IoT in Retail: Smart Shelves, UAVs and More

A vital industry for society requires urgent change. If you want to remain a strong player in the market, of course. Retail giants choose Internet of Things technology to promote their brand. Let’s see why.

Retail Challenges

Whatever futurists tell us about the speedy death of this industry, this is not true. The retail market is growing and will grow. Perhaps the form of existence will change a little. But a person’s need to acquire things in the near future will not disappear.

But still, certain challenges our time throws retail. We will analyze the most significant of them:

  • Buying and Marketing Methods

There are the issues you should always keep abreast of all the marketing innovations of competitors in your niche. If you are not the first to offer a new product, then you will not be even the second one. And now we are talking not about banner ads, which people dismiss because it has long become visual trash.

  • Logistics Issues

It is strange to see expired goods or the lack of what you need in a super cool store. And when it is impossible to figure out where and what is on the shelves, most likely the buyer will leave the store. The person not just does not return, he will tell acquaintances about such bad service. It is these personal assessments that are the most disastrous for the store. After all, people don’t trust anything so much as the experience of their friends and relatives.

  • Delivery

Buyers always want more. And at the height will be the player in the market who will quickly offer another chip. And when we talk about delivery, it is very captivating to the buyer. The free shipping offer encourages the purchase of 9 out of 10 users. This is a powerful statistic that cannot be argued with.

And so, when we noted the most important retail pain points, we can share a proven solution. The name of this decision is the IoT in Retail. Why do we say that it is verified? Because of the real cases that we worked on are already pleasing the client with an increase in efficiency and profit.

IoT in Retail

The Internet of Things can fundamentally change retail, from procurement, storage, promotion to paying a check by a client. The correct use of IoT tools can increase profits significantly.

Here are 5 uses for the IoT in retail:

  1. Automatic checkout system  

With the advent of supermarkets, the number of employees in the hall of the stores has decreased significantly. Only cashiers remained. Now, this post will disappear. Even 5 years ago it seemed incredible that you can just go to the store, scan your bank card or special applications, take the goods from the shelves, and leave the store.

Now it is a reality. Thanks to Computer Vision technology, special cameras in the hall monitor those products that the buyer took, process this information and write off the total amount of the purchase from the card, sending a check. Two goals are achieved at once: queues disappear forever, and it becomes possible to optimize the cost of training employees

McKinsey estimates automated checkout can reduce cashier staff requirements by up to 75%, resulting in savings of $ 150 billion to $ 380 billion a year in 2025.

2. Smart Shelves

Also, one should not forget about the laws of merchandising and the rules for displaying goods on store shelves. It can also be improved with IoT tools. The RFID tag (Radio-Frequency Identification) is becoming increasingly popular in many industries. RFID tags are able to not only help employees to lay out goods according to the display system but also to notify in a timely manner when the goods end so that the shelves are not empty.

The result of using such tags is to reduce the time and cost of inventory of goods. Another undoubted advantage is the ability to track possible thefts, without the cost of security services and expensive surveillance cameras.

3. Delivery by UAVs

One of the latest daring innovations in the retail industry is the delivery of small goods using drones. In our time, there are still certain implementation difficulties, namely imperfection of legislation, the loud noise of propellers, cyberattacks on the delivery control system. But despite this, the tools of the IoT are improving every day and soon more and more people will use this method of delivery, because the advantages are undeniable: the incredible speed of delivery, savings throughout the entire delivery process from fuel to courier.

4. Smart Spaces

One of the important factors to reduce unnecessary costs is energy management. The maintenance of the vast areas of exhibition halls and warehouses can significantly affect the company’s budget. Processes such as ventilation, lighting, cooling, heating, security, plumbing are indispensable in retail. IoT tools can also help here. Sensors are placed around the entire perimeter of the room, which collect information on indicators of air, temperature, humidity, pressure and so on. All information from these IoT beacons is transferred to the cloud for processing. And depending on the set indicators of the norm, the system itself regulates the environment. It also shuts off the supply of water, electricity, and enhanced ventilation, as soon as it is not required.

By implementing such a fully automated system, the company is able to save 20 percent on utility bills.

5. Regular Purchases Become Fully Automated

Another trend that has emerged thanks to the capabilities of the Internet of things. This option of using the Internet of things for medium large customers is especially relevant. The RFID tag allows you to track when the number of products approaches a certain minimum number, the store is notified in a timely manner, the order is formed and delivery is carried out. Thus, the company is always provided with all the necessary products and does not lose money on express deliveries.

6. Smart Logistics 

The IoT tools in tandem with the RFID tag can raise the level of logistics efficiency to a whole new level. Sensors of the Internet of Things in warehouses, during transportation, are able to collect information about the conditions of storage or transportation of goods. Information is processed and already in the form of ready-made reports it enters the system and, for example, into a mobile application, which in real time changes the environmental conditions itself, or notifies responsible people. The result of using such sensors is to reduce losses from improper storage conditions of products.

7. RFID Chip Monitors Product Freshness

Customers’ confidence that all products in the store are fresh is one of the key points of store success. To achieve absolute certainty that the products have not expired and that the products were stored in appropriate conditions, you need to accurately monitor the conditions in which the products are stored. It is impossible to do this without the help of an RFID chip. Such chips are installed on food boxes and scan the environment in which they are located. Thus, there is no doubt that throughout the transportation, for example, the cheese was always at the ideal temperature for it, from 2 to 7 degrees Celsius.

There are also chemical sensors that can travel with food and notice in advance if food has deteriorated, thereby preventing disease outbreaks.

8. Personalized Approach to the Client

Not the least significant option for using the Internet of Things in Retail is to set up personalized advertising of your products for customers and use the Internet of things tools to display it when a potential buyer is near or already in the store. For example, advertising will work much more effectively if a prospective buyer receives a notification of a discount on a product that he viewed last night in the store’s catalogue right near the entrance to the store itself. 89 % of early-movers in retail gain increased insight into customer preferences and behaviors from the Internet of Things.

These options are not just ideas taken from the head, but proven methods of increasing recognition, and therefore profit. The industry giants such as Amazon, Lowes, wing, checked the effectiveness of the steps taken for development. 

77 % of early movers in the Internet of Things in retail create opportunities to better collaborate with (new) partners in delivering products and services to customers. You just can’t trust the results, see how it was.

IoT Retail Use Cases

  1. Amazon Go (40-50 each)

We cannot fail to mention the first incredible breakthrough of Amazon Go. Using computer vision technology, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, Amazon Go created a prototype of stores of the future. Why tell, if you can look at this miracle of using IoT in retail.

2. Lowe’s

Lowe’s is an American retail company specializing in home improvement. The store makes extensive use of top-notch technologies such as the Internet of Things and Augmented Reality. We have already told you how lowes expertly use In-Store AR Navigation. But they went even further and hired a robot that can help in two languages ​​to find the right products, as well as store employees in the inventory process.

3. Wing

Delivery by drones is not the most popular, but very promising field of activity. With the right and consistent approach, you can become the first pioneers in this field. The wing company is the first to receive permission to deliver drones in Australia.


We showed you the main expertise that will be used shortly in the retail industry. All of them will be modified and mixed depending on the specification, geographical location, financial capabilities and creativity of the stores. One generation is replacing another, and you need to keep abreast of such changes and tailor your business to the needs of customers, because the retail industry is the business area that people face every day, and therefore it must respond to changes faster. We can help you and provide top-notch solutions for IoT in the retail industry.


Send your message

    Call back request

    Contact Us

    US representative

    Paul, Head of International Sales



    P: +1 (202) 7889535

    E-mail: [email protected]