Dell Technologies delivers Retail harmony with Edge and IoT
It’s a well-established truth that every organization today must be a digital organization. It is just that fact that savvy retailers have known and addressed for at least the last five years.
Due to technology’s consumerization, and the ubiquity of the connected mobile device, customers now expect a fully personalized, digital experience when they shop online and in-store— and they expect a seamless congruence between their online and physical experiences.
Though most purchases are researched online before the customer makes a final decision, according to studies, the purchase is then, most times, made in-store. According to the ICSC (the International Council of Shopping Centers), 76 percent of Gen-Z shoppers feel physical stores provide better shopping experiences.
Retailers know, therefore, that their store technology, their stock and supply chain systems, their online stores, brand communications, and their in-store staff need to be working in harmony. Without integrated technology, customers won’t get the experience they demand when they arrive at their local retail store.
It’s worth remembering the importance of this as, according to the same study, 51 percent of shoppers will abandon a retailer after just one or two bad experiences.
Retail can have the vision
Retailers are at the leading edge of delivering digital experiences because their business is one that has had to be at the forefront of digitization — to their advantage – the technologically-focused business mindset is already firmly in place.
The pieces of the puzzle are comprised, in most cases, of real-time streaming data, computer vision systems, analytics, and the capability for localized processing. In IT terms, that’s edge and IoT (internet of things) solutions, but for the retailer, it means the type of insights and opportunities that can only come from working with the information that’s being accrued and analyzed in real-time at the Edge.
We note that having the IT components in one place, or across the business’s various locations (physical and online) is not a guarantee that they’ll work in harmony. What retailers demand is a way to piece the elements together to create the harmony.
The possibilities for interconnected, local technology in retail are impressive. Some might seem esoteric or futuristic, but the fact remains that unless businesses begin to think differently, their competitors will set trends and begin to steal valuable footfalls. And in connected retail, that can mean a corresponding fall away in online sales, too.
With unified solutions in retail, the three broad areas that encompass various strong and proven use cases include:
Personalized customer experience. The ability comes from the deep insights possible from deep data analysis, especially in edge settings. By gathering real-time customer preferences and selection criteria, online and in-store, the retailer can provide just the type of experience that customers expect, at every touchpoint.
Scenario #1: Facial recognition systems identify a customer in-store, and present a special offer on electronic displays for an item from their online browsing history.
Predictive inventory and supply-chain management. Edge, IoT, and IIoT systems provide intensive, high throughput data flows which need fast and powerful treatments to produce meaningful insights. With today’s edge and IoT solutions, stock levels can be pro-actively maintained, with the right stock on the right shelf, at just the right time. The type of technology that’s helped traditional industry — like manufacturing — with predictive machine maintenance data (see our previous coverage here) serves retailers with the control they need.
Scenario #2: AI algorithms present intelligent predictions of what stock will be needed in the next few months, or next season, and automatically inform manufacturers and logistics of expected demand, creating greater efficiency end-to-end in the supply chain.
Advanced loss prevention. Today’s technologies enable retailers to assess potential theft situations. This can be achieved interactively by automated systems that leverage cognitive learning based directly in edge and IoT installations. The analysis takes place at the edge, in real-time, on streaming data, to deliver immediate actionable insights.
Scenario #3: Outlets in a mall may share data in real-time to help prevent organized cliques, know to be involved in shop-lifting, to be identified using facial recognition technologies that then play a key role in alerting staff.
While these are only three of the many use cases and scenarios delivering value to retailers today, they demonstrate a few of the important advances enabled by Edge and IoT solutions in retail.
Delivering business impact
Combining data from many sources helps provide seamless and rich customer experiences in-store and online. By drawing together information from multiple sources and processing it, retailers can put the insights they need at the heart of their business strategy — and gain valuable ground over their competitors. Technology built using trusted expertise and proven in customer environments, online and in the supply chain, means your business can have capabilities today that could include:
- In-store digital signage entirely in step with, and updating as fast as, online messaging.
- Physical security devices working alongside computer vision systems to reduce shrinkage and loss.
- Local technology installed and integrated, like self-checkout hardware and software that provides individualized experiences, alongside mobile, online, and point-of-sale stations.
- Digital catalogs kept fully up-to-date, with online, personal offers and coupons that replicate in real-time to deliver a seamless journey from online to in-store, and back.
- Virtual assistants to reduce staffing costs, and tablets and smart devices in-store that are designed for individual staff to enhance each customer experience.
- Staff training that’s engaging, automated, interactive, fun and exciting, and that can deliver sales staff mindsets that drive sales.
- Smarter supply chains, more efficient warehousing and stock where you need it, when it’s needed.
Dell Technologies Computer Vision, Edge and IoT Solutions are delivering on the needs of retailers. They ensure customers can research and receive promotions on their phones, have stock updates pushed to their devices, and sync their portable technology to integrate seamlessly in-store — all delivered with enterprise-grade security and data protection systems in place. And like our “scenarios” above, these solutions are tested and validated — ready to go today.
To learn more about how Dell Technologies Edge and IoT Solutions can help with loss prevention strategies, inventory & supply chain management and to deliver better shopping experiences to old and new generations of shoppers and consumers, wherever they might be, get in touch with an expert today