Software AG has unveiled Smart Store Monitoring for the Digital Business Platform. Smart Store Monitoring provides retailers with real-time and predictive analysis capabilities in their 'brick-and-mortar' stores by enabling them to access, monitor and analyse large volumes of streaming data from in-store sensors and apps. Retailers can now gain immediate, actionable insights into how their promotions are performing and exploit the full value of the Internet of Things (IoT).
Oliver Guy, Retail Industry Director, Software AG, said: "These real-time insights could suggest retail managers should redeploy their staff to 'hot areas' in their store to meet high demand or persuade marketing managers to fine-tune promotions on the fly to better respond to different consumers in a particular location."
According to a recent benchmark report from Retail Systems Research (RSR), underwritten by Software AG, retailers are keen to connect with consumers via smart devices and see an opportunity to offer new services based on consumer-driven data from IoT-enabled devices. They view store operations and customer engagement in stores as two of the top five departments that will benefit most from IoT (41% and 36%, respectively).
Oliver Guy noted: "The role of the store is expanding from a historically transaction-only point to an omni-channel hub at the centre of all selling activities. Additionally, retailers are under immense pressure to provide a seamless, superior shopping experience to stay ahead of the competition. To benefit from the store's shifting purpose and growing shopper expectations, retail managers must be able to track, monitor, analyse and optimise all in-store activity in real-time."
Retailers are optimistic about the value of IoT in the store and they know that this new approach to data capture, analysis and action is needed. However, respondents to RSR's report cited three technology barriers for all IoT projects – combining disparate data sources together, determining the best response to specific data events or expectations, and dealing with so much data from so many different sources in real-time.
Software AG's Digital Business platform aims to overcome these barriers, integrating a number of key technologies to enable Smart Store Monitoring, including:
- Connectivity to all IoT-enabled data sources including in-store sensors and feeds, predictive models, in-store inventory management, point of service, external data or any other feeds.
- Provide actionable insight as to what is happening in-store in real-time – visible by both store staff and head-office merchandisers.
- Ability to automatically adjust in-store promotional activity, including signage, based on real-time consumer response.
- Ability to incorporate predictive models to initiate actions such as deploying additional staff or replenishing shelves at just the right moment.
- In-memory data management and real-time analytics tools ensure that information is readily accessible and actionable.
- Connectivity and process management tools ensure in-store processes can be managed, and automated where appropriate, to streamline omni-channel processes.
Oliver Guy continued: "In order to make IoT a reality, retailers need the critical data capabilities to track and act on all of the sensors and data feeds in a store – from point of sale data to shelf sensors.."
Once retailers have addressed the data, infrastructure and skills challenges inherent with IoT technology, they can reap the full benefits of a connected retail environment. By bringing existing data together, in real-time, all key stakeholders in the retail environment can predict and foresee issues and opportunities within their organisation. Merchandisers and promotion planners can access information streaming from the store's sensors and in-store apps, giving them immediate insights into how promotions and campaigns are performing.
As RSR found, retailers view inventory accuracy (49%) and system-wide inventory visibility (40%) as two of the top three IoT opportunities. Retailers must seek a solution that allows sales managers and floor personnel to receive relevant details about a customer's shopping history, store merchandise, inventory and product shipping information quickly.