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IoT holds key to the much-needed transformation to experience-based retailing

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The Internet of Things (IoT) will be pivotal in shaping the experience-based retailer of the future, says Beecham Research in its new ‘Internet of Retail Market Brief’.

Beecham Research analysts see physical and virtual shopping channels becoming more intelligent and interconnected, while new roles such as the Chief Experience Officers will play a vital role in creating new levels of customer engagement by harnessing emerging technologies such as augmented and 3D virtual realities, biometrics, wearable devices and connected objects.

The sector brief looks at how transformation will take place, point to key enabling devices, technologies and applications, and explore the impact on six retailing environments: multi-site retailers, specialist retailers, entertainment, hospitality, virtual retailers and interactive kiosks.

“The transformation of retail environments will be driven by emerging technologies such as virtual reality and 3D printing, underpinned by critical security technologies and will revolve around the intelligent use of multi-sourced data and advanced data analytics,” says Saverio Romeo, Principal Analyst at Beecham Research. “Data will be the life blood that will flow through all these technologies, making physical and virtual retail spaces more intelligent and able to adapt to new needs, experiences and business models.”

But Beecham Research warns that the design and implementation of the experience-based retail strategy will require new skills and organisational changes in retailers. A new breed of Chief Experience Officers and other experience-based professionals will need to design what new experience-based retailers should look like, understand the challenges in undergoing this change process and evaluate the technologies best placed to deliver the ultimate experience for the customer.

“The Internet of Things promises to transform the entire retail experience from manufacturing and the supply chain to retailers and their customers,” says Saverio Romeo. “To succeed, the industry must embrace the IoT vision and ensure that they have the right strategies, skills and technologies to become experience-based retailers across multiple physical and virtual channels.”

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