Smart Wi-Fi and IoT: How retailers can benefit

Retailers are increasingly using tech to fight back against the rise of eCommerce. In our latest blog post, we look at how 5G and IoT are leading this drive...

Mike Mead


Imagine this.

You walk into a store to pick up a new pair of jeans.

While you’re in the store, your smartphone vibrates, and you open it to find a map of the premises, which you can use to track down the jeans you want, in your size. You add those jeans to your bag, take them to a self-service checkout, and receive another alert to your phone, giving you a discount code to use because you’re such a valuable, loyal customer.

All the while, in the background, a system lets the business warehouse know which jeans you bought, and the network makes a note for future stock requests.

Sound futuristic?

This is actually the retail process that countless companies are starting to use thanks to Smart Wi-Fi in retail, and the presence of IoT. By 2020, scientists estimate that there will be over 30 billion connected devices worldwide. The question is, how can retailers use this technology to fight back against the rise of eCommerce sales and online marketplaces?

1.     Automated checkouts

Have you ever been to a shopping centre, spotted a huge checkout line, and decided you didn’t need your items after all? You’re not alone. People frequently lose interest in their purchases when they’re forced to wait in a lengthy queue. That’s why we’re seeing so many self-service checkouts appearing in the world today.

Smart Wi-Fi in retail and IoT sensors allow businesses to set up systems that read the tags on an item when a customer leaves a store. This same system would then charge a customer’s card for the products that they took, automatically sending an invoice for their purchase to their phone or email. McKinsey estimates that technology like this could reduce cashier staff requirements by 75% by the year 2025.

Even in simpler self-service checkout environments, better connectivity means that your product management tools can instantly update your stock information, so you know exactly how many items you have left in your warehouse, reducing the risk of sold-out products.

2.     Personalised discounts

Repeat customers are some of the most valuable assets that your business boasts. It makes sense that you’d want to keep them happy. With Smart Wi-Fi and IoT in retail, you can track who visits your store the most often, then send automatic discount codes and vouchers to their phone while they’re still shopping.

You could even use IoT to track the items that a customer spends the most time looking at, then send that customer a personalised code that they can use the next time that they come back to the store, if they decide to leave without making a purchase. This way, your clients will be even more tempted to come back and spend money.

The easiest way to deliver personalised discounts and track customer purchases is to use beacons – a piece of technology that first emerged from Apple in 2013. These Bluetooth devices send alerts to smartphones based on location proximity and gather useful data about how your customers explore your store, so you can make informed decisions on how to customise the customer experience. The same technology can also be great for advertising in-store events and promotions.

Studies from Swirl Networks found that over 70% of shoppers think that beacon-triggered offers and content on their smartphones helped to increase their chances of an in-store purchase.

3.     Smart shelves and in-store layout support

Finally, smart Wi-Fi and IoT in retail is an excellent way to make the most out of your retail space and your employees. A lot of your staff’s time and energy is focused on keeping track of your shelves and making sure that you never run out of stock. However, with smart shelves, RFID tags, and beacons, your shelves can automatically update your digital warehouse whenever someone buys something from your catalogue.

Additionally, disruptive technology in retail like IoT helps businesses to improve the layout of their retail space to suit the needs and expectations of their customers. For instance, if your sensors tell you that your audience members spend most of their time at the front of the store, then you’ll know that’s the best place to put details about your latest sales and promotions.

In a world where eCommerce is becoming increasingly popular, and in-person shopping is losing its sparkle, retailers need to be ready to embrace the latest technology to help them stay ahead of the curve.

Make sure you’re prepared for smart Wi-Fi and IoT in your business. Contact Nice Network to find out how you can benefit.