Stretching the Envelope of the Internet – for Retailers


RetailI’m personally overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information to which a typical professional is exposed.

The new VNI report predicts that by the end of the decade, there would be 3.4 devices and connections for every human on the planet, up from 2.2 per capita in 2015, through a combination of more access to personal devices and the deployment of machine-to-machine (M2M) or internet of things (IoT) devices. 

The challenge becomes how to stretch the functionality and usability of our platforms and devices so that we can strategically and tactically leverage the data to serve the needs of our customers in an efficient and practical manner. 

We will write a series of posts for doing just that – stretching the envelope of the internet, specific to different industries. Below is targeted to the retail industry.

  1. Solutions which address the astounding number of mobile devices and IoT sensors will be more practical and immediate to a larger base of users. So adding mobile implementations for existing web solutions only make sense, especially if these implementations also integrate IoT sensors, and particularly as Google has implemented mobile-friendly web site standards.
  2. Web 2.0 solutions have done a great job bringing products online and allowing for the secure ordering of products. We can take online ordering to the next level – think from-the-device-to-the-door – if we add order personalizations, warehousing and delivery, fulfillment through Drop Ship, support and set-up options to typical online orders.
  3. Drilling down onto the prior point, in this Age of the Customer, allowing online shoppers to customize their purchases – beyond size and color and into try-before-you-buy immersion experiences – will likely both increase orders, as well as customer satisfaction levels.
  4. If you link these immersive experiences – whether it’s a customized graphic or video or a virtual reality solution – to social networks, whether it’s a group of friends, a community of experts, or a group of fellow shoppers, customers will more likely become more engaged and better enjoy the experience.

  5. In turn, if you integrate the localization aspect, connecting shoppers to physical retail presences, more customers will more likely participate as there’s an option close the deal on-site, after doing the online research, plus purchase other items once they are in the store.

  6. Forward-thinking retailers are connecting with existing communities of experts and fanatics who share a common interest, hobby or passion. Providing customized offers and solutions to this market, and allowing the community to vet purchase options would not only increase sales, but also increase satisfaction levels.

  7. If we take ordering solutions to brick and mortar storefronts, implementing personalized shopping lists, with tailored made coupons based on real-time physical location would also increase targeted engagement.

  8. The other side of the coin is how IoT and mobile solutions can decrease operating costs – by proactively managing inventory and security for example.

  9. With these comprehensive mobile, IoT and on-site app solutions, retailers would have a better understanding of customers. Real-time measurements and analytics from these apps can report on success metrics, real-time, allowing retailers to tweak strategies and tactics to increase engagement, participation, margins, and volumes.

  10. Voice or text originated solutions can also leverage machine learning and artificial intelligence to support product comparison and ordering needs, automating the online research for product selection, and even placing orders based on pre-specified criteria.

These are some thoughts for stretching the envelope of the internet in the retail industry. We welcome your feedback, additions and comments. Share your retail strategies and goals at 

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