Today’s brick-and-mortar retailers not only have to compete with similar stores in their market area, they also must contend with online retailers. It’s no surprise that the online channel is expanding and giving brick-and-mortar locations a run for their money. Consumers are also becoming increasingly comfortable with the convenience of shopping online.
However, the traditional retail model is far from dead.
Statista reports in 2020 that the share of total US retail sales from online channels amounted to 14.3 percent of the total retail sales figures in the US, up from 11.1 percent of all retail sales for the same quarter of 2019. Undoubtedly, some of the expanded online sales are due to individuals doing more shopping online due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the online sales have been increasing steadily over the past several years.
Online retailers have an arsenal of tools to create a great shopping experience, boost profits, and create efficiencies. They’re using technologies to help optimize the supply chain, provide a customized experience unique to every shopper and recommend additional or complementary items for add-on sales. Other technologies like AI-powered chatbots can quickly respond to customer questions and streamline buying.
Stepping up Sales with IoT
So how can brick-and-mortar retailers stem the tide of growing online sales market share and continue to contend with online competitors? First, they need to understand and focus on their core value propositions and differentiators: Physical retailers can offer the ability for customers to actually touch items before purchasing. They can stress good product quality and value, and they can personally relate to customers through face-to-face interactions.
They can also invest in sophisticated IoT-based solutions that enable them to step up their sales game to a new level. IoT solutions can help retailers create a pleasant and customized customer experience, check inventory in seconds (so they don’t disappoint or inconvenience consumers), and present shoppers with exclusive offers in-store, right on the spot. In other words, retailers can use the same approach and technologies that online vendors are using to create a satisfying and profitable shopping experience.
Smart Shelves for Personalized Experiences
One emerging technology that’s helping transform retail locations and help brick-and-mortar stores win consumers from online vendors is the smart shelf. Smart shelf systems use IoT technology to electronically connect store shelving into the business’s operations system. They can automatically track a store’s or chain’s inventory, so owners and managers can take more informed re-ordering actions.
The connected shelving can also measure consumer interest in a specific item or product category and reduce theft by tracking merchandise on shelves. They can also deliver personalized experiences to shoppers at the point-of-decision by delivering relevant promotions as consumers select items from store shelves. They can also provide real-time, in-store insights that increase sales and boost efficiencies.
A Powerful Combo: Smart Shelves and Digital Signage
While smart shelves on their own provide a wealth of value to brick-and-mortar retailers, combining the solution with additional technologies provides exponentially greater benefits. An Intel® IoT Solutions Marketplace offering, NEXCOM International Co., Ltd.’s Smart Shelf Solution for Targeted Advertising, powered by Intel® Core™ processors, takes the smart shelf experience one step further by adding an array of tools. The solution includes digital signage player hardware, Quividi's VidiReports Pro for automated audience and attention analytics, and VidiCenter for online data management.
To form a holistic solution, NEXCOM's optional digital signage software, PowerDigiS*, can deliver efficient content management. This means retailers can collect customer demographics, compile statistics reports, deliver customized customer-related content, and manage signage remotely.
Don’t Leave Innovation on the Shelf
Learn more about the opportunities for solution providers to help retailers with smart shelf technology:
- Get more details in the Intel® IoT Solutions Marketplace about NEXCOM’s Smart Shelf Solution for Targeted Advertising.
- Read the Intel brief, The Evolution of the Smart Shelf.
- Discover how to Enrich Experiences with Retail Technology Powered by Intel.
- Watch a video to learn more about NEXCOM International and its activities.