IoT for Consumer Goods and Retail Businesses

How to benefit and where to start

Create lifelong brand advocates using IoT

In this educational paper, the Consumer Goods Forum, Capgemini, and the Intel Corporation explain what consumer businesses can do to benefit from IoT investment and how they should go about it.


Adoption of IoT in retail and CPG sector is not too far in future. Much of the technology is already available and affordable. If you wait, you will be too late.

The Amazon Go project - no lines, no checkout – just grab and go! – shows how IoT is inspiring companies to try and upend the status quo. IoT is not about big budgets and sci-fi technology. Much of the technology is already available and affordable. Devices for collecting and disseminating data are inexpensive and services for analytics and artificial intelligence are hosted in the cloud at no up-front cost. To start working with IoT, retail and consumer goods firms don’t have to wait for a vision on how these technologies will transform their industries. As Amazon has shown, industry leaders are making their first moves. If you wait, you will be too late.

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Small and cheap computing devices can do some big things when connected to cloud-based artificial intelligence systems. Easy wins have been achieved by several leading retailers and CPG companies.

In the factory, the distribution network, the store or with the consumer, several leading retailers and CPG companies are showing the path to follow in order to easily, efficiently and quickly benefit from IoT. Thanks to sensors attached to manufacturing machines, combined with analytical systems, Bosch has optimized its maintenance thus reducing machine downtime by 40% in its factories. By using smart pallets, including RFID technology, egg producers Trillium Farms and Centrum Valley have achieved the digitization and smartification of their supply chains, enabling a reduction in waste in transit and rerouting products on the fly. Beacon technology allows Macy to send willing customers discount coupons and rewards within a store based on their locations. These are a few examples only on how IoT helps make a transition to the future of retail. Discover more easy wins by reading the full point of view.

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The real benefits of IoT lie in the data it produces and how it can be exploited across the whole organization.

Organizations that see data from their IoT projects as an extension of their current approach to processing and exploiting information will be at an advantage with the addition of connecting disparate sensors, cameras, and other “things” to corporate networks. Together, they can help reduce costs and increase productivity. But they will also give the business the opportunity to build revenue by growing markets and improving customer loyalty, particularly when combined with advances in computer science such as artificial intelligence. Companies must apply a structured and yet disruptive way of thinking in order to identify the biggest value from data, and not just rely on the optimization of existing concepts.

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Getting a detailed understanding of the consumer’s work, hobbies, family, health, and, in short, life, to deliver personalized shopping experience and develop loyalty.

IoT will enable the “shopper genome” concept: Treating consumers as individuals and wrapping relevant services around products will be the cornerstone of value creation. Working from IoT, social media, smartphone, wearable device, and other sources of data, consumer firms will be able to build an individual shopper genome that, through artificial intelligence, enables retailers and consumer goods firms to predict and cater to consumer behavior. In the case of health monitoring, the shopper genome could even take preemptive action. The shopper genome concept will apply to detecting preferences based on personalization, different cultures, demographics and geographies.

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Businesses must adopt a new mindset and working culture to get the most of IoT.

A change in attitudes and culture will be necessary within the organization. Success might require working in new teams, across traditional boundaries. In many consumer organizations, marketing is focused on the consumer, while operations focus on making existing processes more efficient. The two groups seldom cross paths, but it is time they did. IoT is also an ideal technology to foster collaboration between companies, between suppliers, manufacturers, and retailers. It even has the potential to create strange bedfellows by supporting collaboration across previously separate industries. For example, consumer goods companies, healthcare providers, and pharmaceutical firms can work together to help people stay healthy in the face of common chronic conditions such as diabetes.

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© 2017 The Consumer Goods Forum, Capgemini and Intel. All Rights Reserved.

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