How can retailers utilise data from the Internet of Things?

data is changing

With the recent influx of the Internet of Things and wearable technology, comes the opportunity for businesses to capitalise on the human data captured by this new breed of personal devices. But amidst the rise of wearables as useful accessories, Matthew Napleton, marketing director at Zizo asks, is it possible to harness the information collected by wearable technology in order to enrich business data and increase business success?

The value that can be offered by data gathered through wearable technology is one to be noted, since enriching the connections made through such data may be the next step in understanding consumer behaviour. The retail industry in particular can enjoy the benefits in applying wearable technology extraction and interpretation to information collected through store users.

Beacons for example, which identify and track smart phones, can be placed within shops to monitor the longevity of a customer’s visit, and which areas are being frequented. Once analysed to identify correlations, this data could prove fundamental in terms of maximising sales and generating fine-grained consumer profiles. In this instance, wearable technology would provide insight into shopping patterns to accurately track movement in store at an even higher level of detail.

Similarly, this technology could provide details about how long someone has been actively shopping and measure fatigue. In the same way sports teams are monitoring the data of their players to decide when to make a substitution, the data collected from shoppers can suggest when it’s time to head to a coffee shop for a quick break and refreshment. These small interactions with the customer have the power to enhance the overall shopping experience.

Human data can also be used to measure shoppers reactions to a product, by monitoring changes in the body, such as heart rate. Upon identifying which products receive the best reactions, retailers can then position these items at the front of their stores to entice visitors and increase sales. Shopping centres can also use data to engage with customers before they’ve even set foot in the first store.

With the right model organisations can embrace these new data sources quickly and efficiently – and that includes the new real time feeds that are coming on stream driven by the Internet of Things. Take the smart city project underway in Milton Keynes, which is collecting vast amounts of data relevant to city systems from a variety of sources.

The diversity of data being collected and shared provides a chance for innovative organisations to devise extraordinary new ways of exploiting that data to drive better business. For example, can a shopping centre combine the empty/occupied tweets from the city’s parking spaces with existing footfall measures to improve understanding of patterns of shopping centre usage? The value is not only in gaining better understanding of the dynamics of the high street but also perhaps in selling that insight to the retail community.

Retailers themselves can use smart information feeds from utilities regarding planned and emergency works that may affect customer access to stores and automatically contact customers due to use click & collect that day and suggest an alternative location. This is a simple but effective way of not only ensuring the click & collect service is unaffected but also improving customer perception.

The rise of the Internet of Things brings with it a fresh source of data, and with it comes the opportunity for creating actionable insights. The examples of data extraction and enrichment through analytics demonstrate the opportunity to transform the way in which retailers engage with their customers.

Matthew NapletonThe author is Matthew Nappleton, marketing director, Zizo

Matthew joined Zizo in 2008. As D\director of marketing he’s responsible for driving the marketing strategy for the innovative platform.



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