How the IoT is redefining your shopping spree

Closeup of the touch screen of an Amazon Dash Cart in an Amazon Fresh grocery store in Irvine, California. The screen is white and green with a scannable QR code.

The juice

  • Technological transformation. The IoT is revolutionizing retail operations and consumer shopping habits.
  • Engine of growth. Affordable IoT sensors and the growing demand for seamless shopping are driving IoT adoption.
  • Wave of innovation. Smart shopping carts and connected vending machines are redefining shopping experiences.

As technology continues to reshape the retail landscape, the Internet of Things (IoT) is emerging as a game changer, greatly influencing how businesses operate and consumers shop.

The global Internet of Things (IoT) market size in retail is projected to reach $297.4 billion by 2030 and grow at a compound annual growth rate of 28.4 billion by 2030, according to a report by Grand View Research. %.

The research report cites the adoption and deployment of connected technologies as key to growth, while sensors and IoT hardware have become less expensive, leading to a demand for a seamless shopping experience that should fuel IoT adoption in the retail market.

Additionally, smart payments continue to be more acceptable in the retail sector, a major factor that will drive industry growth over the forecast period, according to the research firm.

Below are some of the more recent developments in the use of IoT in retail.

IoT fuels the rise of self-checkout

Perhaps the most ubiquitous use of IoT in retail is scanners which not only do cashiers use, but are increasingly replacing live cashiers in favor of self-checkout lines in grocery stores and many major retailers, including Walmart, Sams Club, Target and many more.

Over the past five years, the number of self-checkout machines in the United States has increased by 10 percent, according to a report by Catalina. Grocery stores are leading the way, with 38% of all aisles now for self-checkout.

The research also found that although self-service grocery checkout lanes accounted for 38% of transactions, they only led to 24% of sales, which the research firm attributed to some bulk purchases made online and some high-end items not eligible for the self-checkout lanes.

Those in the 19 to 24 age group were the most frequent users of the self-checkout, while those of the baby boomer generation were the least likely.

Ultimately, the rise of self-checkout systems showcases the transformative power of the IoT in reshaping the retail landscape and customer shopping habits.

Related Article: Why ignoring IoT-enabled customer experiences could cost you

Redefining retail with smart shopping carts

Going a step beyond self-checkout lanes, some retailers have started using smart carts.

While still in its infancy in the United States, smart carts, which allow the user to scan and pay for items on the cart, are showing significant growth in Israel and other parts of the world. According to a report by ResearchAndMarkets, the global smart shopping cart market is estimated at $1.82 billion by the end of this year and will grow at a compound annual rate of 25.52 percent to $5.67 billion. dollars by the end of 2028.

Veeve now offers smart shopping carts that include connected tablets with connected screens that retailers can use to make personalized offers and promotions, as well as the ability to checkout at the cart. By analyzing customers’ purchase history and buying behavior in real-time, retailers can provide targeted offers and promotions that meet customers’ specific needs and interests. According to Veeve, this can help increase customer engagement with your reseller loyalty program and lead to more sales and repeat business.

According to Shopic, Wegmans is piloting smart carts at two of its New York locations. Two thousand of the company’s smart carts are deployed in Israel.

The adoption of intelligent shopping carts, which promise personalization and convenience, marks the next innovative step in retail, destined to redefine shopping experiences globally.

Related article: From data collection to action: IoT drives customer-centric innovation

Smart IoT-Powered Vending Machines: Redefining Retail Efficiency

Another way to ease the line at the manual checkout is to allow shoppers to purchase products from connected vending machines within the store.

Farmer’s Fridge recently began supplying its smart refrigerated vending machines that offer salads and wraps in jars and bowls to outlets such as Costco, Hudson News, Target and Jewel-Osco, an Albertson company.

Walmart and some other retailers also have smart vending machines for making plain house keys and car keys (none with chips).

Thus, by implementing connected vending machines in stores, the retail giants are not only simplifying the shopping experience, but are also actively addressing the age-old problem of checkout congestion, paving the way for a more efficient and customer-focused retail.

Using the IoT to fight retail theft

Dollar Tree and Target recently reported lower-than-expected earnings, both citing theft (reduction in retail jargon) as a major factor. IoT is seen as a way to help solve the problem.

In self-service kiosks, we see both computer vision and RFID sensors used together to help prevent losses, said Michael Maxey, vice president of business development at ZEDEDA. For example, a camera can tell the difference between a T-shirt and a stereo, but probably not the difference between a $100 designer white T-shirt and an ordinary $5 tank top. That’s where sensors like RFID can come into play. AI models coordinating the store’s computer vision, RFID, and transaction records will help detect record tampering, such as substitution of price tags.

However, implementing IoT in the retail sector comes with its own set of challenges, Maxey warned. Resellers face the concerns of managing distributed environments that span multiple locations, integrating legacy systems with next-generation native applications, establishing robust security for distributed networks and devices, and simplifying application management across diverse environments.

IoT-powered digital screens that transform in-store advertising

National grocery chain Kroger will add digital smart screens using Cooler Screens advertising and IoT analytics, bringing the total number of devices in its stores to 500, the companies announced in late May. The expansion follows a three-year pilot project.

Smart screens will replace traditional refrigerator and freezer doors in supported stores. The screens will place a digital overlay in front of the physical products, providing shoppers with information regarding different diets, health needs, budgets and more. The screens will also show contextual ads.

We are excited about this continued collaboration as it extends our vision for the future of retail media, giving brands another powerful in-store marketing lever, said Cara Pratt, senior vice president, Kroger Precision Marketing, in a prepared statement.

This substantial expansion of IoT-powered digital smart screens provides brands with a powerful in-store marketing tool, promising a future where technology and retail are more intertwined than ever before.

Final Thoughts on IoT in Retail

Other IoT devices in retail are being used for interior mapping to help consumers navigate physical stores to find the items they’re looking for and for home pickups of returns, just to name a few. The growth of smart shopping carts and other ways to help retailers enable faster and more efficient shopping experiences in physical locations will continue to drive the growth of IoT in retail.

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