“I‘m gonna get myself connected” — so said the Stereo MC’s back in September 1992. Little did they know that they were serving up some extremely sound advice for each and every business now attempting the not inconsiderable task of digital transformation in today’s world.
Because, as we know, digital transformation means so much more than just an app on your smartphone or (whisper it) a parallel virtual universe where your avatar can manifest itself in all kinds of weird and wonderful ways.
Digital transformation comes in many flavours and can mean different things to different people. Much has been written describing what is digital transformation, but the why makes for a far more compelling read.
Think of the last time you ordered a Deliveroo, or an Uber, or ordered click and collect / BOPIS. Or have you ever wondered how your favourite brand manages its supply chain or strives to reduce its carbon footprint? Because all that relies on digital transformation.
Put in that type of context, it suddenly assumes real world meaning. And one of the technologies leading this revolution is all about connectivity. Connectivity of ‘things’, the Internet of Things. In fact every ‘thing’ you could possibly imagine. From cows standing in a field to industrial lathes. And what’s more, it includes retail stores.
“The potential to gather data and put it to use more effectively is exciting. We’re learning how IoT can help us to work differently. We’re improving many of our processes, and we’re empowering our associates with better tools and technology.”
Doug McMillon, CEO, Walmart
IoT and Industrial IoT are nothing new, however, the potential for what they can deliver, is now both available and accessible. And it promises to pave the way for some exciting developments in retail and all types of commerce.
Because when things are connected something magical happens; data. Lots of it. And for retailers, as we know, that’s pure gold. Data on their customers, on our behaviour, our habits, preferences, movements, and most of all our loyalty and propensity to buy. In real time.
And the good news is that it doesn’t end there. By connecting stores with enterprise systems, you’ll create a seamless flow of data across your business. Marketing will see live information streaming in to measure and adapt campaigns, and sales will be able to assist customers quickly and personably with access to inventory information and customer history.
Retail is the fastest-growing sector for IoT projects, says market analyst IoT Analytics. At the same time, IoT-based store monitoring is trending, attests the Gartner Hype Cycle for Retail Technologies, 2021.
Better service, better availability, better experiences — they’re all outcomes of a fully connected store.
Wanna get yourself connected? The writing’s on the wall.