How is IoT Changing the eCommerce Game

Not slowly, but steadily, IoT is changing the way businesses conduct themselves. It is guaranteeing the success of e-commerce businesses, especially those in the retail sector. By 2020, the retail spend on the Internet of Things is expected to reach $2.5 billion. It is crucial for the players in the online space to leverage technology and offer products/services for a memorable shopping experience. Amazon has been providing a delightful experience to its customers through the Amazon Dash Button, a Wi-Fi connected device. The device assures you never run out of your everyday necessities.

According to the The International Data Corporation (IDC), the IoT market will be worth $1.7 trillion by 2020. IoT might be the biggest device market in the world by this time. This would represent twice the size of the combination of smartphone, PC, tablet, connected car, and the wearable market all together. But, the question here is how to unleash the potential of IoT for the ecommerce business.

Let’s get started.


1.  Enhancing Customer Well being

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Customers want products that would make a positive impact in their lives. That is why the application of Internet of Things (IoT) is viable in changing the eCommerce industry.

By enhancing the well being of customers, we are looking at the application of the technology in the areas of product fulfillment, security, and health.

In the case of product fulfillment, the connected device sends signals to customers when the quantity of their products begins to reduce. This would facilitate the ordering more products.

Security wise, IoT helps customers to get real-time alerts when their house or immediate environment is in danger. For instance, the built-in sensors in the device can send alerts in the event of fire outbreak or increased temperature.

The application of IoT-connected wearable devices in health refers to the use of the device to examine the body systems of end-users. Real-time alerts would then be sent to the users mobile devices for immediate actions if there need be.


2.  Tracking Products

Have you ever made an online shopping only to get your order many hours after the delivery timeframe? You may have sold your products online but found it hard to keep track of the shipment to the customer.

This is another area where the fusion of IoT and eCommerce is needed for the growth of the supply chain industry. In this instance, the use of IoT devices or sensors would help a business to track the shipping of a product from the moment it left the warehouse or factory until it gets to the doorstep of the customer. Such tracking is viable because the sensors come with a built-in Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Global Positioning System (GPS).

GPS and RFID are cloud-based technologies that are even applied in logistics management to automate the shipping and delivery processes. They also help eCommerce store operators to gain insights into the identities of the delivery personnel, the speed of the vehicle, the weather, and the traffic condition in the course of making the delivery.

When such technologies are in place, a brand can be sure that the fragmented last-mile delivery system would be replaced with a robust and faster on-time delivery of packages to the customers.


3.  Monitoring Customer Behavior

Gone are the days when a customer does a purchase and leaves the supermarket or online store without coming back to buy more products. In the current scenario, online store owners are making conscious efforts to have “returning customers”. The implication of this is that a shopper doesn’t buy once but is expected to be an “Oliver Twist” of sorts – to come back for more. How can an online store achieve that? It is by using IoT for eCommerce.

IoT sensors help to track consumer behavior from their smartphones and send the reports back to the eCommerce platform. This empowers retailers to have real-time information about the kind of product a consumer is interested in, how the consumer interacted with the product, and the type of products that the consumer is interested in. Buoyed by this data, the retailer would then be able to rebuild the purchasing process and create specialized services (such as discounts), which would trigger the customer to come back for more purchases.


4.  Introducing Payment Systems

The global payment system has witnessed multiple trends in recent years. The introduction of online banking that took the baton from paper money to the use of cryptocurrencies helped in reshaping the payment method in the eCommerce industry.

However, the time is ripe for the launch of a contactless form of online payments that involves the use of smartwatches and smartphones to make payments. The application of IoT in eCommerce would certainly contribute to this evolution, as these devices come with built-in sensors and relevant technologies that would make the payment systems faster and secure.


5.  Inventory Management

Indeed, an online store would always seek better ways to enhance its customer support, to retain the buyers. Yet, it is important to have a defined structure for the stocks it intends to sell to the buyers. IoT helps in boosting inventory management in online stores.

The buoyancy of IoT sensors and RFID tags help the online retailer track inventories and streamline the entire process. The importance of this is felt in the reduction of human input in the management of items in the store. Sensors and RFID tags would take over the recording and storage of important inventory details, including the type of products, their batch IDs, and expiration date.


    6. Warehouse Management

The impact of IoT in eCommerce is also felt in the warehousing of products. In this instance, the application of technology helps to reduce the shortage or overstock of items in the store. It also helps to alert the retailer about the optimum temperature for perishable products and sends alerts when the limit exceeds.

Amazon, the leading eCommerce platform in the world is reputed for using IoT-installed robots to take care of the picking, packing, and delivery of products.

IoT is Taking Ecommerce to the Next Level: The Way Ahead

The future of the 21st century is heavily reliant on technology. As more buyers are willing to embrace online shopping, it is imperative for online retailers to think outside the box to implement solutions that would improve their chances in the eCommerce sector. Thankfully, the application of the Internet of Things in eCommerce is one of the most vibrant ways to achieve that. Businesses are also employing customer support tools, like help desk software , live chat, knowledge base, survey maker, and so on to delight customers with unparalleled services.