While I am still trying to better understand Omnichannel — because it may mean something else if you take it out of the context of the show — IoT, or the Internet-of-Things, I believe really needs to be narrowed in scope to what is measurable and helps with efficiency and pricing optimization — you know, something useful. I have heard others echo the same thoughts.
Here are some examples of what I mean:
- Digital Signage — Whether they are standard digital displays or touch displays — which essentially allow “clicks” with each touch point — both forms of digital signage can provide analytical reports right from the content management software running the content from the media player PCs to each of the displays. Digital Signage can also be used to help drive more awareness of social responsibility and drive more traffic to the store’s website, as the website’s traffic is also measurable. Furthermore, with dynamic pricing initiatives, the digital signage software reporting data can be compared with any changes in sales for the specific period of time as part of the analyses. This gives the end-user customer – whether their function is product planning and merchandising or marketing – better leverage to implement a successful product promotion.
- Mobile Applications — Store applications loaded on mobile devices capture searches and clicks, which can be captured and measured.
- BlueTooth Beacons — this is usually paired with the Digital Signage and with the Mobile Application to allow a customer to receive promotional content within the average 30 meter range of the beacon.
- RFID Tags — these are quite costly according to retailers I talked to. While the price point for barcodes is about 2-3 cents per tag, the price point of the RFID Tag is can be about 10-15 cents higher depending on the size of the RFID tag. Disney World Florida is using RFID tags in their Magic Band, which was launched not too long ago. It is used as a mobile wallet, room key, and beacon to receive promotions from nearly 300 of Disney’s retail stores. Disney uses the information to help with inventory and price optimization.
Most of the folks I spoke with seem to agree that RFID tags are still cost-prohibitive today, and primarily used for asset tracking of palletized products as opposed to individual products.
Outside of these applications, most people seemed to be confused by IoT. All analysts agree though that IoT needs to be applied to a specific application that has the ability to be measured in order to be meaningful and provide value.