Zebra Technologies Working with Retailers to Use the Power of IOT

We met Team Zebra at NRF 2015 around 25 days back. We have been collecting information on the company’s initiatives from the market as well apart from NRF. At NRF, the booth of Zebra Technologies was in the form of an actual retail store setup. What they were trying to portray at NRF was Zebra Commerce. We had exclusive insights on Zebra Commerce from Todd Berner, VP of Retail Solutions and Nick D'Alessio, Retail Global Practice Lead.

Zebra Technologies had acquired Motorola Solutions’ Enterprise Business for $3.45 billion in October last year. This has further helped Zebra in coming up with more effective POS devices. Juliann Larimer, Chief Marketing Officer at Zebra Technologies, cited regarding the same: Zebra and the former Motorola Solutions Enterprise Business have a long and rich heritage of leadership and innovation in the retail industry. We are excited to come together at NRF 2015 and showcase how retailers can differentiate themselves by enhancing the omni-channel experience with new solutions that can help retailers reduce costs, improve associate effectiveness and increase shopper satisfaction.

At NRF, Zebra had showcased solutions as part of their IoT (Internet of Things) initiatives, one of them being the MPact Platform for Mobile Marketing. The MPact Platform for Mobile Marketing is the first of its kind to offer both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart technology to engage with shoppers in the aisle when buying decisions are being made. Shoppers can opt-in and receive customized offers and personal assistance via a Bluetooth Smart-triggered loyalty app and access Wi-Fi to locate products in store, read reviews, compare prices and look up information. The combination of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Smart technology gives insight and visibility to a shopper’s journey in the store while eliminating the need for retailers to deploy, integrate and manage two separate technologies.

Zebra has also come up with cloud based IoT solution. Zatar, a cloud-based software service developed by Zebra Technologies, is the world’s first IoT platform for enterprise applications. With Zatar, businesses can connect sensors and devices embedded in their operations and gain access to accurate, real-time data. Zatar enables insights into the location, movement and conditions of all assets within an organization from anywhere in the world.

A survey, conducted in October 2014 by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Zebra Technologies, highlights that a majority of retailers believe IoT will be the most important technological initiative of the decade. Some key findings from the survey include:

  • 96% of retail decision makers are ready to make changes required to adopt IoT
  • 67% of respondents already have implemented IoT
  • 26% of surveyed retailers plan to deploy IoT solutions within a year

Nick D’Alessio, Global Retail Practice Leader at Zebra Technologies, gave his opinion on the survey findings: The advent of new technologies has completely changed the way shoppers interact with retailers, but the shopping experience can be the retailer’s strategic differentiator. With the Internet of Things, retailers will be empowered with the intelligence to make strategic, informed business decisions that improve customer loyalty and associate effectiveness while creating exciting experiences for their shoppers.

The above illustrations highlight an interesting use case that was demonstrated at NRF. This use case shows the use of BLE (Bluetooth low energy) beacons to display products on a digital display. The interesting thing to be noted is that the product on the display changes as per the user in proximity. So, for example, if a customer has high interests in purchase of wines, then the display will show wine products when the customer is in the ideal proximity range.

The insightful data on customer behavior is collected via applications connected to social networks, or that provide user information. Customers are recognized through the beacons when they enter the store and they are not only presented with products and reviews, but also reviews conducted by people similar to the consumer.