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The Power of Connectivity

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Have you heard of the “Internet of Things”? Gartner defines it as a network of physical objects that contain embedded technology to communicate and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. That’s a mouthful, for sure.

Bottom line -- we now live in a world where every device we touch has the potential to connect with other devices. And in retail -- where technology takes center stage at every turn -- the Internet of Things poses both challenges and opportunities.

Cisco recently released research dubbed the “Internet of Everything” that finds $1.2 trillion of value at stake for private firms across 18 industries that adopt Internet of Everything models. The study suggests that the retail industry has the biggest opportunity: Cisco predicts that retailers that become more connected may achieve 12 percent higher profit gains by 2017.

The study recommends several ways retailers can better connect to stay profitable, including:
1. Connect and build customer trust: When customers freely share data with trusted brands, retailers have the opportunity to up-sell and match offers online and in the physical store -- leading to greater revenue.

2. Maximize manpower through connectivity: 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.

3. Tap into assets in-store: By connecting assets like video surveillance cameras, social media and customer Wi-Fi signals to online analytics, retailers can predict new trends and empower employees to respond to drive profitability.