Retail industries have been highly influenced by digitization of every field. 25 years ago this cycle started with “e-commerce”, which grew its world into “web commerce” , “m commerce” and now “digital commerce”. But it will be fair to say the transition at this moment is moving toward an “IoT commerce” which will be most disruptive of all. It will completely transform how pre-purchase and post-purchase experience will be for customers. In IoT world, the concept of mobile phones, laptops will be old age touchpoints. Commerce will move on smart portable consumer devices on refrigerators , washing machines , automobiles , delivery trucks , home appliances etc.

 

Pre-purchase process

Buying process of products generally starts with identifications of need , its consideration and it’s search , customers is currently doing this process themselves. This is a wide gap IoT is covering quickly , all major industries are working towards covering this gap.

LG & whirlpool have launched washing machines which understand the need of detergent and replenish itself.

Samsung enhanced the experience with a touchscreen to add groceries to shopping cart quickly as soon as customer feels the need.

Walmart is working on technology to reorder grocery intelligently automatically which won’t need any customer interaction.

Pre-purchase process also includes engagement and identifying personalized experience for customers.Businesses are heavily investing to have engagement on Facebook, YouTube , google and all possible sites customer uses. With IoT exposed solutions, each of these targeters can use services to show automatically what customers need to see .

Also IoT is evolving in how data is interpreted and used to understand, improve customer experience, data model moving towards DaaS “Data as a Service” model it’s making way for businesses to heavily take advantage out of it.

Purchase process

This is a process which all industries have been heavily working on before the start of IoT, although the channels, touchpoints were limited to smartphones, laptop, handheld pads, desktops and store POS devices , this is slowly being increased to more consumer devices.

Amazon and Google home have covered this gap with speaker and microphones based compatible devices. Customers can easily with voice interaction order seamlessly on amazon and google respective marketplace. This is already impacting our day to day life with the ease of ordering. Payment methods integrated to these platforms(amazon and google ) safely allows us not even worry about security during the payment process for order.

Post purchase process

Logistics

The important part of purchase is packaging and delivery , this is a critical step which is always focused by all business to have a good experience by customer.

Amazon have already been using robots in distribution centres for few years to pick and package goods for delivery, this helps to packages goods quickly and avoid any mistakes – this also helps to quickly identify any damaged goods if there any.

With RFID tags on each product and use of GPS technology- product delivery is being tracked in real time and helps to take shortest route to deliver goods to customer as quickly as possible.

Inventory management

Inventory management sometimes are the main reason for bad experience for customer, bad inventory management can cause improper view of inventory on channels to buy and can cause delay in delivery etc

IoT have introduced “smart shelves” to keep track of product inventories in real time and raise alerts/orders to replenish if needed. This helps to keep best selling items always on stocks and save money for business by not replenishing items which are not sold a lot.

In summary we already seeing IoT booming around us, with new inventions and solutions in the market. We are already helping to transform businesses to use purchasing solutions which is IoT compatible and can adapt to improve pre purchase and post purchase process for customers. With java, node.js, API IoT solutions being built more focus should be on how to connect these dots to actually have on impact on customer life.

It should lead to one fine day where customer will have all goods reaching their door step without physical interactions with the actual business touchpoints.

Author: Prateek Srivastava
Lead Solutions Architect / Engineering Manager

Original post: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/iot-commerce-vision-prateek-srivastava/

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