Applications of WoT-Enabled Retail Management
WoT offers many benefits and applications when used in conjunction with retail management system. A discussion of these applications follows.
1. Location Tracking
Use of RFID makes tracking more reliable and accurate. It makes a digital record of arrivals and exits every time, thereby keeping the record of the details. The presence of tags makes item tracing quick, thereby enabling eliciting all the details including cost, discounts, expiry, etc. Barcode universalization helps in fetching the details of every product including batch, arrival, manufacturer, warranty and cost.
2. Inventory Management
Products that are out of stock needs timely warnings and display to avoid discomfort to customers and embarrassment to service providers. Almost all products in one or other way require proper management techniques to avoid stocking up of excess or undue shortage. Live stock tracking is must on a priority basis as their quantity and quality may change without any warning in unfavorable circumstances. Patterns generated annually about purchasing trends and demand and supply, aided and abetted by general and local knowledge, helps in providing predictive accuracies regarding possible shortages forthcoming and thereby timely rectification measures.
3. Digital Payment
Payment transaction reports help in timely dispatch of products as well as pattern generation for payment types preferred by customers along with data generation for daily transactions amount, as well as customer tracking in an inbuilt system. Nowadays, multiple payment gateways or e-payment solutions are in vogue which not only are easy to use for tech-savvy customers, but also cost effective for these customers by providing discounts and cashbacks, and are therefore very much preferred by them.
4. Interactive Digital Signage Screen
Visual searches on digital platforms encourages customer satisfaction about the type of product as well as comparison with other products instantaneously.
Default or local search engines are often voice-enabled ensuring exact and prompt search of the desired products.
Analysis of reviews of products provided by previous customers or by manufacturing companies help customers in decisionmaking. Price lists and capping help customers with limited budgets to easily find the suitable match as per their requirements. Product pricing remains variable as per demand and discounts and such tailored pricing helps distinct groups of customers to have their likes easily selected. Sites nowadays provide relevant search results in almost no time ensuring faster selection and quick purchases. E-commerce sites enabled with visual search and voice search have an edge over others lacking it, for reasons mentioned above.
After payment, customers can now have online tracking of products via messages from sites as well as from freight and logistic companies about the exact date, time and place of product delivery. Websites have specific domain and logins as well as specific redressal mechanism for tracing products, and reasons for delayed delivery or non-delivery and need for the same.
7. Real-Time Supply Chain
Synchronization of demand and supply needs extreme attention to avoid easily preventable shortages or excess stock pile-up and thereby losses and embarrassment on both sides. Analysis of annual records helps in sensing and predicting product demand based on customer purchasing trends. Proper and dedicated monitoring will ensure smooth functioning. Identical surveillance of logistics will ensure minimum grievance from customers by ensuring prompt delivery.
Security Issues in WoT-Enabled Retail Management
Online devices can be the great peril. The very famous Stuxnet attack almost sabotaged the Iran nuclear program by causing as many as a thousand uranium enrichment centrifuges to malfunction and finally fail .
International IoT facilities facing hacking incidents and IoT security issues have led to privacy violation, security beaches, business losses, infrastructure collapse and even health and medical emergencies . The information provided by sensors should be in secure manner.
1. Breach of Privacy or Data
There are always very heavy chances of data theft via network. The majority of them occur through third-party vendors. E-commerce firms are more prone to suffer from malware or ransomware attacks than those already secured; after every such incident productivity and faith of customers takes a huge dip. It is therefore mandatory for the enterprises to have prophylactic measures to prevent such mishaps.
2. Breach of Financial System
Financial transaction security is of pivotal importance as these transactions are largely expedited from a distant location and the details are exchanged in the air .
- • Fraud and chargebacks: "Chargeback" refers to reversal of a transaction for consumer protection purposes from a fraudulent activity committed by merchants as well as by individuals. It is also a demand by a credit card provider for a retailer to make up the loss on a fraud or disputed transaction. Chargeback fraud, also known as friendly fraud, is when consumers fraudulently use it to get a refund. Consumers falsely dispute a transaction with the bank rather the merchant for a refund claiming that the product ordered was not delivered.
- • Cross-border transactions refer to in- and outbound transfers of property, stock or financial and commercial obligations between related entities resident in, or executing them in, different tax jurisdictions. As it occurs between two entities from different countries or geographical domains, it is also called an international transaction, ignoring territories or boundaries.
- • Card data security: In order to optimize the security of credit, debit and cash card transactions and protect card-holders against misuse of their data, a set of widely accepted policies and procedures are maintained, evolved and promoted by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCIDSS) which is a global organization mandated by card brands and controlled by the PCI Security Council. Multi-currency credit card payments ensure payment in local currencies without involving foreign payment processors. You are paid in your own currency for the sale abroad in other currency. Multi-currency payment gateways allow merchants to offer their international consumers to pay in their own currency. With businesses reaching beyond country borders, such payments are the need of the hour.
- • Technical integration is applied as a software suite combining a budget and accounting system that controls spending and payment processing, auditing and reporting, also called an Integrated Financial Management System (IFMS). It permits domestic investors to buy foreign assets and vice versa.
- 3. Over-Reliance on Technology
Nowadays, dependence on technology has increased for even the smallest task. Since the majority of task completions require works at multiple levels and interfaces, any small deficit or non-compatibility may lead to non-compliance or non-execution of the desired outcome. Many times we attempt to carry out a task which otherwise could be done manually/offline, the failure of which creates more mess. Failure also produces anxiety in users. There is a probability of failure during compatibility issues, such as monitoring with sensors' heterogenous software.
