Smart Super Markets: The IoT Enabled Retail Experience

Internet of Things’ ability to connect, exchange, and optimize data as per user preferences using sensors and actuators connected to the internet has received enormous attention over the past decade. The influence and application of IoT is expected to grow exponentially during the next 5 years due to the deployment of 5G and its incorporation with other technologies like deep learning, Artificial Intelligence, and robotics.

As with many other industries, IoT is also expected to revolutionize the retail industry. The global Internet of Things in the retail market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 20.74% and reach USD 69.25 billion by 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence.

IoT allows retailers to connect with both businesses and people, enabling them to gain insights about product performance and new ways of customer engagement with both new and existing customers. IoT enabled retail stores can vastly improve customer experience, optimize the supply chain, track packages, reduce waste, monitor food safety, and create new revenue streams.

Smart Shelves

Smart shelves can interact with apps on a customer's smartphone. IoT-enabled smart-shelves can pair with the user's mobile and display personalized advertisements and discounts. Based on customer's shopping patterns, the smart shelves can suggest purchase ideas. These smart shelves can also automate the inventory management process and give store managers real-time notifications and updates on sales levels.

Kroger, the American retail company, has already started implementing smart shelf technology in its stores. They partnered with EDGE, a cloud-based display solution company. Using the Kroger EDGE displays, the shelves display prices, advertisements, offers, and even nutritional data of the products.

Kroger recently teamed up with Microsoft to upgrade the Edge digital shelf technology using the power of Microsoft's Azure AI. Kroger says that this collaboration will speed up the customer shopping experience.

Adroit Worldwide Media’s, Smart Shelf with edge displays is equipped with optical sensors that can display product pricing and personalized content based on the customer's distance from the shelf and even based on their age, ethnicity, and gender.

Smart Carts

From the moment a customer walks into the supermarket till the moment they leave after checkout, they will most probably be using a shopping cart. A smart shopping cart can add so much value to the shopping experience of the customer. They can help reduce the need for interaction between the customers and staff, point the customers to shelves and even scan the items and checkout the customer automatically.

Amazon's Dash Cart is the latest smart retail innovation from the industry giant. This cart can scan the items placed in the cart and charge the customer, eliminating the need for physical checkout lines. The US-based CAPER LAB has developed a smart cart that promises to make checkouts faster, easier, and more fun! Their smart-shopping carts, with the help of sensors, AI, and machine learning, can help customers with store navigation, receive personalized deals, advertisements, and automatic checkouts.

IoT sensors can also be used in the tracking of traditional carts and baskets. Tracking assets like carts and baskets can help stores reduce the cost of having to replace them.

Improving Supply Chain Logistics

According to a recent Deloitte research paper, "Modern supply chain management can be not only about getting products faster, cheaper, and of better quality but also about getting managers the right information at the right time so that they can better make informed supply chain decisions."

IoT implementation can help optimize supply chain management like never before. The main advantage of using IoT in the supply chain is the increased visibility, ability to track the packages with increased precision and make decisions based on insights generated with the help of IoT's predictive potential. Many industries have started seeing supply chain revenue contributions by around 10%.

Other potential uses