Skip to main content

Engaging the connected consumer


Reinventing the traditional retailing experience is paramount to reaching a digitally savvy customer base, according to Joe Jensen, VP, Internet of Things group general manager, retail solutions division, Intel. Jensen discussed with Chain Store Age how retailers can meet this challenge.

What are the biggest challenges that retailers are facing in their customer engagement strategies?

The connected consumer is redefining the retail shopper experience and the traditional retail model is transforming, a move that is converging digital and physical capabilities. Retailers are challenged to reinvent the brick-and-mortar experience, and brands are looking for ways to better manage their return on investment. Meanwhile, retail has shifted from a supply-driven world to a demand-driven one where the consumer is in charge. Store foot traffic is down significantly as shoppers begin their journeys online.

The most forward-thinking retail innovators recognize that to retain brand affinity and drive high value to counter these disruptive trends, they need a new vision for commerce — one that goes beyond omnichannel to bridge digital and traditional customer touchpoints, and helps them connect with customers across all channels.

What role is the Internet of Things (IoT) playing in this journey toward customer engagement?

As stores become more connected through IoT, intelligent retail devices connected to cloud, an unprecedented amount of data and customer insight is being generated.

By applying technology solutions that capture, analyze and translate data into meaningful insights and optimal responses, retailers use business intelligence to anticipate and respond to shoppers’ needs wherever they are in their journey, whether online or in store.

How can Intel help retailers in their journey?

Intel’s IoT retail offerings have been helping companies lower operating costs, increase sales and secure consumer data for many years. Now, with increased data analytics, retailers are able to better understand and connect with their customers. By merging insight with operations and supply chain optimization, retailers can deliver more amazing experiences.

What solutions can you provide retailers to bolster customer engagement efforts?

The Intel Retail Sensor Platform combines an Intel-based sensor, Intel-based gateway, and cloud platform, providing a simple, affordable way for retailers to gather actionable, near-real-time intelligence. It is also the first vertical-specific version of the platform.

Offering near 100% inventory accuracy, the platform can alert employees when inventories are low at a subcategory level, such as size or color. This allows associates to maintain inventory in the appropriate location according to the store layout, improving customer satisfaction. Future sensor capabilities with video analytics will enable anonymous customer path mapping for layout optimization and improved product placement.

For example, Levi’s leverages our IoT technology to improve inventory management and customer service for its flagship store in San Francisco. Using sensors and Intel-based gateways, Levi’s is able to gain accurate, near-real time insight on inventory when items are tracked through RFID tags. This helps in-store employees preserve customer privacy while keeping sales staff informed about inventory, stocking, customer traffic and local demand.

How will these play a role as they prepare for the upcoming holiday shopping season?

As the holiday season ramps up and the ratio of staffed employees to customers becomes significantly lower, the Intel Retail Sensor Platform can offer precise accuracy of inventory in real time, enabling associates to track items and restock them accordingly.

This reduces employee time spent on locating and restocking inventory, and instead shifts their focus to customer service during the shopping rush. Tracking inventory with pinpoint accuracy also enables retailers to extend supply chain visibility all the way to the shelf. Now in-demand items can be ordered and restocked in real time during the busy holiday shopping season.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds