience and overcoming many obstacles, such as building infrastructures capable of managing data sourced from sensors and derive value from the operation. Without an internal team, it is advisable to hire experts in the field to successfully implement desired solutions. Dataskills can help you during this journey. If you need further information or a consultancy, feel free to contact us.


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