Over 70% retailers plan to invest in IoT by 2021: Report

March 23, 2017 - United States Of America

Merchants are betting on the Internet of Things (IoT), the growing network of web-enabled physical objects, to digitally enhance stores and keep consumers coming through the door in the era of online shopping, according to a recent report. They are turning to IoT to upgrade back-office functions by streamlining and optimising their supply chain operations.

As per the Zebra Technologies’ 2017 Retail Vision Study, 70 per cent of the retailers who participated in the study are planning to invest in IoT by 2021. About 68 per cent may invest in machine learning and cognitive computing and 57 per cent are in the favour of automation.

Retailers are investing in IoT technologies, from beacons that beam shoppers with customised coupons to radio frequency identification tags that track inventory, to simplify, enliven and customise the shopping experience, generate revenue, and reduce costs, according to the study. They are embracing IoT platforms to transform real time, visibility-driven data throughout the supply chain into actionable insights.

Nearly 96 per cent of retail decision makers are ready to make changes required to adopt IoT. Already, 67 per cent of respondents have implemented IoT and another 26 per cent are planning to deploy within a year, says the study.

Retailers are also turning to IoT technologies to personalise the shopping experience. According to the survey, 75 per cent of stores will not only know when specific customers are in the store, but will also be able to customise the store visit for them by 2021.

Retailers are also adopting technology solutions to heighten merchandise visibility throughout the supply chain, from the time inventory is shipped from the warehouse and received in a store's back room to when it is stocked and replenished on the sales floor. According to retailers surveyed, the key sources of customer dissatisfaction today are out-of-stock merchandise, and the same product available for less at another retail store.

Over 70 per cent of retailers surveyed plan to provide, or are currently providing, item-level RFID technology. As an industry, retail inventory accuracy hovers at about 65 per cent, studies show. By contrast, RFID platforms can boost inventory accuracy to 95 per cent, while out-of-stocks can be reduced by 60 to 80 per cent with item-level RFID tagging.

Around the globe, retailers are investing in IoT technologies to redefine their operations and the shopper experience. Merchants are reinventing their supply chains with upgrades that enable automated, real-time inventory visibility via IoT, such as RFID, which can boost inventory accuracy levels to as high as 95 per cent. Their emphases and progress across a swath of retail tech initiatives vary per region, states the study. (KD)