IDC Retail Insights arms retailers with technology strategy for the Internet of Things

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IDC Retail Insights announced a new report, Business Strategy: Developing an IoT Technology Strategy, which outlines how retailers must plan now for the Internet of Things (IoT) even if IoT hasn’t made it to the top of their priorities list. According to the new report, applied IoT technology positively impacts top- and bottom-line business performance by improving omni-channel operations and enabling personalised and contextualised interaction with consumers. Understanding the technology landscape and defining a roadmap for IoT implementation requires uncommonly long-range planning, but is rewarded with reduced long-term implementation costs and total cost of ownership (TCO).

The convergence of cloud, mobile, big data/analytics, and sensors has created an opportunity for retailers to engage consumers and employees in radically new ways. Within five years consumers will expect that retailers engage them with personalised and contextualised interactions. In the same time frame, if the retailer hasn’t figured out how to improve real time inventory accuracy to 98% or better, they will struggle to close the online or click and collect sale.

The report provides the following insights for retailers:

  • A definition of IoT technology
  • A thorough examination of the technology landscape for IoT (for retailers)
  • Specific steps to developing an IoT technology strategy
  • Guidance for driving retail IoT programs forward

Leslie Hand, Research Director at IDC Retail Insights, reports that, “Retailers can improve operations, reduce risk and loss, and wow the consumer with IoT-enabled capabilities. Now is the time to establish a strategy and develop a roadmap for IoT. A well thought out plan will guide the reduced cost of ownership of IoT technologies and enable continued agility and innovation.”

In another new report announced today, Business Strategy: Understanding the IoT Use Cases For Retail, discusses many of the most common use cases currently being implemented, including product tracking/traceability, interactive consumer engagement and operations, mobile payments, asset management, and fleet and yard management.

The IoT journey, rich in opportunities, is also full of challenges – the biggest of which is enabling tactical applications sometimes in isolation of a plan for an architecture designed for IoT. IoT requires an event-oriented paradigm, which includes listening, bi-directional messaging, information distribution, and communications over a variety of networks. The architecture for IoT stretches the limits of retail legacy networks. When evaluating IoT technologies, IDC Retail Insights recommends retailers gain an understanding of the technology landscape for the variety of technologies and the related intersection points as soon as possible.

The new report also outlines specific steps to developing an IoT technology strategy and emphasises that retailers interested in engaging the omni-channel consumer with consistent personalised and increasingly contextualised physical and digital interactions should consider how to build an architecture for IoT that will continue to adapt to consumer interaction patterns and needs. Meanwhile, technology vendors and consultants should help retail enterprises define and understand the IoT opportunities and the path forward.

To learn more about a related IoT report announced, please visit Business Strategy: IoT Use Cases for Retail

For additional information about this report or to arrange a one-on-one briefing with Leslie Hand please contact Sarah Murray at 781-378-2674 or [email protected]. Reports are available to qualified members of the media. For information on purchasing reports, contact [email protected]; reporters should email [email protected].

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