E-commerce has become the preferred mode of shopping. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed people to use e-commerce websites and applications to buy online. The ease of purchasing, paying, and returning goods has set the trend for online purchases.
The term IoT or Internet of Things describes a network of connected devices and the technology that enables the communication between such devices and between these devices and the cloud. It has become possible thanks to the rise in the availability of inexpensive computer chips and high bandwidth network communication.
Global IT trends like IoT, AR, AI & ML are beginning to impact e-commerce significantly and are transforming the online shopping business. IoT enables firms and consumers to experience better and more convenient ways of interacting and transacting.
According to DataProt, the market size of IoT in retail is expected to be USD 94 billion by 2025, with a CAGR of 21.5%.
Uses of IoT in e-Commerce Business –
- Logistics management: It needs monitoring at multiple levels like supply chain, warehousing and transportation. Many factors can influence the process, and IoT can help streamline the process.
Connected devices and applications can help in theft detection and improved security and provides business managers with advanced analytics to meet various challenges. GPS and RFID help provide e-commerce businesses with relevant information regarding traffic conditions, location & weather alerts to ensure the timely delivery of goods. IoT can enable the automation of shipping and delivery processes to ensure that mismanaged or missing shipments are handled.
- Inventory management: Keeping track of inventory is a tricky and formidable task. IoT devices and RFID tags enable easy inventory management in real-time and help streamline the inventory flow. IoT devices, along with RFID tags kept at suitable locations within the warehouse or the inventory area, can continuously share data with the central server ensuring that the inventory is constantly updated and recording errors are eliminated.
Product details like item type, batch id, and manufacturer’s name can be scanned, and data sent to the central system for further processing without manual intervention.
Amazon, the e-commerce giant, uses IoT robots for picking products, packing & other warehouse-related work, helping increase the efficiency of operations.
- Personalized customer experience: Using IoT, e-commerce businesses can offer customized services to customers. IoT devices can recognize shopping or buying patterns. E-commerce businesses can use this data for targeted and tailored marketing and advertising campaigns and to extend personalized offers to customers.
IoT devices can also help detect and respond to customer issues in real-time to present prompt resolution, resulting in a better customer experience.
- Automated purchasing: IoT devices can automatically order products as per preferences set. An example is the smart refrigerator, which is connected to the internet and has an interior camera, a built-in browser and a shopping list. Such devices can be directly purchased online as per the preferences set by the owner.
- Performance: analytics plays a vital role in all kinds of businesses, including e-commerce businesses and by using IoT and data streaming, e-commerce companies can check the KPIs quickly.
- Warranty and maintenance: IoT devices and technologies can remotely assess products and other items. IoT can be used for predictive maintenance needs and give real-time performance updates. Sensors can issue alerts regarding product issues, update customers regarding the same, and even offer options for replacing or repairing defective items.
- Troubleshooting: IoT implementation in e-commerce plays a significant role in discovering and helping eliminate issues like cart abandonment, tracking missing shipments, low customer engagement & returns. IoT can collect data & using analytics; e-commerce companies can strengthen supply chain management and improve customer experience.
- Increased business and income potential: IoT in e-commerce is helping restructure and re-strategize business solutions and business models. E-commerce companies can create compelling use cases, reduce time-to-market and increase revenue streams. IoT applications can help in the way companies communicate with customers.
To recap reasons how IoT can impact the e-commerce business:
- Faster, efficient logistics and supply chain operations management
- Improved customer experience and customer engagement
- Increased traceability and visibility of inventory and delivery systems
- Remote assessment of products for predictive maintenance
- Greater robotization in warehousing
- Automated shipping processes
- Improved marketing and promotional opportunities
IoT in e-commerce is becoming mainstream now as more and more businesses begin to recognize its capabilities and the benefits it offers.
For the e-commerce business or any business, the customer always comes first & IoT enables the company to provide an enhanced customer experience. IoT provides logistics, checkout, sales, analytics, and other operations automation.
In conclusion, customers want to have a streamlined and personalized shopping experience. IoT and its ecosystem can help e-commerce businesses to provide that. IoT software development services companies can provide the technical expertise for e-commerce businesses looking to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage.