For that last few years, Cisco has been watching the impact of the Internet on transforming the retail industry. As more people, processes and things are connecting to the Internet, retailers can capture more data to better predict when and where consumers will want to buy and capture more revenues.

Today, Cisco released Internet of Everything research that equates to $81 billion globally in 2013. But this represents only 45% of the opportunity that could be gained by the Internet of Everything. Retailers could have realized an additional $99 billion this year if they were more connected across their operations.  The good news is that retail IT executives are confident that can capture this value.  On average, retail IT executives rated their ability to capture Internet of Everything at 7.2, on a scale of 1 to 10.

So how are retailers capturing value of Internet of Everything, here are the top 5 ways retailers are connecting people, process and things to capture more business value.

1.     Tap Into Dark Data Assets In-Store:  By connecting previously-unused (or “dark”) data assets from sources such as video surveillance cameras, social media, the internet, and customer’s mobile signals to traditional retail data sets (such as transaction histories), retailers can begin to predict new trends and empower employees to improve profitability. For example, real-time analysis of shopper traffic in the store can help retailers better position their employees and deliver faster customer service.

2.     Connect and build customer trust: When shopping, most consumers are willingly to share personal information in exchange for better more personal service. Almost half (49 percent) of consumers are comfortable with retailers collecting personal information when shopping online in exchange for more personalized recommendations and customer service. (Source: Cisco Customer Experience Report 2013).  Retailers deliver more personalized services/recommendations both online and in-store through digital displays or mobile apps.

3.     Gain more visibility into inventory: Today’s best retailers enjoy the benefits of a transparent (and real-time) supply chain.  This includes tracking materials and finished goods from the source, to the factory, to the delivery truck and ultimately to the store or warehouse using data-capture technologies such as RFID and sensors. In this model, retailers can anticipate exceptions to business rules and respond before anyone else.

4.     Drive higher levels of stock availability: In-stock performance is one of the four most critical indicators to overall store performance. With automated intelligent stock management and shelf sensing, stores can keep track of on-hand availability and order stock when inventory falls below a certain level – all without employee intervention.

5.     Maximize staff productivity: Employees can access and share best practices, operational alerts and develop smart training and development tools from their mobile device, while giving managers new insights into efficient ways to allocate sales personnel to drive profits. In addition, employees can provide real-time feedback on product and promotion performance – leading to improved advertising, marketing and additional revenue.  Also, experts can be connected across multiple stores via video conferencing digital displays to maximize productivity.

These are the most common retail use cases within the Internet of Everything; there are many other ways to use the IoE to create and capture new value.  What are you doing to capture the business value by through connection of people, things and process in your retail business?


Jon Stine


Retail Consumer Products-Transportation-Hospitality in IBSG