While talking about the impact of IoT on retail, it’s often tempting to look at it from the customer experience point of view simply because the influence there is much more visible. But the most compelling reason for retail organizations to look at IoT is the tremendous impact it can have on the supply chain.
IoT has the potential to completely transform the way we look at supply chain management in retail today. Here are some of the great applications of IoT in retail supply chain management:
Connected devices enable retailers to optimize operations right down to each individual product or batch of products. For example, RFID technologies can help improve the precision of inventory tracking. When data gleaned from connected devices is used for data visualization technologies, it makes it even easier to track products across the supply chain.
To make it even more valuable, this service can potentially be extended to customers as well. Customers feel much more in control when they are able to track the product manufacturing/distribution status in real time.
Procurement and pricing
With a fully integrated pricing system, retailers can better synchronize prices at various stages of the supply chain and across channels to ensure consistency. Even a store manager can be empowered to adjust the price of a product in real time based on real-time information on product availability and demand.
In transit visibility
Each product typically goes through an entire chain from the manufacturer, suppliers, the distribution center, retailer, and finally the customer. Given the transitions that a product goes through, tracking the journey of a product or batch for this duration can be almost impossible. But technologies such as cloud-based GPS systems combined with RFID and other connectivity tools can make this possible. This can be especially valuable for products such as medicines, to detect tampering etc.
The IoT presents unprecedented opportunities to digitally enable the supply chain, and to create solutions that combine digital and physical products and services, according to this Gartner report. No doubt it is in a nascent stage right now, but the impact is only set to grow.