Luxury clothing retailer Thomas Pink has installed an Internet of Things (IoT) platform from Acuitas digital, in a bid to digitize its New York City store.
The shirt-maker installed the Acuitas Digital IoT digital store solution to enable the retailer to track the movement of merchandise and people within its Wall Street store. The platform also uses big data analytics to predict how shoppers will behave, and provide a basis for Thomas Pink to interact with shoppers in new ways to help personalise the customer experience.
The solution uses IoT RFID sensors to check where merchandise is in the store, and to get real-time data on inventory. The retailer hopes this will enable it to improve employee workflows, increase efficiency and deliver a more accurate reflection of stock. The sensors will replace the legacy handheld RFID systems which relied on manual weekly or daily store scanning.
Meanwhile, video sensors within the solution will be used to help Thomas Pink better understand how its customers behave within the store – this will range from how customers are moving around in store and what they are buying to merchandise effectiveness. Ultimately it will give the company more insight into how the store is performing.
Other ways in which the solution is geared to help Thomas Pink include ensuring that misplaced items can be found quickly and put back to where they should go, and automatically making orders to replenish stock which is either sold out or about to be sold out.
The solution is offered by BT and brings together a number of IoT components including: the Intel Responsive Retail Sensor, in-store analytics by RetailNext, software by SATO Global Solutions and RFID tags by NextGen. This is all underpinned by BT’s own cloud solution.
Alex Field, marketing director at Thomas Pink explained that the solution would give the company “the insight to ensure that we have the right products, in the right place at the right time, all of the time”.
“We will now be able to use big data analytics to improve store efficiency and performance to help our people to spend more time with customers rather than getting tied up in admin tasks. We’re incredibly excited about how it will transform the store for our people and customers. It will bring our digital store strategy to life and will show how it can become a real driver of growth.”
Rob Bamforth, principal analyst at Quocirca told Internet of Business that a key driver for retailers using IoT will be to find specific purposes for which the data collected can be used to improve business processes.
“Depending on that purpose, sectors like retail may be able to use a common platform – perhaps a generic one might emerge for anti-theft systems for example, or more specific ones that relate better to their own environment, goods and differentiated services,” he explained.
But the challenge is to avoid these IoT applications becoming silos.
“Even common IoT platforms themselves will need to be integrated into business processes to avoid being an IoT silo separated from the rest of the business,” Bamforth said.
“This was exactly the problem faced by many early internet applications and ‘e-commerce’ systems, which were good, open platforms in their own right, but were disconnected from the rest of the business,” he added.
Earlier this month, Asos chairman Brian McBride told Internet of Business that IoT in retail was a slow-burner. McBride will be speaking at our upcoming Internet of Retail conference in London.
The Internet of Things possesses the ability to greatly enhance the ways in which retailers are engaging with their customers. Advanced beacon, RFID, sensor, AI, VR and wearable technologies are offering new ways to improve loyalty and increase revenue. However, disassociation between the business and digital sides of companies coupled with previous project failures and negative consumer feedback is placing strain on new IoT projects.
This 2nd Annual Internet of Retail event will present case studies from some of the world’s leading retailers who have overcome implementation pitfalls and are successfully harnessing IoT to heighten the customer journey.