In Which Significant Ways E-Commerce Industry Is Benefiting From IoT?
The new wave of interconnectivity is here! Internet of Things (IoT) is evolving at a blinding pace, which has immense possibilities for industries across the globe. IoT refers to a network of interconnected devices consisting of everyday objects. With smart features and sensors, these devices are constantly exchanging data back and forth with other devices along with internet.
From autonomous cars to smart homes to wearables to even smart cities, the applications of IoT are galore. That means the footprints of IoT are only going to increase exponentially. Statista has predicted in 2025, there will be over 75 billion IoT connected devices as compared to 15 billion devices in 2015.
Image Credit: industrybuying.com
In the meanwhile, e-commerce industry is witnessing a technological disruption. Online shopping is going through a paradigm shift as more and more people are becoming adaptive to it. The lifestyle changes and new experiences have necessitated e-commerce businesses to leverage technology and provide better customer experience.
Here is how e-commerce can benefit from IoT:
E-commerce industry is incomplete without a proper channel of logistics; a minor flaw in this channel means a setback to online retailers. This is where IoT can come to their rescue by ensuring that commodities can move from one place to another smoothly. IoT technology can play a critical role in tracking of products all the way from production stage to final delivery.
RFID (Radio-Frequency Identification) and GPS enable e-commerce businesses to track the location of commodities at every instant. Digital data is encoded in RFID tags or smart labels, which are captured by a reader via radio waves. The logistics management becomes a lot more efficient because IoT makes it possible to effectively manage the route and speed of items to deliver. Also, RFID and GPS ensure there are no missing deliveries or inexplicable delays.
Better inventory management
Inventory management can sometimes be a real cause of concern for e-commerce companies. At a time there could be hundreds of categories and thousands of products in warehouses. Taking a stock of all these items could be an extremely tedious task because even a minor mistake during counting tasks could lead to high degrees of ambiguity.
Here as well, IoT sensors and RFID tags can be a tailor-made solution for an efficient inventory management. Knowing the whereabouts of each item in real-time will make the flow more streamlined. IoT enables a complete monitoring of incoming and outgoing commodities, which means human intervention and errors can be greatly eliminated. It can also monitor sensitive and fragile products to avoid damage or loss.
Furthermore, sometimes certain products suddenly run out of the shelves without even anyone knowing. To tackle such a scenario, IoT-enabled “smart shelves” have been introduced. These devices keep the inventory mistakes out and monitor the number of sold items. They further help place automatic orders so that best-selling items do not go out of stock.
Improved customer experience
E-commerce businesses utilize big data for making informed decisions and personalization. Not just that, they analyze data from various social media platforms and forums because it helps them understand the needs of their customers. IoT can help e-commerce retailers improve their customer experience on two counts. First, they can track customer preference for particular products, their order history, and shopping behaviors. It helps them increase customer engagement, which leads to better customer service and higher sales. Two, the results achieved by IoT analysis will allow the retailers to provide the offers and delivery options as per preference and timing respectively.
Since a better customer experience also means after sale follow up, so the e-commerce businesses can track warranty periods of different products. Then using IoT they can set up system notifications and send warranty extension offers via email. To further enhance user experience, IoT devices can report issues in products and anticipate possible complaints. As a result, a prior resolution and smoother experience.
IoT in E-commerce web development
Out of the things affected by IoT in e-commerce, web designing and development would be one of the major areas. Designing websites that look good on screens of various sizes is imperative. That means IoT has many demands of user interfaces and web design. So website design and development processes can be integrated with IoT. There are different considerations for design and IoT interactions. A secure backend is critical that allows IoT devices to communicate safely. To keep communication smooth from one device to another, Node.js has emerged as a well-equipped framework to build highly scalable and fast network applications. To improve customer experience many companies are using Node.js hosting that play an important role in the latest advanced technologies. User interface is important for e-commerce websites, so a web-based user interface for an IoT application needs to be clean, intuitive, and fast. When it comes to speed, e-commerce websites have to be faster. So you can minimize the response time between web server and IoT-enabled site using design strategies for slow connections.
Better opportunities for marketing and promotion
The potential of IoT-enabled devices is far reaching; businesses can understand their prospects at a deeper level. Once it happens, there are unlimited possibilities in marketing and promotion. In view of this, e-commerce companies are approaching DaaS (Data as a Service) providers. These providers gather valuable customer data that can be used in a variety of ways for marketing. This data is also helpful for personalized advertising backed by IoT. This leads to enhanced customer trust and better sales figures. When it comes to product promotion, flexibility in pricing can be a game changer. That is, to keep customers happy and satisfied, businesses can use “smart” self-tags, also known as “e-tags”. Once installed, these e-tags help in offering promotions to the target customers depending upon their habits and preferences.
This is just the beginning; IoT is slated to have even more profound impact on e-commerce industry. As more devices get connected and gain smart features, more data will be gathered, and consumer experience can be improved.