Retailers “overly optimistic” on promises of IoT technology, report argues

Retailers “overly optimistic” on promises of IoT technology, report argues
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According to a recent report from Retail Systems Research, retailers are ‘overly optimistic’ about what IoT technologies may achieve, yet only forward-thinking companies are seriously investing right now.

The report, titled ‘The Internet of Things in Retail: Getting Beyond the Hype’, was based on a survey of 129 retailers, and found several key findings.

Retailers who are keen on leveraging IoT into their businesses highlighted three general areas of focus; inventory visibility and accuracy, interacting with more digitally-savvy consumers in the physical store, and making the physical store more effective for consumers, according to the research.

Companies looking at IoT in this way also have a common desire for a closer level of engagement with consumers via their smartphones, the report noted. Their emphasis is based on the products they sell, although there are huge differences emerging between the needs of fashion and apparel retailers, and what their FMCG and general merchandise-based peers are looking to do.

As for why retailers have not done more, many cite improper infrastructure that can support regularly upgrading cutting-edge technologies. The report argues that even executive leadership does not grasp the possibilities, and are therefore not pushing further for such initiatives. Even if they were, retailers’ IT departments do not have the necessary bandwidth – both literally and metaphorically – to tackle these new challenges.

“Interest in IoT is fueled by a very real and pressing problem that retailers have today,” said report co-author Brian Kilcourse. “They have struggled to integrate the store to an otherwise 24×7 anytime/anywhere selling environment.”

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