Is Location-Based Operations the Next Big Thing in Retail?

February 13, 2018









Imagine a mobile app that allows you, the retail operator, to automatically reassign your store associates to address changing patterns of your retail traffic in real-time. 

Imagine, too, the same app providing you with real-time access to the specific number of your store’s shopping carts that are still left in the parking lot at closing.

We’re at the beginning of what promises to be yet another revolution in the retail industry – one that will introduce tremendous efficiencies into retailers’ physical operations. 

Already, the continued, rapid growth of online shopping has changed the retail-industry landscape significantly – particularly when it comes to marketing to today’s consumers. Retail marketers have counter-balanced today’s omni-channel norms with their own new norms, upgrading their technologies in relatively short order to identify – and motivate – all sets of shoppers, including mobile.

A growing number of them are using indoor-positioning systems (IPS) in their brick and mortar stores where 90% of sales still occur. Using the best-in-class location-based technology to push sales information to shoppers as they walk the aisles, retail marketers are more effectively engaging and influencing consumers and transforming a shopping trip into a superior experience filled with product tips, store information, ease of access, special offers, discounts, or other perks.

For you, however, the important news is that, by all indications the same IPS technology that has marketers so excited is also being used by retailer operators looking for new efficiencies with inexperienced or seasonal staff that turnover frequently.


‘Top 10’ Beyond Marketing

The constant data communication of IPS provides a number of new ways to add value or introduce significant efficiencies to your store operations. Here are the top 10 surprising benefits of IPS for store operations.

  1. Save time on your staff’s put-and-place activities by optimizing routes to the product level.
  2. Support faster BOPIS picking with optimized routing. Integrate with store inventory to get a more accurate indication of what is actually on shelves.
  3. Tag back-up inventory with smart tags that employees can accurately locate with their mobile devices, saving valuable restocking time and reducing unnecessary stock outs.
  4. Automatically deploy associates to high-margin areas via their mobile devices when traffic reaches a pre-determined threshold.
  5. Deliver product information to store associates’ mobile devices in real-time so they can answer customers’ product questions, face-to-face.
  6. When your store is out of a product, allow associates to order it from another store or your online shop via their mobile app.
  7. Automate staff-to-customer ratios for each department to avoid staff clusters in one area while another is left unattended. Too many employees in Home Stereo? Automatically route one associate to Home Decor and another to Menswear.
  8. Provide discrete “need manager assistance” via employee mobile-device when they need help resolving situations with customers quickly.
  9. Let the system’s beacons deploy staff to check-out registers and service counters, automatically, when waiting lines reach a predetermined threshold.
  10. Greatly enhance your loss-prevention strategies by using smart tags or labels to track inventory or wayward shopping carts that you can track from any mobile device or desktop.  

All of this works by way of transmitters, or beacons, integrated into the store LED lighting system enhanced with visual light communication (VLC) technology and your existing planograms. Tied to the retail store’s digital marketing and/or management systems, IPS continues to find new use cases in retail.


LED-Based IPS Can Even Pay For Itself

While there are a few different kinds of location-based technology, only Atrius™ LED-based IPS, which is installed in more than 90 million square feet of retail space, can the continuous return on investment and quick payback.   

For starters, LED lighting has earned its solid reputation for providing a remarkably long life with a low demand for maintenance, and supreme energy efficiency (up to 80 percent in energy savings). It’s so efficient, local utilities often offer rebates or similar incentives for installing LED lighting and/or lighting controls – a critical advantage to pursue when planning your next technology upgrades. In fact, over the next few years, millions of luminaires will be converted to or replaced by LED technology, making LED-based IPS systems even more practical.   

And as if that isn’t enough, consider that no extra labor, hardware or maintenance – not even batteries for beacons – are needed to support IPS technology embedded in LED lighting fixtures, so maintenance costs are minimized.   

By outfitting LED luminaires and related devices with a powerful, connected IPS infrastructure, retailers have a means of transforming the in-store shopping experience and their store operations so they can continue to compete and win in the new world of retail.


To learn more about Atrius IoT solutions for retailers, click here to visit our Atrius Integrated Solutions page.


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