The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting every sphere of personal and public life. The connected ecosystem of devices, sensors and applications is continuing to make great value additions to our life. From workplace collaboration to smart manufacturing to connected on-field employees, IoT and connected devices are continuing to boost efficiency like never before.
Since the iBeacon and location technologies like geofencing came into play with their powerful ability to connect the in-store shoppers contextually, the retail space has been open to leveraging such technologies. However, IoT has actually outgrown its ability and has now penetrated the booming ecommerce space for a more customer-friendly and personalized shopping experience.
Here are four benefits of IoT for ecommerce:
Easier Inventory Handling
Thanks to the connected devices and IoT technologies like the sensors and RFID tagskeeping track of inventory in real time became possible now. This is one hand can reduce the human errors in managing inventory; on the other hand, a whole array of inventory and product information can automatically be stored and easily accessed. From the product batch IDs, brand and manufacturing data, to product type and expiry date, all crucial information for a value chain can be easily stored and accessed. IoT app developers are also coming with solutions that make such tracking and monitoring easier. He connected devices and sensors also allow keeping track of the stock and updating them more efficiently.
Ocado back in 2016 started an automated packaging service by using a wireless control system. This new solution from Ocado helped controlling and coordinating with the movement of grocery store items besides making the bagging process faster with every subsequent online order.
Similar to the benefits for inventory management, the connected ecosystem of devices and sensors can also help to prevent over-stocking of items in the warehouse. Moreover, for products with minimum shelf-life and products that require temperature control may be stored more efficiently as real-time data about the products and stock in the warehouse can be shared and collaborated upon. For instance, Amazon is already using powerful warehouse robots for better and more responsive stock management.
Supply Chain Security
For any ecommerce business, one of the biggest areas of concern is the logistics or supply chain. Delivering the goods in time and in good condition remains a priority for every online store, failing to do that an ecommerce store risks losing reputation and drop in sales figure.
Connected devices and ecosystem of sensors in this respect can play a tremendously useful role. The IoT ecosystem can help logistics companies and everyone involved in the supply chain to track deliverable products in time and ensure faster as well as responsive measures to ensure delivery within the committed time.
Amazon Go offers one of the most frictionless buying experience from a physical store. It is also unique in terms of secure payment processing. You just need to choose items, place them in the basket and walk out. The automated system by reading the tags on the entrance door, the basket and the products can charge the customer appropriately for the products. To your surprise, as of now not a single security glitch has been reported concerning this automated checkout and payment processing.
Improved Customer Experience
Ecommerce stores connected through numerous devices and connected sensors can easily keep track of the user behaviour, user preferences and user interactions continuously. This pool of user data and insights coupled up with analytics can help ecommerce stores to deliver more sophisticated and personalized shopping experiences for the customers. If you ask any mobile app development company specialized in mobile commerce apps, they will point out to the personalized shopping experience as their top priority.
BASF Wine Store in Germany devised a system to cater to the customers as per their taste preferences. Customers only need to mention their likes and dislikes on a tablet and based on taste preferences selected bottles will light up on the digital shelf.
From sending notifications in preferred time-slot to recommending products based on preferences and browsing behaviour to sending promotional offers suited to individual preferences, in numerous ways IoT device ecosystem in the context of ecommerce can improve customer experience.
How is IoT impacting ecommerce?
The impact of IoT on ecommerce stores and overall online retail shopping experience already stands out. A host of devices and sensors coupled up with connected applications by utilizing the internet connectivity is continuously pushing the boundary for customer interaction and communication. IoT has become a bigger force since embedded systems became a part of online stores and ecommerce management.
Let us now explain how IoT is going to impact ecommerce stores in two principal ways.
Personalized Customer Service
If one particular way the impact of IoT is visible most on ecommerce stores it is the personalized customer service. While every shopper now prefers shopping experience, product recommendations and interactions that suit their individual preferences and needs, personalized shopping is bound to get priority from most online stores. Fortunately enough, IoT devices are helping stores in numerous ways to make this personalization possible.
The IoT devices being capable of gathering individual customer information concerning their geographic location, buying habits, preferences, online behaviour and leanings help the stores to approach every individual user in a more personalized manner. This improves customer retention and business conversion for online stores.
Nordstrom Local is a new American department store brand in Los Angeles that allows customers to place their order on a Pinterest-style inspiration board. This is unique way of catering to customer needs through a visual medium.
Boosting Automation in Ecommerce Business Process
Another significant way IoT creates value is by paving the way for automation and minimizing the human errors throughout the process.
The IoT has a far-reaching impact on the ecommerce business processes. From tracking and monitoring everything in the business chain to mitigating tasks with real-time instructions and inputs, IoT can implement automation in the ecommerce business process in a never-before manner.
The details about the products, location, handling and movement freed by connected by technologies such as GPS and RFID tags help to automate many aspects in the shopping process. This besides ensuring faster and in-time delivery also can ensure maintaining the proper condition of the product.
As the ecommerce market stands now, the impact of IoT will continue to be more laudable and widespread with the rise of improved sensors and more advanced connected devices in the time to come. The IoT ecosystem of devices and sensors will continue to pave the way for more personalization, automation and context-aware customer service.