What does shelf goods mean

When the shelf orders goods

IoT technology offers retailers a wide range of opportunities. So, inter alia. Simplify and automate processes in the store. For example, the shelves could reorder items independently and in good time. Ulrich Spaan, management at EHI, explains what advantages IoT has for retail and how far the companies have come with the implementation.

How far is the trade in implementing IoT technology?

Spaan: Retail is currently still in its infancy with regard to the use of IoT. But the importance of the “networked store” will grow strongly in the future. In our study "IT Trends in Retail 2019" we found that 22 percent of the IoT technology is one of the most important technological trends of the next three years.

From the EHI study "IT trends in retail 2019"

IOT is already in use at 28 percent of the retail companies surveyed and 23 percent are planning to implement it in the next three years. Initially, however, the focus is primarily on infrastructure projects for retailers that enable comprehensive use of IoT applications in the branches.

In which areas of commerce is IoT already being used?

Spaan: In the field of energy management and other building technology areas, IoT technologies are already in use in many cases. However, mostly only in partial areas and not in the sense of a comprehensive and overarching IoT cockpit.

What is currently making the use of Internet of Things technology difficult?

Spaan: Often it is technical hurdles that make implementation difficult. As a rule, the existing networks are not yet powerful enough, i.e. they do not have the required bandwidths. 5G technology could significantly improve this, but it won't. Some of the background systems are also not yet geared towards processing large amounts of data. For many retailers, there is also the question of the profitability of investments in IoT applications or there is still a lack of specific application scenarios.

What specific advantages does the networking of the branches have for the retailers?

Spaan: The strong automation of processes in the branch simplifies many processes in day-to-day business. For example, retailers can react more quickly to out-of-stock situations, optimize sales and reduce markdowns, for example in the food industry. In addition, employees have more time for customers if the processes are designed more efficiently.


For many retailers, the implementation of innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things, mobile payment or cloud computing represents a major challenge. On July 1, 2019, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy BMWi, together with EHI, HDE, ibi research and IFH, launched Mittelstand 4.0- Competence center retail launched to support small and medium-sized retail companies in particular in their digital transformation.

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