IoT in Retail: Today’s Opportunities for Retailers Around the Globe

IoT is changing the retail landscape in many significant ways. It changes the way consumers shop, and it has completely transformed the way stores do business, from how they serve their customers to how they do business overall.

Some of the advantages to retail IoT adoption include:

  • Improved customer engagement
  • Omnichannel enablement
  • Reduce waste and shrink
  • Optimize productivity and resources

With the introduction of voice-activated services like Amazon Alexa, the opportunities continue to present themselves. Savvy retailers are jumping on the bandwagon to seize the opportunity, optimizing for voice-enabled shopping and adding in-store features like sensors that can trigger value-added options for shoppers, like personalized discounts and sale notifications sent to devices based on the user’s proximity in the store.

To support these features, retailers can also use IoT to monitor inventory, supply chain, and even the conditions of items in transit, helping to mitigate spoilage and damage while maintaining adequate inventory levels, reducing overstock situations, and preventing shortages.

Potential issues to IoT in retail adoption: security concerns

While all of these advantages provide retailers with a world of opportunity, there are inherent risks that should be addressed and monitored.

The potential for fraud is still a concern, as is security. The volumes of data that are shared with IoT devices, including the user’s preferences, identification, financial information, biometric data – it’s a veritable treasure trove of data for any malicious attacker.

Networks are decentralized, and every single node in the IoT network represents a vulnerability. This makes it challenging to recognize the signs of an attack, even when it’s underway.

Responding to the IoT security challenge

Wider IoT adoption is inevitable, but to maintain the competitive edge it promises, risks need to be addressed in the early stages of architecture. In 2018 alone, companies in the United States reported more than 32.7 million attacks on IoT infrastructure, representing a 217 percent increase over 2017. The potential for devastation is great, and the margin for error is slim.

IoT spending is projected to hit $1 trillion by 2021, and spending on IoT security is predicted to rise to $1 billion in the same time period. Though this is a positive trend, it doesn’t mean that retailers are doing enough to address their vulnerabilities.

Best practices should be employed early in the process; data should be insulated and, company-wide, employees should be well-trained on security policies and protocols.

In the future, we may see more retailers adopting blockchain technology to support the integrity of their IoT security. Using RFID tags and an IoT platform, retailers can monitor inventory, supply chain, and all of their users, giving them real-time visibility into their systems and enabling immediate response to incoming threats.

In conclusion, the transformative benefits of IoT can vastly improve retail operations from the factory floor to the customer’s door. Choosing an IoT platform that can deliver these features while enabling reliable security will ensure successful deployment and support rapid scale.

If you would like to learn more about the Mojix retail IoT platform, reach out today. We’d love to show you how we can help.

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Jim Donaldson

Jim is the Sr. Director of Corporate Communications at Mojix, Inc., a leading provider of ITEM LEVEL intelligence solutions to the retail and industrial markets. Jim has more than 30 years experience working for both start-up and public technology companies.

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