The Internet of Things (IoT) has changed how we live, from healthcare to how we buy groceries. Ecommerce is no exception. Therefore, if you’re not leveraging the IoT for your ecommerce startup, you may be missing out on major growth opportunities.
Fortunately, using the IoT to your advantage can be simple. By utilizing automation and personalizing user experience (UX) you can help your startup grow with the rapidly-changing landscape of digital shopping.
In this post, we’ll explain what the IoT is and why it’s important for ecommerce. Then we’ll share four ways you can use this new technology to improve your business. Let’s get to it!
What is the IoT? (and Why It’s Important for Ecommerce)
The IoT is a network of “things” – including devices, machines, and computers – that are connected via data sharing through the internet. For example, smart cars such as Tesla, wearable devices, and Amazon’s Alexa speaker are all part of the IoT:
The IoT has shifted the face of ecommerce. In 2021 alone, global retail ecommerce sales reached 4.9 trillion USD, with numbers only expected to increase.
Mobile devices, which are also part of the IoT, have greatly influenced the jump in ecommerce sales. According to Oberlo, the average American spent 234 minutes per day on their phone, laptop, and/or tablet in 2021.
With consumers spending more and more money online, businesses that don’t adapt might risk falling behind.
4 Ways the IoT Can Benefit Your Ecommerce Startup
The IoT can help grow your ecommerce business, but only if you're aware of the possibilities and actively pursue them.
Here are four ways your ecommerce startup can benefit from the IoT.
1. Win More Customers with Mobile Devices
Mobile devices are a part of the IoT and have significantly impacted the rise of ecommerce. According to OuterBox, 79% of smartphone users have made a purchase on their mobile device within the last six months.
As such, businesses that adapt to this growing trend can make more sales with mobile shoppers.
If you're an ecommerce entrepreneur, a mobile-friendly site is essential to staying competitive. You'd be wise to make sure you're tapping into the market for smartphone, tablet, and laptop users alike.
You can do this by ensuring that your navigation menus, image sizes, and design are adaptive to all these devices.
Additionally, you can capitalize on the connection between mobile devices and other IoT apparatuses by selling “smart” products that require applications. For instance, you may want to add an item such as the Atomi Smart Coffee Maker to your inventory.
However, make sure that any additional products you decide to sell are aligned with your overall brand.
2. Personalize Your Customers' UX
Devices within the IoT can give you access to consumer data through sensors, microphones, click tracking, and more. Businesses can take advantage of this kind of information by analyzing the data and using findings to refine the customer UX.
For example, if you sell smart appliances such as refrigerators, you can improve your customers' experience by collecting data on how they use their devices. Then, you can tailor the shopping process to address common pain points or preferences.
A smart fridge is able to detect what kinds of food are stored in it. In this case, the smart fridge seller could use information such as expiration dates to inform users when food will go bad and when it's time to buy milk:
With increased access to user data, you are more capable of staying attuned to your customers' wants and needs. Acting on this knowledge can help you improve your ecommerce model overall, and even boost conversions.
3. Automate Your Logistics
New additions to the IoT are always optimizing the shopping, shipping, and tracking processes. For instance, technologies such as smart shelves are changing how inventory is managed.
You can attach sensors and RFID tags to track your products. Both can send information to connected devices, which can then be transmitted to customers.
As an ecommerce entrepreneur, you can improve efficiency by automating your storing and shipping process as much as possible.
4. Optimize the Buying Process
Automation in the IoT influences online shopping in many ways. This is becoming increasingly common, as it can help boost productivity in a major way. For example, Amazon Go is automating checkouts, which helps simplify the consumer's decision-making process.
Furthermore, digital wallets and chatbots can make shopping easier for your customers and free up your time and resources. In fact, these days, online payment options such as Google Wallet and Apple Pay are starting to replace physical wallets altogether.
While there are also many chatbot options to choose from, Ada is a popular ecommerce assistant that can help streamline your customer communication:
By using these and similar tools, you can improve your customers' purchasing experience while also lightening your workload. As a result, you may free up your time to focus on growth strategies, such as marketing.
An increasing number of consumers are shopping online and using more smart devices. Therefore, using or selling these IoT technologies can translate to big payoffs for your ecommerce startup.
To recap, here are four ways you can use the IoT to improve your online business:
- Gain customers by ensuring mobile-friendliness and selling smart products.
- Analyze consumer data to personalize UX.
- Automate your logistics processes using smart shelves.
- Optimize checkout and customer service by accepting digital wallets and using chatbots, such as Ada.
Do you have any questions about how to leverage the IoT for your ecommerce business? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section!