Designing, developing and managing heterogeneous technology is a complicated task, as some techniques are long-standing and some are extremely new. Integrating new technologies with the existing ones is a barrier to executing the entire system efficiently. It is challenging to detect which device is functioning properly and which is not. It is difficult to figure out to detect topology without any manual related to WoT, as it is a combination of too many devices. Managing databases, applications, hardware and different software at a single platform is a tedious task.
5. Insecure Devices
Currently, devices which are included in the Web of Things for retail management are a major attack concern for corporate organizations. They require high demands of security methodologies as they can easily be attacked by unauthorized users or malware. Sometimes, lack of encryption techniques makes devices easy to hack. Smartphones are often victims of intentional data theft. There are numerous entry points in an organization's network and users' network, making devices insecure.
6. Tempering Communication
Connecting various communicating devices in real time for smooth and secure data transfer is a critical issue regarding connectivity . During communication, gateways are most susceptible for interception. In the world of WoT, each adapter is connected toa new communication device, which can be further open for attack by hackers. Use of various protocols such as BLE, Thread and ZigBee in a single system increases the complexity of communication. Standardizing the protocols is a notified requirement in WoT-enabled communication. Identifying constraints on protocols during communication like congestion, missing packets, buffer overflow, wireless attack, slow processing and issues related to delivery of packets is key challenge.
7. Software Attacks
Web-enabled retail management can be easily attacked by any software malware, such as viruses or worms. Software attacks also include SQL injections for theft and to gain access to data. For rescue from such attack, management should validate the code and use prepared SQL statements. A denial of service (DoS) attack is a kind of attack to prevent authorized users from using services. For example, attackers may flood the network with large volumes of data. Data can be stolen by attackers as they may break cryptography techniques which are applied for data encryption.
8. Lack of Updates
Web-enabled management systems require automatic upgrading of devices regularly, which is again a big challenge for users and manufacturers. Lack of software updates has led to serious attacks by hackers . Not applying regular software updates to a system leaves critical holes for attackers to steal private data. Additionally, software upgrading fixes security issues, enhances features, provides more protection from threats, and offers more compatibility with other devices. It should be applied on all devices including computers or cell phones. Therefore, it is necessary to upgrade the complete system in a timely manner to protect it from hackers.
9. Raw Storage of Data
Web-enabled retail management is mandatorily required for knowing the flow of data in the system, which is again a big security issue. It is very difficult to know how the data is created, the location of generation of data and the number of devices creating the data . It is a laborious task to get the knowledge to capture data in real time for analysis and prediction. Usually, there is crude submission of data. That crude data is most vulnerable for attacks and theft. Modification in even small amount of data may impact the entire transferred information, which may be a further crucial loss.
Challenges Raised in WoT-Enabled Retail Management
The Web of Things is facing a lot of challenges in terms of infrastructure, security, competitors and data management .
Designing and updating the infrastructure for the WoT-enabled retail management is the key challenge. Many retailers and organizations lack the techniques required to design the infrastructure which is needed by the Web of Things. The Web of Things necessitates regular investment in digitizing by retailers such as RFID, tablets, networking devices and applications and data management tools . Nowadays, new techniques are arriving fast, so it is a necessity to update existing ones. If retailers fail to update resources, they may lag behind their competitors.
2. Data Management
To overcome this challenge requires applying techniques and software tools to analyze gathered data for improving the performance of the organization . It is necessary to implement better techniques to collect, manage and analyze data for prediction and investigation for getting knowledge of future trends.
A long-term challenge for the Web of Things in retail management is handling security issues to protect the complete system. As numerous devices of both consumers and suppliers are linked to same system, security threats include theft of private data, breaking of encryption techniques, manipulation of information and hacking devices . To cater to the challenge means applying intelligent techniques, not only for detecting security issues, but also predicting security threats in advance.
4. Threats to Competitors
The Web of Things impacts the retail industry in various ways, such as reducing supplier bargaining power, which in turn increases threats to competitors . Those retailers who are lacking in new technologies are facing the biggest challenge to remain in the market. Consumers' nature of purchasing and intensity of purchasing affect the supplier market.
5. Timely Service
The goal of initiating the Web of Things in retail management is to improve timely and managed service. Service may be receiving products, resolving customer issues, backing up data, providing product reviews, accurate data searching so that customers can make timely decisions, etc.
Conclusion and Future Scope
Applying the Web of Things in retail can offer precious awareness to retailers in terms of profits and customers. It creates new opportunities and innovations in industries. Web-enabled retail management has designed new processes for customers for purchasing goods at their ease. This area has been enhanced a lot in terms of technology by including the functionalities of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analysis and Web of Things. Still, it is facing a lot of challenges, both regarding customers and retailers, as it has not yet completely created by technologies. Security during a financial breach is the main concern while doing transactions. There should be robust systems to manage data privacy. It requires more robust techniques of encryption and security. Currently, there are various companies that have adopted WoT in their infrastructure to function smoothly and be on top of their competitors. Following this, it can be stated that the Web of Things has improved customer experiences as well as profits of retailers while improving retail management. With changing times and evolving newer technologies it is almost mandatory for entrepreneurs to have an edge over the others. So, to remain on customers' horizons and in vogue, WoT is truly indispensable for both sellers and buyers.
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