Stores remain the largest contributors to retail revenue and, today, the role of the store has changed to an experience and fulfilment center to enable omni-channel profitability. IDC believes that the IoT technologies described in this IDC TechScape are among the main technologies that enable the store to become an experience center. The growing availability of these technologies (such as clienteling devices, self-scanning, digital payment systems, smart robots, AR/VR, intelligent shelving, intelligent WiFi, and so forth) offers unparalleled opportunities for retailers to deliver customer experience personalization (and, simultaneously, to optimize store operations). The ideal combination of all the mentioned technologies is at the base of what is defined as the store intelligent edge — the layer encompassing devices, sensors, distributed AI-based analytics, distributed connectivity, and security — and is fundamentally enabled by an IoT platform and by a retail omni-channel commerce platform.
"Retail is entering a new era in which experiences are channel free and digital is omni-present," said Ivano Ortis, VP, IDC Retail, Manufacturing, Financial Insights Europe. "It's the era of passive shoppers and contextual discovery experiences. In-store IoT technologies form the connecting bridge to digital pervasiveness, providing retailers with inexhaustible flows of customer data and with real-time gateways to customer experience personalization."