IoT for Retail

6 Tips for Achieving Success in your next Retail IoT project

The application of IoT technology in retail is proving to increase customer engagement and loyalty, while substantially increasing cost efficiencies.

By focusing on the most important success criteria, you can ensure your next IoT project has a far better chance of delivering the results you expect.

Retail continues to top the list of industries with the highest IoT (Internet of Things) potential. The term EIoT (Enterprise Internet of Things) is used to refer to IoT business applications.

  • 70% of retail decision makers are ready to invest in EIoT
  • 80% of retailers feel that EIoT will have a dramatic effect on consumer products over the next three years.

Enterprise Internet of Things in Action

EIoT has a great deal of potential: it can enable retailers to increase cost efficiency, improve the overall customer experience, increase brand loyalty and revenues.

However, issues remain with implementation of EIoT in the retail industry. In contrast to this highly positive IoT outlook and its potential to improve the customer experience, an estimated 75% of IoT initiatives are considered a failure, with 60% of these projects stalling at the proof of concept stage. However, by following some key project and partner guidelines, you can be on your way to making your next retail IOT project a success.

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A. Three critical project guidelines for EIoT success.

1) Start with a project whose objective is to come up with a solution for a customer problem that exists today. All stakeholders should already agree that the problem exists - this may sound very basic, but this is a key reason why the majority of IoT projects never get off the ground.

2) Start with a small proof of concept project and measure the tangible benefits of the project in terms of two components:

  • a. to what extent does the project solve the customer problem, and
  • b. how does it score against its success metrics?

Success metrics may include incremental changes to store efficiency, costs, customer engagement, the reported customer experience, or sales revenue. Simply put, if the proof of concept benefits outweigh the incremental costs, then you will be able to justify a broader deployment across multiple store locations. Don’t judge projects based on their projected one-year results - think medium to long-term when evaluating project benefits.

3) Ensure that you fully understand the long-term impact of the EIoT project in terms of how it affects workflows, business processes, and existing technology (including any legacy systems). Since few retailers can justify wholesale replacements of existing systems, new EIoT technology will need to integrate with the existing technology environment. Work with key stakeholders at every stage to ensure everyone buys in to any changes in business processes and current systems.

B. Choose your ideal EIoT technology partner(s).

In the past the standard technology practice for retailers was to build walls, or protect Intellectual property (IP) from competitors - this was a way to achieve brand differentiation. But this method is rapidly changing. The fact is that the ability for a retailer to successfully innovate will be dependent on the strengths of strategic partnerships.

It is extremely rare for retail organizations to have in-house EIoT expertise, especially since EIoT is a nascent technology with evolving standards and security protocols.

An incorrect partner decision will ultimately determine if a project is a success and failure. It may also impact a brand reputation and revenue growth. It is therefore essential to choose the right IoT technology partner.

The best EIoT technology partners should have a close to perfect score on the following three criteria.

1) An ideal partner must be able to demonstrate how they will protect the privacy of you and your customers’ information and data, on an ongoing basis. Select partners with a strong track record in retaining privacy of information.

Steer clear of partners who mine data coming through their system for their benefit. For example, Google mines customer data to increase ad revenues, by finding ways to insert more targeted ads in more places. Amazon mines customer data to determine what kinds of products are sold most successfully by third parties, and may thus be candidates to compete on directly.

CUBE and its parent company have extensive experience in managing sensitive customer data, including millions of real-time, highly confidential healthcare and financial transactions.

2) Always seek technology partners who are clear and upfront about their agenda and business model. Ideally, a technology partner business model should focus on the long-term, emphasizing ongoing security enhancements over an entire integration.

Security often ends up being an afterthought in EIoT deployments, yet without constant attention to IoT security, major outside breaches can occur, including compromising customer information, malware, and remote hacking of a store’s critical data. In fact about half of U.S. companies with IoT devices on their network have already been breached. Therefore, it is essential that EIoT technology partners are industry experts who can demonstrate they support open standards and have/are directly involved in shaping and maintaining security and technical best practices.

CUBE uses a proven process called CUBEngage which is focused on understanding your customer, and working with your team to design a customer-centric strategy, where the application of technology focuses on solving customer problems.

CUBE’s EIoT developments continue to contribute to, and leverage open source and standards. CUBE’s proprietary code revolves around securitization of the platform, dealing with diverse connectivity issues, while providing specific services to particular industries. One example of this is a solution developed for the media industry which provides a secure method for managing content remotely.

3) EIoT technology partners should be able to demonstrate successful EIoT deployments that demonstrates continuous R&D, regular software/firmware updates, and a solid track record of customer support.

CUBE was launched in 2010 to develop IoT type products that enabled marketing agencies to manage “content” remotely. In this case, the content that these agencies needed to manage included music, audio messaging or digital signage playing in a variety of venues, especially retail establishments. CUBE has evolved the development in EIoT in several areas.

Contact CUBE to explore how we can make your next retail EIoT project a success. We have the technology and expertise to fit your IoT project needs.

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  • Zebra 2017 Retail Vision Study
  • IoT World Forum 2017 Cisco review of IOT success factors
  • August 2016 report by Retail Systems Research
  • 2017 IOT success articles by: Maciej Kranz electronics
  • EssentialRetail Oct. 2017 - How store-based retailers can solve the innovation dilemma
  • Business Wire 2017-06-01 Survey US Firms - IoT hits Security
  • IoT-Agenda: Why manufacturers make insecure IoT devices