Case Study: Transforming Retail Pain into Smart Gain

Smart retail building

Retail building operators can now seamlessly capture data, improve customer service quality, and reduce costs by using space and resources more effectively. With an IoT smart retail package, building operators can map scenarios such as space or comfort monitoring in their entirety or in a modular way.

How smart retail businesses benefit:
  • Enhanced Efficiency: Align areas optimally to their actual needs and increase potential profit
  • Optimized Comfort: Opportunity to intervene to improve air quality, temperature, and more
  • Increased Service Quality: Effective monitoring for aligning services and avoiding unnecessary resources
  • Cut Costs: Avoid unnecessary costs, such as heating, electric, light, and energy in unused spaces
  • Important Notifications: Enable automatic data transfer to notify and optimize retail when an event triggers and action is needed
How smart retail makes for happier customers and higher cost-savings potential:
  • Derive business value from the physical property
  • Remain competitive
  • Gain higher yield/ROI
  • Lower operating costs
  • Build a network, connecting all assets
  • Quick scalability
  • Real-time reactions

Case Study:

One of Axonize’s customers, the owner of a large fast-food chain, needed to significantly reduce energy consumption in all stores.

Phase I

They monitored two specific branches to confirm that the IoT project selected had a positive ROI. Energy sensors were installed on A/Cs, refrigerators and lighting. After one month, the branches displayed different energy consumption patterns. Researching this further, they discovered that the refrigeration equipment in one of the branches was faulty and the compressors were overworked.

Fixing the faulty equipment and performing period and proactive maintenance on the remaining equipment resulted in significant energy savings, leading to a green light for the project.

Phase II

Electricity monitoring was installed in all branches and locations.

The customer installed door sensors in the refrigerators to send an alert if doors weren’t fully closed after a set time interval. Often times, employees push the door closed without the door actually sealing, and the refrigerator needs to work harder to keep food cool. Leaving the door open overnight often results in food wastage.

The application was set to deliver alerts if lights and A/Cs were left on after hours. Alerts were delivered to store managers and customized for each branch’s opening hours. This method allows for lights and A/Cs to be turned off remotely by employees with access.

Phase III

The chain owner sought a customer-facing application of IoT.

The goal was to develop a guest ‘comfort score.’ Sensors were installed to monitor noise, smell, air quality, and restaurant temperature. Data from each sensor were given a score and all scores were tallied up to create a guest comfort score that could be proactively monitored across locations. Alerts were sent if guest comfort scores dropped below an acceptable level.

Phase IV

This system integrator is currently working on an extension to improve guest satisfaction. They are researching technology to track the time it takes guests to get their meal from the moment they enter the restaurant.

Learnings: How the food chain benefited
  • Started small
    Taking the gradual approach showed immediate benefits and got the customer buy-in. The gradual expansion was possible because of their IoT platform’s ability to connect to any sensor/device.
  • Scaled fast
    Configuring an IoT project doesn’t require DevOps or engineers to be involved. Each phase takes mere days to develop.
  • Unified app/platform
    Building, restaurant equipment, and customer improvement efforts were developed on the same platform, and managers could access output on the same app.
  • Turned positive ROI quickly
    Due to the low investment in DevOps and quick development time, the initiatives showed a positive ROI quickly.
The diversity of sensors currently used in our client’s smart retail facilities include:
  • Door and Window Open Sensor: Measure door movements, determining whether doors are open or closed (Ex: A freezer in supermarkets)
  • Waste Bin Detector: Use ultrasound to measure filling levels in recyclables and waste containers
  • Environment Sensor: Battery-powered sensors measure both temperature and humidity
  • Brightness Sensor: Measure light, with data measurements over 3 minute periods
  • Occupancy Sensor: Measure movements in checkout areas (Ex: Each cash register is connected to determine the number of customers waiting in line)
  • Motion Sensor: Battery driven, retrofit sensor that measures the motion of people, temperatures, humidity, and light
  • Sound Sensor: Measures various sound types, enabling sound identification and event triggers

Download Axonize’s smart building white paper to see further real-life case studies, results of smart building projects, recommended sensors, and more.

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