Smart stores, the future of Retail

Salmerón Uribes Marina    20 September, 2018

In the information age, the retail sector, or what is the same, the commercialization of products and services, has been forced to leave behind the mere exhibition of products to focus on the consumer and their needs.

Nowadays consumers are more informed, and it is this information that makes them more demanding. The consumer of the 21st century wants to continue buying as he always has done but with the advantages of electronic commerce. This phenomenon has led the Retail sector to implement new technologies in its physical stores so that the purchase is not only a purchase in itself, but also a true experience for the customer. This concept is what is known as O2O, that is, online to offline.

Thanks to IoT solutions, the smart store obtains data in real time that allows you to know the tastes, needs and habits of the consumer and thus predict their behavior. The customer profile obtained from this data, combined with the analysis of peripheral data, such as the number of products in stock or existing promotions, allows the smart store to configure the best offer for that specific customer, and in that precise moment. It is a level of personalization never seen before.

What do we mean when we talk about IoT solutions in Retail?

IoT solutions encompass both those that are almost imperceptible to the consumer, and physical devices, for example the so-called beacons, which are used to receive information on the location and route of customers in the store and send offers to customers, or as interactive mirrors that show the full range of colors and sizes of a garment and can recommend garments that match well with the one the customer has chosen, or as digital labels, designed to keep the retailer informed and make possible the operation of the Smart tester and receive analytics from the store.

In short, these IoT solutions allow you to know the profile of the buyers who enter the store, their age, their preferences and even the areas of the store with the greatest number of visitors, the frequency of visits by customers, how much time they spend on a particular promotion or the satisfaction obtained after a purchase.

What do consumers think about this new type of store?

In the «Things Matter» report (Telefónica IOT, 2017) it is observed that «the concept of ‘Inteligent Store’ is still to be discovered, compared to other categories. Only 36% of respondents have heard of ‘smart stores’, a figure close to that of those who are aware of having visited them, 21% ». But despite these figures, the report also reveals that consumers’ interest in store connectivity solutions already reaches 30%.

What is clear is that we are facing a reality that advances with a firm step which large corporations such as Amazon or Inditex have already joined and that will undoubtedly revolutionize the Retail sector as we know it.

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