While essential businesses are fortunate enough to continue operating, the coronavirus pandemic has put extra strain on top of an already struggling retail industry.
Even before the virus, the emergence of online shopping threatened the livelihood of business owners. Combined with the pandemic-level impact of the coronavirus, opportunities for business seem bleak.
According to a report by the US Bureau of the Census, clothes shops, furniture stores, and F&B providers suffered the most important losses while the food and beverage stores are seeing the most important rise in monthly sales.
For retailers to continue surviving, technology is not any longer a luxury, it’s a requirement.
Live Occupancy Counting
In an attempt to flatten the curve, governments worldwide put social distancing policies. in situ to regulate the number of consumers in shops, like groceries, pharmacies, fuel stations, and banks.
In response, tech companies specialized in people counting are rising to the demand of companies. Normally wont to track visitor counts and measure store performances, these IoT devices are repurposed to watch the number of consumers in-store at any given moment.
The people counter technology is straightforward, yet effective. One sensor at each entrance and exit and therefore the device will automatically collect data and inform store managers whenever there’s a breach within the. occupancy threshold.
Several of the advantages that accompany this technology include:
- Ensure customer and employee safety when it involves social distancing
- Save labor cost by eliminating the necessity for manual monitoring
- Add an additional layer of security with an in-built alert system
- Potential to integrate with other third-party security systems like LED traffic lights, access gates, or alarm systems using the application
- a programming interface (API)
While people counting technology isn’t a replacement innovation by any means, it’s evolved into becoming a necessary IoT device for any retail business.
Supply Chain Management
Apart from the sexy smart home devices, IoT is understood for, it’s also revolutionizing the availability chain system. in additional ways than others, IoT’s contribution to the retail and manufacturing industry is bigger though it’d be subtler.
Below are some key aspects of how and why retailers should concentrate on IoT especially during a pandemic:
IoT devices attached to the storage container will allow businesses to accurately track the speed and size of the products, and therefore the time of its arrival, which allows them to:
Integrate this data into their enterprise resource planning (ERP) system to update their stocks’ availability.
Predict for his or her customers when the subsequent batch of products are going to be available without them leaving their homes and risking infection. this is often particularly important for items in high demand and low quantity like pharmacies selling medical masks, hand sanitizers, and gloves.
IoT sensors can monitor every parameter within the storage facility including temperature, humidity, candlepower, and more, which helps:
Optimize their storage situation to save lots of costs and stop spoilage.
Business owners monitor the standard and stop reshipments for deliveries. this is often particularly important for perishable goods like raw meats, fish, and vegetables.
Automated inventory management technology like smart shelves including RFID tags can provide retail management real-time insight into the stock level for SKU, which may save labor costs by avoiding unnecessary inventory checking and stop any unforeseen stockout, particularly during an epidemic lockdown.
Research conducted by Deloitte shows that a staggering 74% of companies experienced a rise in revenue also. As an entire, there are more reasons than ever for businesses to integrate IoT technology into their supply chain management. The potential to extend customer satisfaction while preventing revenue losses may be a paradigm shift well worth the risk at the very least.
Imagine passing around a bit of white book to a gaggle of random people on a day-to-day basis. every week later, that piece of paper would be lucky if it isn’t torn, creased or stained.
That piece of paper is what we pass it around whenever we make a transaction.
Banknotes and coins are notorious for being one among the dirtiest items anyone can hold. Research has found that there are convenient ways to pass viruses and bacterias like E. coli and salmonella. Speaking of diseases, the COVID-19 virus happens to also survive on surfaces from between a couple of hours to many days. All it takes for an infected carrier to cough or sneeze around a banknote, and you’ve unknowingly gotten yourself a contaminated piece of paper.
With the pandemic, individuals around the world are paying greater attention to the importance of proper personal hygiene in their daily lives, including their retail experiences. Here’s where technology steps in and provides business owners a hand.
Since the ’90s, contactless payment has been popularized in gas stations, public transports, and restaurants. Since then, its application has evolved in 2011 with the introduction of near-field communication(NFC)-enabled payment by Google and Android. Nowadays, the choices for contactless payment comes within the sort of QR codes, NFC, and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE).
At this stage, the push for contactless payment is more necessary than ever. the power to form payments while minimizing contact will benefit consumers concerned about health and safety. For businesses, it’ll remove friction during a transaction, increase customer satisfaction, and improve transaction security with fewer fraud losses.
Moving forward, we will also expect subsequent iteration of contactless payment with its integration with the IoT industry, referred to as the web of Payments (IoP). Here are some examples:
- Wearables like Fitbit Pay
- Automobiles like GM Marketplace, and Honda Dream Drive
- Smart furniture like Samsung Smart Fridge
- Smart home assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Home
The retail industry will always play an important role in the economy. While the coronavirus has severely impacted its status, the industry will get to continue innovating so as to survive. As for now, the subsequent breakthrough is that the adoption of IoT in several aspects of business, whether that’s within the customer-side, or the management-side. Regardless, the incorporation of IoT is not any longer an option, but rather a necessity.