M2M in retail: for the best consumer experience
07 May 2014 m2m General
Retail and M2M technology are bound to continue going hand in hand. There are few fields where the M2M communications have become more widespread and pervasive than in the retail business.
We have discussed some solutions in the blog before, here are two of them: digital signage –means of information, publicity or entertainment combined in visual real-time controlled displays– and M2M POS devices –very frequent in restaurants especially for payments.
Can M2M enhance the experience for the buyer or is it just a tool to mechanize automatic processes?
As Francisco Maroto, CEO of OIES Consulting and M2M evangelist, claims the importance of M2M technology lies in “how it can be used to offer a unique experience to potential or loyal buyers”.
“It is ultimately not about deploying more technology or having nicer shops”, continues Maroto. “The challenge is to implement new M2M-buyer oriented processes that really influence and impact our desire to buy”.
But “more does seem better” in retail: the number of cellular M2M connections in the retail industry soared to 18.4 million worldwide last year.
The challenge is two-fold. On the one hand retailers face the complexity of the connected shop:
- Stock control
- In-store Management
- Customer care
Whereas potential or faithful clients benefit the rest of advantages M2M gives to shops through their technology. Besides the already mentioned Digital Signage and POS we have:
- M2M in Vending Machines as an enhancement for owners of the machines to inform about product stock, amount of coins/change or for customers who can select products with additional information on prices, units left, or product related to advertising and information.
(Although variable pricing has been trialed it has not been successful for various reasons like Coca Cola discovered and ruled out.)
- Mobile Payment is still on the launch pad and is expected to take off, though it is having a rough time penetrating the consumer market. This flexible payment solution, frees up shop assistants and allows for a more personalized shopping experience while minimizing data theft risk and transaction costs of cash handling.
Intelligent payment methods are being set into place following the SEPA (Single European Payment Area), a project with the aim of introducing cashless payment practices in 31 countries.
With the M2M technology in use in retail it is easier than ever to track consumer behavior, predict trends and even determining conversion rates in sales increasing profitability for shop owners.
“Improving the customer experience means people will consider purchasing more items, more quickly, and go home with a higher percentage of them in a shopping bag”, says Nadia Shouraboura, a tech entrepreneur and the CEO of Hointer. It’s that easy!