As consumers demand more impressive and higher quality user experiences, it’s important for the retail sector to look for distinguishing means to achieve these. The Internet of Things (IoT) as a technology could be seen as an unlikely contender to make a huge impact in a retail store, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
A retail outlet uses a multitude of systems, which form the core life support for the Store Associates. Some of the connected devices relied on include Point of Sales (POS) tills and checkout, Wi-Fi routers, TV displays, fridges for perishable items, lighting, music systems, automatic doors, air conditioning, tablets and mobile devices.
If any of these devices fail, as a Store Associate, I wouldn’t be able to do my job efficiently, and the outcome could be costly or result in a bad customer experience – or both. If you have a POS till or checkout failure, be it hardware or software, the business will lose money. There has been a recent high-profile example with a UK supermarket’s credit card reading system going down and this reached the national press. If there was an issue with a Wi-Fi router, it could result in reduced connectivity in a particular part of the store and the knock on effect is POS tills or tablets not working properly.
Well, we’ve had the opportunity to be brought on as an early SAP IoT application enabler. IoT Application Enablement Services are a new micro-services offering from SAP, which provide an easy to use Device Management and Data Storage Solution for IoT devices. It provides seamless onboarding and time data storing (through hot and cold data stores), and it provided us with the perfect opportunity to be innovative around IoT and our products, so we decided to integrate it with our latest product – Keytree Clienteling.
So how have we embraced the Internet of Things into our Keytree Clienteling?
We built an IoT-driven store planogram that displays the devices in-store – in one single view. This unique view takes connected device feeds and exposes them at the correct location on the floor plan, meaning that at a quick glance, a Store Associate can see what is where and what is working.
How did we do this using Application Enablement Services?
The first case is what we defined a ‘Thing Type for Store Device’. This approach creates a generic device that we can use for any in-store device and focuses on the device if it’s functioning, but we were also challenged by SAP to extend the use of IoT. So, therefore, we looked at bringing in the connected changing room, already knowing the occupancy of a changing room, and its utilisation over time – and for the changing room, we created a changing room type with occupancy time series property.
Thing Configuration for Changing Room and Store Device
With these thing types, we can offer organisations the ability to create groups of devices, located in a store. As you can see in the image below, we have defined the likes of Wi-Fi routers and changing rooms and these are the devices that we can surface within the App.
Next, we connected the Keytree Clienteling’s IoT module to SAP IoT Application Enablement Services – shown in the following areas:
- Planogram floor plan – we show a full floor plan of the store with devices clearly labelled and the status demonstrated by rings of colour around each element.
- Drill in details – For each device, we surface analytical data to show insight into how the device is performing.
- Adjusting user journeys – one of the most beneficial is that we surface the IoT data within the rest of the App intelligently so, for instance, we remove faulty POS tills from the assisted sales basket and push to till options.
Connecting up the sensors
We then set up the devices. For instance, with the changing room sensor, we used the device from Matrix Detect which communicates with a sensor hub and then on to the SAP IoT Application Enablement Services.
What is the benefit of IoT data surfaced for Store Associates?
- Provides Store Associates with more contextual information
- Support teams can be better informed to remove issues
- Improves end to end customer experience
- Real-time monitoring and up to date insight
- Processes can be enhanced and improved
Overall, we have found working with SAP’s IoT Application Enablement Services a clean way to bring IoT device data into our application – and the development took weeks not months to achieve.
We have rolled out this module into Keytree Clienteling as part of our offering to empower the Store Associate – if you would like to see more, please contact us for a demo.