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Enhance Holiday Shopping with IoT Technology

Dec. 1, 2021
With U.S. holiday sales projected to skyrocket this year amidst supply-chain disruptions, it’s critical that retailers simplify the shopping experience for consumers while prioritizing security. Long-range, low-power IoT-enabled devices make this happen.

What you’ll learn:

  • How IoT-enabled devices will improve in-store retail operations.
  • The benefits that long-range, low-power solutions bring to IoT devices.
  • Wireless sensors and long-range connectivity mean better asset tracking and more sales opportunities.

The National Retail Federation (NRF) predicts that this year’s U.S. holiday sales will grow between 8.5% and 10.5% over 2020, reaching up to $859 billion—the highest retail sales ever for a holiday season. However, with all of the disruptions the supply chain has faced over the past 18 months, how can retailers plan to manage inventory based on the increase of consumer demand? While lots of shopping will happen online, the NRF also expects a strong shift back to in-store spending, getting consumers back to a more traditional holiday buying experience.

In addition to hiring up to 665,000 seasonal workers to manage the influx of holiday shoppers this year, retailers also must think critically about the technology they deploy to streamline the shopping experience for shoppers and employees alike. Retailers should seek solutions that not only offer data, but provide actionable insights that result in greater efficiency, security, and a seamless experience throughout the entire purchase journey.

Many technologies support the greater retail infrastructure today. However, the combination of intelligent hardware and software systems connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) is one way to improve the key areas in which retail needs to invest, namely operational readiness and the shopping­­­ experience.

Long-range, low-power IoT-connected solutions work hand in hand to give retailers the opportunity to monitor and manage operations—from product availability, convenience, and consumer insights through a single platform—and deliver actionable data in real-time. If anything has proven to be critical over the past 18 months, it’s real-time, actionable data to enable deep insights into enterprise operations. It will be even more beneficial for this peak shopping period.

Increasing Supply-Chain Visibility for More Agile Retail

So much of the in-store consumer experience relies on what’s going on in the back end of retail operations throughout the entire supply chain, from the first mile to the last. Long-range, low-power IoT-connected solutions make it easy and affordable for smart supply chain and logistics to track highly valued assets that are in transit to brick-and-mortar stores. That, combined with cloud-enabled geolocation solutions, means assets can be easily monitored over large geographic regions even within harsh environments.

With connected asset-tracking solutions, retailers always can know when new product is arriving. In turn, it enables thoughtful planning of storefront and merchandising design as well as accurate inventory management to show proper in-stock items online. Having real-time visibility into your supplier’s activity accelerates time to market, reduces operational design complexity, and decreases costs of over-purchasing as retailers can know when their shipments are coming in.

Such processes work both ways as product enters the store, but also as logistics and reverse logistics become more complex as in-store and online purchases and returns increase throughout and after the holidays. With this technology in place, retailers can work directly with their manufacturers and logistics partners to mitigate potential delays in the supply chain while managing customer expectations on delivery times and beyond.

The Return to In-Store Shopping

This holiday season, retailers can deliver a heightened return to in-store shopping via wireless digital display solutions for phones, tablets, and electronic accessories. With clean, vertical presentation, consumers are enticed to interact with merchandise potentially for the first time in 18 months.

In sync with wireless sensors and IoT connectivity, associates can move freely around the storefront and sell complementary products to the consumer based on their discussions with the shopper. From a consumer experience, this extended freedom to interact with merchandise matched with employee expertise is the key to make the return to in-person shopping a success.

Wireless digital solutions enhance the consumer experience, giving them the freedom to move about the store and really get an opportunity to handle a device. In addition, store managers can be part of the stress-free experience, knowing that configurable parameters are put in place to track potential theft, customer engagement, and additional product-related information across single, regional, or national store locations (see figure).

From zone mapping to help store managers understand how shoppers interact with products, to track-and-trace solutions to help manage inventory and on-shelf sensors ensuring empty shelves don’t cost retailers missed sales opportunities, the combination of IoT technology and smart hardware and software platforms give retailers the data to reduce operational costs and gain valuable insights into consumer preferences.

One example of a smart-retail system that puts all of these capabilities in place is InVue Live, a connected platform of products that retailers use to track, monitor, and manage store operations in real-time. The low-power, long-range LoRaWAN protocol and LoRa-enabled devices are the key to providing scalable connectivity, robust security, and easy deployment in retail environments.


Retailers are in the midst of the busiest time of year and can’t succeed without building back consumer trust. IoT-connected solution enable retailers to offer consumers top in-store experiences while also offering internal benefits around asset tracking and upselling based on employee and consumer productivity throughout the storefront. With real-time data visibility providing actionable insights into retail operations, retailers can be confident with their in-store performance for the holidays with the help of IoT technology.

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