How can #IoT Benefit #Retail


According to Gartner , the Internet of Things (IoT) has become a powerful force for business transformation, and its disruptive impact will be felt across all industries and all areas of society. They forecast that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, reaching 25 billion by 2020.

IoT is transforming the retail sector in a big way and the data generated by the connected “things” are enabling retailers to have far more insights about customers and operations than ever before. The insights in turn enable retailers to streamline operations & personalize customer experiences. The IoT devices in stores can not only capture relevant data for retailers but can also be the points of personalized engagement with customers.

The ability to gather data from various points of customer contact enables retailers to get real time insights about the customer, make more relevant, timely, personalized and contextual offers. It also drives a more streamlined and impactful engagement with customers.

Personalized Experiences

An excellent example is from Ziosk and Artis Consulting: Ziosk tablets can now been seen at tables in over 1400 restaurants in the US. Using the tablets, guests can make their dining experience more enjoyable with a ready source of tableside entertainment and dining suggestions. They can order and pay their checks when they’re ready, rather than having to flag down their waiters. Restaurants get a way to improve guest satisfaction and frequency, customer insights, restaurant efficiency, and, most importantly, revenue—all competitive advantages in a crowded marketplace. Ziosk engaged Artis Consulting to help it build its data infrastructure, including the Azure ML based predictive-analytics capability. Ziosk and Artis used Azure HDInsight, the Microsoft Hadoop in the cloud service, to aggregate the broad range of user-experience data, including where guests click on their Ziosk devices and what parts of the user interface and premium content they use. With that understanding, the model could predict what offers, content, and user-interface elements could be presented dynamically to help guests optimize their use of the Ziosk devices. An Azure Machine Learning web service feeds the results back to the Ziosk tablet in real time to optimize the guest’s experience. You can read details about this implementation at LINK

Personalized Mobile Engagement

Another example is VMob’s implementation of Beacons to help retailers harness IoT to transform customer engagement. By using a combination of VMob’s solution and beacons retailers can target different content to different people based on their proximity to the same beacon. With the solution, retailers can also track customers in-store to measure foot traffic, record dwell times, analyze frequency and optimize store layouts. McDonald's has integrated VMob's platform into its existing app in Europe, Japan and the United States to enable it to target content to consumers. The result was a hugely popular app installed by over 10% of the population which drives increased sales, higher tray value and better customer loyalty. See Story here: LINK


Price Optimization based on Real Time Demand

WASH is a leader in technology-advanced, eco-friendly laundry room operations. Its facilities management services can be found at apartment properties, condos, college and university residence halls, military bases and other multi-housing locations. More than 5 million people do their weekly laundry at a WASH facility. WASH is benefitting from integrating IoT technologies into their coin-op washing machines. WASH connected its machines to the Internet, then mined data on price and machine use, analyzing it with Power BI. This enables them to fine-tune the price set on each machine in near-real-time, to find the sweet spot between maximizing profit and keeping customers from washing elsewhere. See story here: LINK

Monitoring Food Quality

JJ Food Service is one of the UK’s largest independent food delivery services and provides 60.000 customers with everything they need to run a food-service business—from fresh, frozen, and dry food to items like paper products and cleaning products. They saw an opportunity to use their rich customer data to enhance customer satisfaction. An area where they felt they could save their customers’ some time was by anticipating customer orders by recommending products to them even before they had entered anything into the system. The Azure ML Machine Learning story details are at : LINK & LINK

In addition to the Machine Learning implementation, JJ Food Service is also using temperature sensors in the delivery trucks to ensure that JJ Foods can monitor the temperature of food right up to delivery to the customer. The accompanying video shows the IoT implementation. In addition, you can find more details of the JJ Food Service implementation here: LINK

Azure IoT Services

Helping retailers build on existing technology assets, devices and data to derive business value from IoT is a cornerstone of Microsoft’s vision for the mobile-first, cloud-first enterprise. With Microsoft Azure IoT services, you can monitor assets to improve efficiencies, drive operational performance to enable innovation, and leverage advanced data analytics to transform your company with new business models and revenue streams. The Internet of Things starts with your things.

Learn more about the Azure IoT services: Event Hubs, Intelligent Systems Service, Notification Hubs, Stream Analytics, Machine Learning, HDInsight, Machine Learning Studio and Power BI for Office 365.

Additional Resources