In the age of social media and digital advertising, retailers have invested in online marketing and corresponding data to increase their online presence and consumer appeal. With the effectiveness of this marketing, however, the amount of retailers flocking online has continued to increase over the years, oversaturating the channel. This abundance of retailers, while convenient for consumers, complicates the retail industry, as it becomes more difficult for retailers to differentiate themselves online. In the midst of online competition, innovative retailers have been reinvesting their money and effort into reviving old channels, their stores.

While many claim that physical stores are becoming obsolete, thanks to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT), stores have the potential to generate data that can drive even more opportunities.

With the evolution of the Internet of Things, some stores have since introduced devices, such as aisle-analytics software and infrared sensors, that provide retailers with data regarding consumer behavior. As a result, retailers are able to determine how long consumers spend in the store and identify the aisles or displays where consumers have spent the most time. With these types of tracking, retailers can better understand exhibited store behaviors and determine what merchandise and promotions drive consumer results and which encourage the most purchases. Retailers can then leverage this information to implement strategies that encourage shoppers to spend more time perusing and engaging with the merchandise and displays.

By implementing devices such as smart kiosks, retailers are also able to track consumer interactions. At these kiosks, customers can search inventory, request clarification about promotions, and perform other actions. Data collected from such devices can determine customer experience, uncovering common questions, challenges, and other sentiments. Retailers can then address common shopping hindrances and work toward resolving them to cultivate a more convenient and positive in-store experience.

While it’s relatively easy to understand how e-commerce purchases are spurred by online efforts, retailers often find difficulty in tracking how exactly online efforts translate to in-store purchases. By exploring point-of-sale data and experiential data, retailers will be able to determine which customer experiences lead to sales.

Though devices are still being developed to assist retailers’ in-store campaigns, the Internet of Things presents the potential to generate more data for retailers than ever before. With this newfound data, retailers can optimize store layout and improve customer engagement to drive success.