IoT in eCommerce: Technologies Change the Industry

Imagine you have to buy new headphones, what would you do: visit the nearest store or open a browser or jump to your mobile app?

Today more and more people choose the second option as it takes less time and effort. The number of online-buyers will continue to grow, as e-commerce – online commercial transactions – becomes more comfortable by offering high-tech solutions, for example, IoT-based.

IoT (Internet of Things) is an ecosystem of smart devices that have access to the Internet and can communicate with each other.

IoT transforms the eCommerce industry not only from the consumer side but also from within. (For example, processes like inventory management, logistics.) The changes that IoT brings to the e-commerce industry are both positive and negative.

How IoT transforms e-commerce
Even before it went online, commerce used intelligent tools to improve service and product monitoring: it was 1982 when Coca-Cola installed smart vending machines that told how much drink was left inside and how much was cold. . Today commerce has gone far beyond the power of the Internet and IoT.

IoT in E-commerce: Positive Impact

inventory management
IoT sensors and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags revolutionized the way inventory is organized. They allow all important product information (such as product type, availability, expiration date and others) to be obtained without human intervention. For customers, this means the possibility to see if the product is available now.

Whereas for business owners, it helps to monitor the quantity and quality of the product. For example, sensors check if the temperature in the warehouse is low enough for perishable products and warn the system if it is not.

The introduction of smart shelves has taken inventory management even further. They monitor the number of goods and can reorder them when needed to avoid running out of stock.
All of these cut down on the risk of human error and the number of work hours required.

supply chain management
Tracking a product’s journey has never been so precise and detailed. With the help of IoT sensors and RFID tags, you always know what happens to the product: where it is, how fast it travels, under what conditions it is stored, and more. This allows for more accurate calculations of arrival times and avoids loss or mis-delivery.

This works well on the customers side too: they can always do several taps on the mobile phone to see where their shipping is and how soon it will get to their door.

Maintenance, Warranty, and Theft/Damage
IoT technologies are also the perfect tools to remotely monitor a product, predict its maintenance, and analyze performance. This provides the business with more information about how the product is used and allows for the prediction and prevention of break-downs. If the sensors report poor functioning of a product, the company can call the customer and suggest repair or replacement before the customer faces serious difficulties.

Another useful option for implementing IoT is the opportunity to find things if they are lost or stolen. We bet, at least once, you’ve forgotten an umbrella or jacket at a cafe or friend’s house. What if, after walking 500 meters away from your luggage, you get “Looks like you forgot your umbrella in Martin?” How did you get the information? Let’s admit, convenient. A decade ago, we didn’t expect our fridges to reorder milk and eggs, so why not install tiny smart sensors in clothing or other things by the year 2030?

smart home
Here we must remember Amazon’s Dash Buttons which make routine tasks easier. These tiny buttons can be placed anywhere in the house and programmed via mobile applications to perform certain functions. For example, you can rearrange five packs of washing powder or your favorite cookies by pressing a small button.

Another feature of IoT in smart homes that businesses should keep in mind is voice assistants. People with such tools prefer not to browse through the things they need. They order the voice assistant to buy them.

But the problem is that the assistants are likely for all people to order the same product with the same request.

This means that some brands may get thousands of orders and huge revenue while others will be ignored. To survive the latest, brands have to optimize their marketing companies not only for search engines but also for AI algorithms.

The more a business knows about a particular customer, the more personalized the experience and perspective it can provide. And this effectively translates into loyalty and revenue growth.

Having knowledge of smart home appliances opens up a vast breadth of business opportunities. For example, if someone’s microwave oven consumes a lot of energy, you can send them an advertisement for your new economy model.

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