Imagine walking into a grocery shop five years ago. Then you’d go to the freezer section and pick up some ice cream before heading home. It was very simple. The transaction did not require interaction with smart screens.
You might be scrolling Instagram today and come across an advertisement for a subscription ice-cream service. You might ask Alexa to remind your to get ice cream after work. You might get a text from your significant other asking for cookies and cream with chocolate syrup. Instead of buying a cone for yourself, you choose to take a different route to home so you can pass the grocery store. To avoid traffic jams, you use Waze on the dash display of your car. You finally get to the store and start listening to summer music on your wireless headphones. You are in the mood for popsicles and the music is a great motivator. You walk out of the store carrying your purchases.
These touchpoints are just a small part of IoT experiences that you have throughout your day. However, none of these touchpoints are controlled by the retailer from which you actually purchase your ice cream (except for the self-checkout).
How can retailers tap into IoT’s revolution?
IoT Technology can be used to enhance customer experience
According to one company, cooler doors are the answer.
The company, aptly named Cooler Screens, was founded in response to a void in the consumer experience–brick-and-mortar retailers just didn’t have much IoT connectedness. Cooler Screens created IoT-enabled smart displays to offer customers a better shopping experience. They wanted to bring together what they love about online shopping – ease, relevance, transparency – with their in-store experience.
These screens can display multiple ads functionalities such as full door and banner ads, nutritional labels, filters, and more. The screens switch on when consumers are within six inches of them. They also showcase products when they are close to customers.
The true benefit for the consumer, and what would keep them coming back for more, is the ability of the screens to clearly display nutrition facts and sale information. This eliminates the need to squint. This reduces the need for you to open the door to inspect different items. It helps you make better decisions based upon your budget and dietary requirements.
You can also boost sales with helpful reminders
Bundling products such as toppings and ice cream can be encouraged by the screens. This benefits both the retailer who can sell more units and the consumer who gets an ice cream sundae after a long day.
Leaders believe that IoT’s future lies in creating positive outcomes for consumers and businesses. This category includes cooler screens.
The price-check scanners, which have been a staple in the aisles of Target and Walmart for years, are another example of IoT devices that facilitate positive outcomes. Apple Pay smartwatches, Square card readers that plug into mobile phones, payment devices at restaurants tables, and iPads with patient information in hospitals rooms – all of these applications are beneficial to the customer.
Retailers should ask themselves some questions.
Is technology being used to make customers’ shopping experience more pleasant, as the pharmacy chain did with IoT and AR to help customers find their way around the store. Are I allowing outdated technology, or a lack thereof to slow down my customers’ experience and discourage them from returning? Are I making it easier for my customers to locate items and pay for them?
IoT and AR can be used to support supply chains
These doors could also be beneficial for tracking the inventory of grocery stores in real time and using this data to model supply chain problems.
Cooler Screens technology’s ability to give data to marketers, suppliers, and store owners is part of its appeal. The technology does this without collecting personally identifiable information, perhaps hitting a sweet spot in the privacy-versus-information debate.
This data can quickly be analyzed and used to make purchasing and stocking decisions as well as supply decisions. It is not possible to prevent another panic-buying of toilet paper. Consumers could have peace of mind if they share data and not just the visual of empty shelves.
This information could change the way that stores stock shelves and racks. This data could theoretically predict consumer behavior, reduce food waste and increase profit margins. Sharing information quickly up and down the supply chain could lead to faster movement.
IoT is a boon for small retailers too
IoT technology is not just for big retailers.
IoT devices can be used by the farmer’s market beekeeper to accept card payments and direct browsing to her social media accounts. Boutique clothing store owners can allow customers to sign up for a waitlist digitally for the most popular items. To build trust and confidence with the community, the owner of a health food store can offer digital coupons and a monthly newsletter.
These are just a few of the many ways that IoT technology can be used to increase sales and brand loyalty.
IoT Technology Is Ubiquitous and Will Only Grow
Smartphones and smartwatches are common. Many of us have smart devices attached at our lights, fans and thermostats. While we work on our computers using Bluetooth keyboards, Netflix streams to our smart TVs.
IoT technology is a part of our everyday lives. It only makes sense for retailers to get on board with the IoT trend and create seamless, full-circle technology experiences.
Cooler Screens is a unique use case for IoT devices in retail. According to their pilot data, 90% of respondents preferred shopping on a smart screen to traditional retail. The smart screen-equipped cooler sections saw a 50-100 percent increase in retail unit sales compared to other similar stores in the region.
Future screens will likely be used for more than just advertising and displaying products.
They will likely be used to improve the customer experience. They could be voice-enabled so that customers can ask for directions to specific items. IoT technology can increase touchscreen use in stores, or even better, contactless payments options, and touchless screens. Customers could see samples and place orders to have their products shipped to them. This innovation could make it possible for the retail experience to stay digital.