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IoT in retail a win for companies and customers alike

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Retail IoT applications can help companies improve the performance of inventory management systems, much as just-in-time production has aided manufacturers.

Today’s retailers are taking a page from manufacturers’ books. Manufacturers have long used just-in-time logistics and IoT applications to optimize assembly operations. Now IoT applications are helping retailers — brick-and-mortar as well as online sellers — better fulfill customers’ demands.

IoT in retail environments has often included smart lighting and smart thermostats to control energy consumption, however, today big-box retail stores in particular are leveraging IoT capabilities to not only automaterestocking, but also enable customers to order online and then pick up their orders at their local store.

Retail IoT applications drive growth in the connected market

The global connected retail market size was estimated at $11.17 billion in 2014 and is expected to reach $53.75 billion by 2022, according to a Grand View Research report. Technological advancements combined with increasing numbers of IoT applications across the retail market will drive that growth.

“IoT is the connective tissue between devices and applications,” said Iain Gillott, founder and president of wireless and mobile research firm iGR. “M2M is almost the same, but IoT has intelligence and cloud on top of it.”

Millennials’ expectations inform today’s retail IoT applications

Based on a survey that asked millennials what they think their smartphone will be like in five years, Gillott sees smartphones as the central focus of a range of retail IoT functions. He considers today’s retail IoT applications as the basis for more sophisticated retail services that will “anticipate”millennials’ requirements.

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