IoT and Automation Team Up for Safer Shopping

Holiday shopping will be different this year for retailers as shoppers try to avoid crowds and enclosed spaces. IoT, analytics, and machine vision can help keep customers and employees safe while still providing an enjoyable shopping experience. To be ready for the 2020 holiday shoppers, retailers will need to look to a new set of contactless and automation solutions.  

 

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Image credit: Faytech Ag

If there’s one thing we have learned this year, it’s that people continually find imaginative workarounds to celebrate important milestones in ways that don’t jeopardize the health of their loved ones. What that means for the upcoming holidays is that consumers still want to buy gifts for the special people in their lives, but they want to do so with full confidence in the safety of the retail experience. For retailers, this points to the need to be creative in their use of technology to deliver that confidence.

A major concern for consumers is not wanting to risk shopping in an overcrowded store. IoT technology is stepping in and offering safer shopping options. With video analytics applications working behind the scenes, retailers can gauge which parts of the store floor are most heavily trafficked and adjust the layout accordingly.

IoT-enabled smart cameras, along with applications such as smart shelves, can assess in real time which items are moving most quickly and will need to be replenished to avoid empty shelves. After all, the last thing any shopper wants is to physically enter a store only to find that the item they want is sold out.

 

Personalized Offers and Automatic Checkout

As much as consumers want a safe shopping experience, they still expect personalized experiences from the stores they frequent. With the use of IoT technology--specifically machine vision--retailers can send personalized offers to customers who are part of their loyalty program.

With Braingine, built on Intel® technology, a customer can receive a real-time offer on the very item they are currently contemplating. Likewise, the retailer can bridge the online and store experience by sending in-store discounts on items the customer previously viewed on the Website.

The checkout experience is another dimension of shopping where retailers can make meaningful changes. With the advent of IoT, it’s possible for retailers to set up a system that reads the tags on customers’ chosen items before they leave the store. Eliminating the need for a customer to check out at the counter with a store employee, the customer can simply walk out of the store. The automatic checkout system deducts the total cost from their mobile payment app. As a bonus, this system lets retailers reduce costs previously spent on larger seasonal staffing. 

Smart Carts and Terminals Speed Checkouts

For consumers not quite ready to take the leap to automatic checkout, Centerm offers an impressive array of cloud-enabled terminals. Built with technologies such as AI and biometric identification, Centerm’s portfolio of Intel® IoT Market Ready Solutions offer retailers a range of checkout options, from counter devices to mobile terminals to self-service kiosks.

Some retailers may struggle to decide which of these shopping enhancement approaches to undertake first, but help is available. As it turns out, a single IoT-enabled innovation combines many of the retail enhancements.

Faytech Ag’s EASY Shopper, another Intel® IoT Market Ready Solution, is a smart shopping cart built on Intel® technology that combines features such as no-queue payment, personalized in-store offers, and integrated shopping lists into a single elegant design.

Smart grocery cart with sensors

Image credit: Faytech Ag

The EASY Shopper even helps customers search for and navigate to specific items, an invaluable feature in larger stores. For retailers, the smart cart enables them to personalize the shopping experience in ways that would otherwise be difficult to achieve--for example, providing real-time advertisements and offers based on where in the store the customer is spending the most time.