The Internet of Things (IoT) is slowly making its way into the retail space.

Just recently, enterprise software giant Software AG released its new Smart Store Monitoring app.

The application will sit on its Digital Business Platform and provide retailers in brick-and-mortar stores with real-time insights into who is coming into the store and what they are doing there.

Specifically, Software AG sees this as a way of eliminating retailer blind sports, particularly into how their promotions are performing and how to adjust retail strategies based on the information gathered from customer interaction across the store.

Connecting With Customers

The release dovetails with a benchmark report from Retail Systems Research (RSR) and underwritten by Software AG, which appears to indicate that retailers are looking to connect with customers through their smart devices.

The Smart Store Monitoring app report identified store operations and customer engagement in-store as two of the top areas in brick-and-mortar retail businesses that will benefit most from the IoT.

The release also a responds to the pressure retailers are under now to provide superlative shopping experiences on the back of tracking, monitoring and analyzing all in-store activity.

However, there are still problems to overcome. The report identified three technology barriers to the use of IoT:

  • Combining disparate data sources
  • Determining the best response to specific data events
  • Dealing with so much data from so many difference sources in real-time.

The Software AG Digital Business platform pulls together a number of technologies to do just this with Smart Store Monitoring being the latest addition. With it retailers can access:

  • All IoT-enabled data sources: This includes connections to in-store sensors and feeds, predictive models, in-store inventory management, point of service, external data or any other feeds
  • Real-time actionable insight: Provides insights into what is happening in-store in real time, visible by both store staff and head-office merchandisers
  • Automation: Automatically adjust in-store promotional activity, including signage, based on real-time consumer response
  • Predictive models: Initiates actions like deploying additional staff or replenishing shelves at just the right moment

The move into the retail space has been happening steadily over the past 12 months. Last June, a report by McKinsey & Company pointed out that upheaval in the retail space is nothing new.

But the IoT could be the most disruptive technology of all. How disruptive? The report estimates the IoT could have an economic impact between $410 billion to $1.2 trillion per year in the retail sector by 2025.

The Dandy Lab

Earlier this week, a London-based men's lifestyle and retail store The Dandy Lab revealed how it is pulling the physical and digital retail worlds together.

To create the futuristic store, the Dandy Lab worked with Cisco to implement a number of IoT technologies built on concepts to encourage shoppers to interact with products and displays for a blended physical and digital experience.

Similar to working with a personal shopper, users can search and match clothing to create a complete look. It also allows retailers to optimize business processes through the use of real-time data analytics.

“We wanted to create not just a platform for selling products, but a living laboratory that allows designers, makers and brands to test the latest retail technologies and use the data to improve their products, processes and the customer experience," Julija Bainiaksina, co-Founder of The Dandy Lab said in a statement.

There are all kinds of new technologies to enhance the shopping experience including interactive mannequins, digital visual search help to enable shoppers to match or clash’ and cameras to ensure privacy-compliant customer profiling, along with Cisco’s engagement and location applications.

The Dandy Lab plans to move to a bigger retail space in central London early this year. That will enable the retailer to use more components of Cisco's Store-in-a-Box platform.