Accelerating the
Industrial Internet of Things

The Internet of Things in Retail: Getting beyond the hype

Published on 10/31/2016 | Market Sizing

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Brian Kilcourse, Steve Rowen

Accelerating the Adoption of Industrial Internet of Things.



This is our second-ever study on the use case for Internet of Things technologies in retail. In our 2015 study, retailers surprised us. Not only did they acknowledge the (expected) opportunity to see a more accurate picture of inventory availability across the enterprise, they also (unexpectedly) showed a great deal of enthusiasm for offering consumers new services by monitoring internet- connected devices inside and outside of the store. But underneath that enthusiasm we saw an underlying practicality: in the long run, IoT holds tremendous opportunity to help with the operational challenges retailers already have within their current systems.

How has that changed in the past 12 months? The following are some of the highlights of this year’s research:

•  When asked retailers to prioritize internal operational challenges that are causing them to look towards IoT, retailers responded by highlighting three general areas of principal focus: inventory visibility and accuracy, interacting with digitally enabled consumers in the physical store, and making the physical store more effective for consumers. We examine these in detail in the Business Challenges section of this report.

•  Analysis of the top Opportunities retailers identify begins on page 11. And while retailers are unanimous in their desire for a closer level of engagement with consumers via their internet-connected mobile devices, what is far more interesting is the particular emphasis retailers place based on the products that they sell. Some vast differences emerge between what Fashion & Apparel retailers covet and what their FMCG and General Merchandise- based peers are looking to do.

•  Despite retailers’ enthusiastic nature, when pressed for why they haven’t done more, the answers remain clear: they don’t believe their infrastructure can support bleeding-edge technologies, executive leadership doesn’t grasp the possibilities (and therefore isn’t pushing for such initiatives) – and even if they were – retailers’ IT teams don’t have the necessary bandwidth to tackle new challenge. We dive into these challenges – and the ways retailers best think they’ll be able to get past them - in the Organizational Inhibitors section (page 15).

•  And while retailers place tremendous faith in the future value of the Internet of Things, that does not necessarily translate into investment today. In the Technology Enablers section (page 19) we see the exact technologies that are gaining early interest, and as expected: retailers whose sales are already outpacing their competitors’ are much further into the sales funnel.


The Internet of Things in Retail: Getting beyond the hype report 2016 is published by RSR, sponsored by Software AG and supported by Impinj.

You can download the full report here.

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