The Internet of Things has been a hot topic for years now, and the fact that we’re still talking about it should attest to its prosperity. But beyond just asking questions like “What is IoT,” or “How does IoT work,” it’s time to start diving deeper with “how can IoT improve your ecommerce store?”
From enhancing the customer experience to automating logistics, the IoT has a broad range of applications. For ecommerce, some applications are worth prioritizing over others. Below, we list out the 5 more effective ways IoT can benefit your online store.
1. Shipment Tracking
According to some sources, almost half of all customer inquiries are related to where their shipment is and whether it’s on time. IoT finally offers a solution: real-time shipment tracking. And as the technology advances, it becomes more affordable and financially viable.
Through the use of RFID tags, IoT technology enables you to track all your deliveries to give customers live updates on where their packages are. This coincides with a global push for faster and more convenient deliveries, as Amazon raises the bar for everyone.
Internally, you can also efficiently manage your supply chain to optimize reloads and reduce storage outages. With IoT real-time updates, you can even resolve problems the instant they occur to minimize any negative effects.
2. Ads and Real-Time Marketing
Although the technology is still ramping up for IoT advertising, it’s established enough that you can start preparing for it. Some are predicting that IoT will turn advertising on its head, creating a culture that values interactivity over distraction models .
For now, IoT advertising works best in conjunction with handheld & wearable devices, as well as smart device apps. If a customer’s Fitbit logs a completed 3-mile jog, you can reward them with an ad containing a discount on an energy drink.
IoT is taking advertisements in the direction of real-time marketing. This gives you more influence in guiding customer’s down the sales funnel; you can send real-time messages and ads to draw them to your site in the early stages when potential customers are recognizing and researching new shopping options.
3. Better Customer Profiling
A large part of marketing isn’t just knowing how to market your business, but also to whom. Indirectly, the IoT helps create more accurate customer profiles, so you can target ads and marketing more efficiently.
Consumers are sensitive about their privacy, but there are still non-intrusive ways to use big data without infringing upon their rights.
Social media is one of the best. Drawing on the data your customers volunteer, such as likes and page visits, you can micro-advertise to individuals that fit your target customer profile. For example, if you sell movie parafernalia, you can unload merchandise from specific movies by targeting fans that liked that movie on social media.
Again, the technology for customer profiling is still growing, but the sooner you learn to incorporate it in your marketing strategies, the more prepared you’ll be in the future when it starts advancing in larger leaps.
4. Automated Shipments
Aside from tracking shipments, IoT can also shoulder the weight of inventory management when it’s still in storage. By switching out barcode systems to RFIDs, ecommerce companies are able to better monitor their inventory levels in real time, sharply reducing both human error and wait time.
Essentially, when your stock drops below a certain point, you’ll know it instantly. According to tech author Geoffrey Moore, “inventory accuracy at the stock-keeping unit (SKU) level is about 65 percent. RFID can get it up to 95 percent or better.”
IoT works especially well together with an ecommerce inventory management system such as ecomdash. While warehouses and 3PLs can use IoT technology to monitor stock levels and track shipments, ecomdash can receive this data and update any integrated marketplaces and webstores. You’ll be able to strategize in real time and manage all your channels and facilities from one place with accurate data..
5. Voice Command Keywords
Last, we can’t neglect the change IoT is having on the consumers as well as merchants. IoT is changing every aspect of our lives, including shopping and purchasing behaviors. So far, one of the most notable changes comes from virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant.
Ecommerce stores need to rethink their whole structure to accommodate shoppers who rely primarily on virtual assistants, mostly because of voice searches. While product demand and expectations remain the same, the method for shopping is a little different, especially regarding SEO.
The way people speak is different than the way they type. When customers say search commands out loud they use different keywords. You may need to redo your entire SEO strategy to incorporate new keywords, especially long-tail phrases that are more in-sync with language used in speech. To learn more, including more advanced tactics, read our article How to Prepare Your Retail Website for Voice Search .
Ecommerce is intrinsically tied to the developments of the technology industry — that’s what the E in “ecommerce” represents. And considering the speed at which technology progresses lately, that makes ecommerce a rapidly evolving industry itself.