Smart retail solutions increase retailer efficieny, reduce labor costs and provide consumer insights by merging digital online e-commerce and physical stores into an omnichannel experience. Solutions such as electronic shelf labels (ESLs) increase productivity and profitability via centralized and dynamic price management without the labor-intensive manual price updates. Smart lighting and wireless access points can also enable indoor location services to track assets and consumer behavior and speed up click-and-collect through shop navigation.
Smart lighting can reduce retailers’ energy costs while improving store aesthetics and enabling indoor positioning. Bluetooth connected lighting control device shipments are expected to grow with a CAGR of +130% 2021-2025.
Costs of lost product inventory in the US retail industry is estimated to reach USD $47 billion, resulting in growing demand for loss prevention and indoor asset tracking solution as retailers try to minimize losses.
Large supermarkets can have hundreds of thousands of items on shelves and/or thousands on luminaires in the ceiling. Adding wireless IoT connectivity to ESLs, lighting and other retail systems require extremely scalable wireless solutions. Additionally, commissioning these networks must be as simple and fast as possible to minimize store downtime.
Deploying a wireless network in a retail store can be a heavy lift. Retailers want to maximize the return for their IoT investment. A smart lighting system or wireless access point should not be a one-trick pony but provide several capabilities – such as location tracking – without deploying more nodes, which is costly.
Retailers must be able to trust that IoT retail systems in their store and network are secure throughout their entire operation. Store operators must factor in security when selecting their IoT systems, such as access points and ESLs.
There are thousands of wirelessly connected devices in a retail store with a multi-year operational lifetime. Because retailers need to reduce operating expenses, IoT devices must provide easy installation and commissioning, long battery life and remote over-the-air software management.
Large wireless networks in retail stores are challenging and must keep everything connected, despite long distances and randomized location of obstacles, walls and other sources of interference. Wireless reliability and long reach are crucial to maintain a steady, daily retail cash flow in modern retail outlets.
To succeed in the intensely competitive smart home market, it is not enough to just develop and launch products to the market. With the continuously evolving software, security and wireless ecosystems, you must consider how to manage the entire IoT product lifecycle, from design to decommissioning, while meeting the user requirements every single day.