In retail, new technology is even reinventing old technology and its data
February 6, 2017
By Duncan Angove, Infor president
Retailers are already using data science for everything from pricing optimization and evaluating target customers to assortment planning and demand forecasting. But soon, a new influx of data will empower them to do much more than that: just recently, Intel announced that it’s investing $100 million in Internet of Things (IoT) technology for the retail industry.
The investment likely will go toward wearable tech and sensors, which will fundamentally change the way that retailers collect and use data. But it has a domino effect: not only will the IoT tech allow for new in-store experiences, it’ll also serve to augment the value of existing technologies and data.
Take RFID tags, for instance. Infor Chief Scientist Ziad Nejmeldeen recently joined Reinventing Retail to talk about how the combination of RFID and sensor technology will open up “a whole new stream of data” that retailers haven’t had access to before. Even though RFID tags have been around for decades, they’re now being used in combination with sensors to drive innovation in new areas, such as improving real-time inventory assessments:
“You need to know exactly how much you have of every item in a store, and you need to know where it is in a store because you’re going to have employees walking around the store and pulling that merchandise in order to package it and ship it off. And that constitutes a need for RFID.”
These sensors are also going to give retailers deeper views into what Dr. Nejmeldeen calls “the cannibalization of items,” as sensors can track a customer who picks up an item, and later puts that item down to pick a competitor’s product. He believes that the price of sensors will go down “tenfold” over the coming years and become a new industry standard.
Data collection and analysis are shaping the future of retail. Tomorrow’s retail world will be even more integrated and connected, and if Intel’s investment is any indicator, the evolution of the industry is already transforming business models and customer experiences.