IoT-driven smart technology would be a perfect fit in today’s multi-brand retail
With multi-brand retail stores having gained footing in the western economies, and staring at making an impact in India, embedded system experts believe that buyers would still get to derive profit whilst not being spoilt for choices. As it is widely known that customers opting to shop at supermarkets and multi-brand retail stores would buy multiple products, smart retailing will recommend the right choices at no additional premium costs.
“Engineers can create simple analytical models to enable retailers to understand co-relation between products that are purchased together.,” states Shankar.
An illustration of this scenario would be to run analytics on customers having purchased pasta and also on buyers who have bought wine. Data here can be integrated to find out matches to then recommend a wine to pasta customers and vice-versa. However, it is worth remembering that big data should not be over-used to bombard buyers with products, rather a straight-forward technology-driven minimalistic approach should do the trick.
This would be a profit situation for retailers as they get actionable insights through analytics, and thereby reserve their best efforts to procure highest-quality products.
“Retailers would also be in a position to charge brands a premium amount for smart solutions implemented. So even retailers stand to gain monetarily from smart retail stores,” believes Avinash.
Implementation of smart retail technology at ground level – earlier the better
With the penetration of smart retail in India still at its infancy, IoT solution providers believe that this is the right time for engineers to start-off with pilot models. Again, analytics can be run on data provided by the retailers (non-smart ones) to find out feasibility of smart technology.
“Sensors are easy to procure, programming these should also not be a matter of concern. However, the main challenge at this stage is defining the scalability. Analytics should be used in these scenarios with caution considering the amount of data involved,” adds Harish Babu – chief trainer at Keonics Karnataka.
Other aspects with respect to mass implementation include integration of requirements within new as well as existing data systems so that available data is utilised optimally. This can be used in tandem with the models involved in developing (and designing) the technical architecture.
The next step is to build rich user experience, and then defining the business key performance indicators (KPI) to be monitored.
Ground reality of smart retail technology in India
“ Honestly speaking IoT product companies are struggling to get the market foothold in India,” believes Avinash. This means that there is still a lot of scope for research in the market.
Other generalised set of challenges for IoT engineers include the energy consumption. Demand vs supply with respect to power is still unbalanced in India. “Therefore, embedded engineers should develop low-power consuming models,” advises Shankar.
Also, with existing data security and privacy risks, IoT solution providers should always look at incorporating security right from the level of sensor programming.
Yet another ground level challenge identified by experts is the return on investment on initiatives such as the electronic shelf label.
Apart from these, experts also view educating buyers as another issue considering the fact that e-commerce has found a permanent place in the lives of Indian shoppers. However, certain providers have an IoT-way out here.