How IoT Changes the Future of Retail Inventory Management

In this age of smart cities, autonomous cars, and smart homes, it is not surprising that retailers are beginning to leverage the Internet of Things (IoT) to learn more about their customers and streamline business processes. Some examples include analysing real-time data from IoT sensors to know what their customers have bought that day, when a product is about to sell out, and when office equipment needs to be replaced or repaired.

One area IoT has greatly transformed is retail inventory management systems. Retail inventory management systems involve the process of ordering, processing, storing, and using company assets. These assets range from raw materials to finished items that are ready for sale, and they are what businesses label retail inventory costs. Therefore, it is important for retailers to be able to maintain a proper balance when it comes to stock management to prevent inventory shrinkage or excess inventory.

According to a study, 77% of retailers agree that IoT has helped them to serve their customers better and increased their ability to cooperate better with their partners to deliver quality products.

So how exactly does IoT affect retail inventory management and what can expect to change in the future?

1. Inventory Tracking via RFID and Smart Shelves

IoT lets retailers track each item via radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags fitted onto smart shelving units or even the products themselves. The system will continuously scan and collect real-time data about the location of every item, which provides your employees visibility of inventory, leading to improved efficiency and understanding of customer behaviour.

2. Smart IoT connected shipping pallets

IoT allows retailers to track their shipping pallets in real-time. Using a wireless network of pallets connected to the system, managers can obtain real-time insight for every single pallet, which dramatically reduces inventory loss, as well as minimise the effort required to find and replace missing pallets.

3. Autonomous inventory robots

With IoT, it is possible to use automated guided vehicles (AGV) for stock picking. AGV are mobile vehicles mainly used for manufactured or raw materials handling, as well as in floor transportation as a part of retail inventory management systems. They do not need an operator, so retailers can improve and accelerate transportation processes in warehouses while eliminating human error. This also allows for crucial labour cost reduction and time saving, as inventory robots know exactly where the stock is kept and will select a pallet with nearly 100% accuracy.

4. Traceability with real-time data analytics

For factories that require high observability of their process, a dedicated set of dashboards can be created to present the current state of the production process. This removes the need to look at code repositories to identify problems and anomalies within a retail inventory management system.

5. Easy-to-deploy solutions with serverless big data tools

Businesses can opt for a serverless retail inventory management system where a cloud provider is responsible for executing functions by allocating resources optimally throughout a system, which makes building and managing applications simpler. Data engineers can focus on delivering an end-to-end, highly functioning data pipeline within a retail inventory management system instead.

In conclusion, IoT solutions empower retailers to maintain oversight of inventory costs, prevent loss, and obtain new data from segments of the supply chain that were previously invisible. These benefits significantly reduce supply chain costs and enable more sustainable practices in supply chain logistics in the long run.

If you are interested to take full advantage of IoT innovation and have better support for your retail inventory management systems with these future-proven connectivity solutions, contact us at EKTECH, your network solutions provider, today.