8 IoT Devices for Your Retail Business To Consider
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Posted by Aaron S. on September 19, 2019 in Retail Focus

Staying competitive as a small business owner means offering your customers the best possible personalized experience. To make that happen, your business needs to be running at top efficiency and the Internet of Things can help. 

 

Although some IoT programs require expensive specialized equipment and monthly service fees, there are also many inexpensive options that can help your small business accomplish the same benefits.

 

Listed below are 8 low cost IoT ideas that can reduce your costs and improve your productivity:

 

  • Smart locks. Using these types of locks is not only convenient, but also more secure than using traditional locks. Having digital keys instead of physical keys means you can’t misplace or have them stolen and, if they are somehow compromised, you can simply erase them and issue new ones. Using these types of locks also provides additional features like the ability to issue temporary access to certain areas or to create and monitor a digital entry log.
  • Smart lights. The ability to control lighting based on motion detection or a well-defined schedule allows you to save on energy costs and reduce wear and tear on your equipment.  Having your lights controlled this way also creates a safer environment as lights will turn on when needed, allowing employees to see better and work safer. Being able to remotely control your lights also gives you the ability to only have them on when needed, even if you happen to forget to turn them off before leaving for the night.
  • HVAC systems (heating, ventilation, air-conditioning).  Sensors can be connected to your HVAC system allowing you to set specific temperatures for each room in your business and adjust that temperature based on whether someone is in the room. These sensors can also monitor your business during cold winter months and provide alerts if temperatures reach an unsafe level that could cause pipes to freeze or damage to temperature-sensitive inventory.
  • Voice assistant. These devices can be a real time saver and using them to take notes or set reminders can keep your hands free to allow you to continue working. Many voice assistants can now communicate with and, in some cases, operate other IoT devices. This allows you to control devices without the need to stop what you are doing to log in to an app or physically be at the device.
  • Supply chain data sensors. These sensors monitor your products throughout their journey and log several key data points along the way. This valuable information can help you understand everything from what temperature your product experiences at any point during shipping to how long it takes to move from one place to another. Once you know what is happening, you can work to improve efficiency and ensure product quality is maintained.
  • Smart plugs. This device allows you to remotely control the power to and from any item that is plugged into it. It also allows you to set a predetermined schedule and update it remotely. These work great for items that do not offer a smart version or are too expensive to have the option built in.
  • Equipment management sensors. Being able to remotely monitor the electrical efficiency of any key piece of equipment is helpful. Not only does it allow you to ensure you are running at peak efficacy, but it can also provide warning signs of potential mechanical issues that may ultimately cause the equipment to malfunction. Eliminating unexpected downtime can be a significant value to many businesses and can reduce the potential loss of revenue.
  • Refrigeration monitoring. For any business that relies on refrigeration, being able to remotely monitor temperatures is of significant value, as is the early warning when a unit reaches a critical temperature that could spoil the contents. This immediate warning can save precious time in reacting to the event and ultimately eliminate any potential losses.

 

Unfortunately, every small business that looks to incorporate IoT into their business must also deal with the concern of security. Since all these items are connected to the Internet, would-be criminals could attempt to gain access to your information and create problems. Taking the time to enact the proper security measures will help protect your business operations and ensure your valuable information is secure. 

Aaron S. is our Retail guru
Aaron joined Acuity in 2017 as our Retail Specialist—bringing with him almost 30 years of experience in a broad range of retail. He started his career stocking shelves in the seasonal department at a local retailer. A few years later, Aaron transitioned to a gas station/convenience store, where he worked second shift while getting his degree in organizational communications from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. It was during this time he made the move to the loss prevention and safety aspect of retail. Over the next 25 years, he worked in various retail segments, including video games, cosmetics/skincare, hardware/appliances, pharmacy/grocery, and clothing. Aaron held several positions during this time, including District Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Loss Prevention Manager, Regional Compliance Auditor, and National Manager of Loss Prevention and Operations. Outside work, Aaron likes to spend time with his wife (who has also worked in retail for over 20 years) and their twin teenage boys. They enjoy being outdoors on the water, fishing, and camping. As the Retail Specialist, Aaron’s goal is to enhance the partnership between retailers and Acuity by showing retailers that an insurance company can be a supportive resource and that Acuity truly understands their industry.


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Posted By: Aaron S. on August 14, 2019 in Retail Focus
The customer experience continues to be a focus for retailers, large and small. Personalization, great product offerings, competitive pricing, and convenience all play their part. Unfortunately, one of the most critical aspects of the customer experience doesn’t even come into play until you have already worked hard to win over your customers and they have decided to make a purchase.