The Future of IoT in Retail: Revolutionizing Storefronts with Digital Signage

By Srikanth
8 Min Read
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In an increasingly digital world, technology has become a given in virtually all sectors in the world. The retail industry is no exception, both when it comes to automating processes and enhancing communication. If you’ve seen and interacted with a digital sign, you know what this experience might be like. Digital signage, when combined with IoT, has the powerful potential to completely revolutionize the storefronts you operate and/or engage with. In fact, Kitcast digital signage may totally transform the way you shop. 


What is IoT?

IoT refers to the Internet of Things, otherwise the network of physical devices that collect and share data. While many things fall into this category, digital signs are one that are especially useful in retail. Sometimes called, smart objects, these devices have the capability to communicate messages to the customer, but also gather details that can assist with running a retail business. For example:

  • Optimize store layouts
  • Track store traffic
  • Analyze customer behavior
  • Enhance product placement
  • Monitor supply chains
  • Track shipments
  • Manage inventory
  • Improve the overall customer experience

In addition to all of these useful applications, digital signs are also a dynamic way to change the way customers perceive and interact with your storefronts. How can you harness this for optimal results? Keep reading to find out. 

Bringing Digital Signage and IoT Together in Retail

According to The Business Research Company, the market for digital signage is growing at a rate of nearly 8 percent per year, when tracked from 2022 to 2024. The reasons are many, but include an enhanced customer experience, more effective communication and a viable place to direct advertising money. When digital signs are connected with other relevant devices, retail locations have the opportunity to reach their customers in new ways, while also making use of the data they collect to improve their own bottom line. Have a look at some of the ways IoT is boosting the use and performance of digital signage. 

  • Real time customization
  • Create a responsive environment
  • Make the shopping experience interactive
  • Advertise to the target audience
  • Improve operations
  • Manage the signs remotely
  • Use data for business insight purposes
  • Integrate with the network

All of these combine into a powerful way for retail owners and managers to communicate with and interact with their customers, making the shopping experience more enjoyable and efficient, while also utilizing the data collected to increase revenue and reach a wider audience. 

Exciting IoT Innovations for Use with Digital Signs

If you’ve interacted with a digital device and felt like it was responding to you specifically, you can see the intuitive way in which digital signs can change the way a storefront looks and feels. You can attribute this to IoT technology in a variety of ways:

  • Real time updates to sign content
  • Sensors that change the screen based on light and temperature
  • Voice activated features
  • Personalized promotions
  • Improve operations (self-checkout, etc.)

When your smartphone makes the connection with a digital sign, your search history and even your social media profiles can influence what’s on the screen, creating a customized and streamlined shopping experience and many kinds of stores. 

Enhancing the Customer Experience

Let’s talk more about how digital signage can be used in conjunction with IoT for an enhanced experience for any and all customers. The use of proximity sensors allows stores to customize digital signs and can even send special discounts and deals right to your smartphone. For store owners, this increases the chances of making a sale and allows them to interact and engage their customers in new and exciting ways. 

  • Customized promotions and specials
  • Touch screens and other interactive display features
  • Updates and content adjustments, based on seasons, times, sales and more
  • Sustainable and eco-friendly, cutting down paper usage

Benefits to Store Operation

In addition to making the entire shopping experience efficient, fun and personalized for each of your customers, you can take advantage of a wide range of operational benefits that widen your target audience, while also increasing revenue and profit. 

  • Manage inventory
  • Prevent theft
  • Manage energy (lighting, temperature, etc.)
  • Self-checkout
  • Identify trends in the supply chain
  • Manage labor, efficiency and the store itself

As you can see, digital signs are a fantastic way to collect data from your IoT use and translate it into more efficient business practices, at the same time that you are enhancing the shopping experience for your customers. 

Trends and Challenges to Look For

As with anything digital signage and IoT goes through trends and presents challenges. Knowing what to expect will go a long way toward helping you understand what to expect and be prepared for whatever happens. The major expected trends as we go forward include:

  • Growth rates that are close to 30 percent, according to experts at CMS Wire
  • Sustainability
  • Energy efficiency
  • Omnichannel experiences
  • Inclusivity
  • Accessibility

While there are certainly a variety of perks that IoT integration with your digital signs can offer, there are also some challenges to keep in mind. Knowing what they are can help you prepare for if and when they happen. Here are some common roadblocks that retailers encounter with digital signage:

  • Data privacy
  • Security
  • Complexity of the technology
  • Financial impact

To counteract these challenges, retailers can do a few things. That includes having clear objectives, creating a robust content strategy and consistently evaluating their IoT and digital signage usage. These steps help you match your digital signage use to your budget, but also allows you to modify and adapt to overcome challenges and make the best use of your signs. 

At the same time, you must be aware of privacy and security, so being sure your programs are up to date, compatible with your systems and network, and using multiple levels of security gives you peace of mind and allows you to protect your customers’ sensitive data, creating reliability and trust among your audience. 

In Conclusion

Smart technology isn’t going anywhere, so it makes sense that retailers should stay current on trends and usage options, both for their own benefit, but also for the benefit of their customers. Learning more before you get started is your best first step and there’s no better time than the present to do so. 

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