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Deploying IoT in Retail? Read this before moving forward …

by Larry Bellehumeur   |  Oct 30, 2018  

Hello and thanks for reading.

I cam across an interesting article from AdAge (click here to read) where they covered 5 questions that a retailer should ask before deploying IoT.  Here are the 5 points, and some thoughts on each ….

 

1. What is your end goal?

The main point to get across here was that IoT in itself will not help your business.  IoT is about the power of information, as it allows you to see/learn things that you would not have known before.  However, it is how you change your business processes based on that information that benefit your organization.  So, if you learn more about the buying patterns of your customers, but do not change your Marketing strategies, the information is worthless.

 

2. How will your strategy improve the customer experience?

In the age of Amazon, the vast majority of things we need can be ordered while sitting on the couch.  Retailers need to improve the experience of dealing with their stores, both from an online strategy as well as making it more appealing to visit their locations.  Basically, they need to do what Amazon cannot.

 

IoT can help, but only if it is used right.  Things like targeted advertising is great, but as the article points out, if you don’t do it right, people will ignore it.

 

3. What will you do with the data?

Another way to spin this is to say, “are you in a position to use this data today?”  So, as an example, if you are able to see how long a particular demographic looks at a display, are you able to use that data to formulate a new strategy with your existing CRM/ERP systems?  In many cases, companies fail to upgrade the backend to match the great data that IoT gathers.

 

4. How will you capitalize on the network effect?

This was once a very big problem in the world of IoT.  As an example, the Operations team would use IoT to keep things moving, but never shared the data with the Finance team to improve billing.  As well, Marketers would gather data on customer traffic, but fail to tell the customer service team to better improve their staffing levels.

 

IoT helps both your machines work better, as well as your team, but only if the information is both shared and displayed in a way that helps that particular department.

 

5. How will you maintain security?

In many cases, securing an IoT device is as simple as enabling security settings and changing the default username and password.  As well, most cellular carriers allow you to use private networks to make it harder for hackers to gain access to your data.  However, this is a concern for most corporate customers, and rightly so.

 

The industry is starting to take notice and offering things like end to end encryption, right down to the sensors, but we need to push vendors to do more.