How to Overcome These 7 IoT Challenges for a Retail Brand

With a view to extending into new opportunities, society has been active in terms of creating strategies linked to technological advances. These developments allow for the growth and positioning of their companies or brands into the market, all supported by the benefits and opportunities of Internet use. Today, there are several designated plans, created based on the prospects they can offer society and organizations and, among other strategies, aiming for the ‘top seller’ position. One of the most efficient strategies is the use and implementation of the Internet of Things (IoT).

Why do companies consider IoT a functional business operation? The reason is that nowadays everyone revolves around network connections, thanks to the use of technological devices such as computers, smartphones and other digital machinery. Technology has introduced these devices into people’s lives and proved them indispensable, creating the necessity of massive internet use. That is why, through IoT, it is possible to connect different devices to the network, with the help of sensors. These sensors activate when receiving information, which concerns the individual user.

When discussing the Internet of Things (IoT), we refer to everything that can run through the internet network in a better way, which means implementing a technological system, which can simplify your life. What is this system? The system provides a strategic model, which operates as an interface for the exchange of information circulating throughout the internet. IoT can generate great results for companies who use it daily. However, there are some common, barriers and challenges to its successful execution, although they are easy to overcome, such as:

1. Adaptation to IPv6

In order to connect sensors to different devices with internet connectivity, access through different networks is essential. In order to do this, companies will need to update the capacity of their IP (internet protocol) to IPv6 as this creates a longer, more complex, network address. This allows more, individual devices to have a unique network position and allows for more connectivity to the company. It also allows for faster connectivity.

However, even with IPv6, the number of addresses is exhaustible and this represents a challenge for companies to acquire them quickly. Failing to make adaptions generates deficiency in the device. Customer numbers increase every day, as do the number of devices per person. However, what happens when millions (perhaps even billions) of device sensors connect to a single interface with a finite capacity? The platform system would collapse, resulting in a very slow process of exchange and transmission between the network and the devices.

Therefore, it is vital to create a strategic plan to strengthen the programming department of the company, creating a stronger platform, with recourse for upgrading IP connectivity in the future.

2. Segmentation of Target Audience

There is a ‘common mistake’ made when creating a strategy based IoT which can become an obstacle. This mistake is the segmentation of the target audience; it is very different selling a product to a demographic audience of ‘adult contemporary’ rather than ‘young adolescents’. This may seem obvious; however, we have a limited budget to work with and cannot reach every segment of the network with our campaign. For example, if we know that our target demographic makes greater use of mobile devices, then development of a mobile application becomes a cost effective method of grabbing their attention. We ignore other, less effective, methods of marketing to our target audience and make the investment in the creation of a directed Facebook campaign.

This example demonstrates the correct segmentation of the population. Audience segmentation is very similar to marketing and both together create the means of developing a campaign using IoT. It is well known that today’s marketing main strategies are shown in the correct identification of the target audience, this reflects the research of academics, and market researchers in several published papers. If you would like to know more about the benefits of combating this challenge, click here.

3. Energy

Due to the high capacity of combined networks, the use of excellent energy regulators is essential. However, these usually represent high expenditure for companies, especially those in the retail sector. Therefore, there is a proposal to implement a system so that these devices generate their own electrical frequency through environmental media, as would be the case of an engine free energy by magnetic force.

4. Design of the App

The design of an application is part of the strategic marketing plan in any company. These days it has taken on an important and decisive role since they are well adapted to the product or service they offer. Nike, for example, targets the needs of the individual by using sensors in their track shoes. A runner can track their data, which is then to their iPod. They also use Facebook via their own social network and check status reports. Automatic posts can be set up on Foursquare as well.

The high cost involved may represent a challenge for small businesses however, when they take into account all aspects relating to influence on corporate identity, sales efficacy and user preferences, it is an investment, which will pay dividends. Creating an application, which brings the most information about the company, brand and its capabilities in the generation of its products to the target audience, is integrated into the IoT structured plan. If you want to check on some of the most efficient apps created for a company, click here.

5. Big Data

Another challenge for the proper functioning of the Internet of things, it is to implementing a high mass storage system. It is necessary to take into note that there will be millions of devices, connected through a single network in particular, so they produce a high level of information that if it is not stored, will not have any use for the business.

Coca Cola Company has stockpiled 16 million secured network identifiers for their use in Freestyle coke machines, the soda fountains where you create your own drinks in Burger Kings. Realistically, Coca Cola did not need such a large capacity for this purpose. However, it is likely that that they have some future endeavors in mind. The Media Access Control (or “MAC) addresses function like a serial number and remain the same if you are using your laptop or wireless devices at home or out in a public, whereas the IP address does not remain consistent. Coca Cola has their own MAC address range, which seems to be a contributing factor to their growing vending machine infrastructure. This network has the ability to collect data, concerning customer behavior, and keep track of logistics regarding machine inventory the need for replenishment. Companies need to deploy a big data file that allows information and make data points to help build quality products on the market.

6. Public Access to the Network

Above we touched on the issue of audience segmentation separately, due to its importance, but we must now mention another aspect, which affects your audience reach. Although we are in the age of technological advances and most of us have access to the Internet, we need to know the degree of internet accessibility is available to our target audience. It is not just age which defines us but also the kind of people who use the internet. Market research should be used to determine the degree of technological knowledge inherent in our target audience, their potential purchasing power, gender, location, internet availability and other localized aspects. This research allows for accurate segmentation of the market to maximize return on investment.

7. Defining the Needs

Especially the brand needs. It is impossible to begin any campaign, marketing strategy, or public relations event, without knowing all of the characteristics of the product, service or brand, in minute detail. If those details are unknown, you cannot accurately target an audience segment and consequently cannot define accurate, targeting strategies. This will ultimately end in failure, creating money and time losses to the company. Hence, the reason for knowing everything about the product, service or brand in addition to the mission statement and ideals of the company.

Walmart has developed a way to collect data from its customers in real-time. They have installed tracking chips in the customers’ shopping carts, which offer them discounts while shopping. McDonalds has a mobile app that gives customers promotional offers in accordance with their location and time of day. If, for example, a customer is walking near a store on a cold morning, they may offer a hot cup of coffee or a breakfast item. By employing the VMob platform, based in New Zealand, McDonalds has shown an increase in profit. The mobile app has sensors that track where customers are in the store, including anywhere from the sales counter to the drive-through. These platforms analyze behavior patterns and responses from customers.

With all of this in mind, is it noticeable that, even with the IoT challenges present in retail or high companies, it is easy to overcome them with the right approach and advice. There are several specialized providers for this niche of services, which can provide you with all of the information and advice of implementing IoT.

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