• Intelligent Building Technologies
  • IoT
  • Advanced Sensors
  • LED Technology
  • Retail

Building Technologies Helping Brick and Mortar Retailers Compete with Online Giants

Nov 06, 2018

Connectivity 6

Each year, competition for physical retailers has grown fiercer as more consumers gravitate to online shopping. Retailers are realizing that the overall shopping experience may be just as influential as price when it comes to purchasing a product. Convenience, accessibility, personalization, and access to comparative information are all areas in which the most popular online stores excel. Brick and mortar retailers, on the other hand, face limitations on many of these fronts. Intelligent building technologies, however, are helping physical retailers change the paradigm of in-store shopping to help them compete.

Retailers Choosing between More Options


The introduction of the Internet of Things and other intelligent technologies for commercial buildings offers a multitude of options for retailers as they devise strategies to attract and engage in-store shoppers. Due to the generally wireless nature of these connected systems, they can be relatively easy and inexpensive to install versus other types of building systems and components, such as HVAC.

LED lighting systems are leading the way because of their ubiquitous placement throughout a building. LED luminaires can be purchased with sensors already installed. These sensors can be turned on all at once or in stages as a retailer determines the best strategies to engage its customers. Occupancy and other types of sensors can track in-store customer shopping patterns such as dwell time, footfalls, and customer density. This data provides store management with details that can inform better selling strategies by understanding how the current floor plan affects customer foot traffic patterns, among other trends. Additionally, the ancillary benefits of these technologies include better energy efficiency when connected to other building systems (or on their own, in the case of LED lighting), and even employee productivity in the areas of inventory tracking, customer service, and stocking location services, to name just a few.

Offline versus Online Competition


So how do intelligent building technologies help retail stores compete with online shopping? The idea may not be to compete head to head with online shopping, but to enhance and mesh the online and offline experiences. Customers can use digital technologies to combine the benefits of the tactile experience of in-store shopping with the convenience and information availability of online shopping. For example, store-based mobile apps can direct shoppers to deals and discounts when they detect that person is in the store. Some retailers are even using gamification events such as in-store treasure hunts to make shopping more fun. Additionally, a physical retail location can be used as a local warehouse where an online purchase can be picked up on the same day.

Guidehouse Research Is Watching These Developments


Recent Guidehouse Insights work covers trends in this arena. Intelligent Building Solutions for Retail covers market developments and trends of intelligent building technologies in retail buildings. Although this is a nascent market, adoption of unique retail use cases using these technologies is brisk. The US, Europe, and Asia Pacific are the leading regions, each with slightly different characteristics based on local shopping preferences. The bottom line is that brick and mortar retailers now have more options to enhance the in-store shopping experience. Ultimately, the customer wins by being afforded with more options, convenience, and accessibility than ever before.