Internet of Things (IoT) has emerged as a key technology to influence businesses across diverse industry verticals. With this technology, we are able to connect lots of different devices wirelessly and control or regulate them through their smart features and sensors. These IoT devices continuously change data with each other over the internet like 3G/4G mobile data or WiFi and other wireless technologies like Bluetooth, Bluetooth Low Energy, WiMax, Zigbee, Z-wave, LoraWAN etc.
eCommerce is one of the many industries discovering some pretty handy uses of IoT technology.
When blending IoT with Big Data, the technology can introduce a number of positive things to an eCommerce business that it can adapt to simplify its operations. IoT can help stores with a physical presence in running their business more competently and produce higher revenue.
Now allow me to propose some examples on how e-commerce setups around the world are applying IoT to their business to help their employees speedily and smoothly executing various operations and customers having great shopping experience every time they visit a store online. Here we go.
Smoother inventory and warehouse management
An e-commerce store sells thousands of products through a single platform.To continuously run its operations, the store needs to take inventories of everything arriving and leaving its warehouse.
No doubt, it’s a daunting job to keep tabs on everything coming in and going out. However, e-commerce stores have already been relying on the information technology and software to handle the inventory, but nothing can do it as intelligently as IoT.
IoT relies on sensors. So, when it’s integrated into the system successfully, it can execute inventory-tasks with no or little human interventions.
We have IoT sensors and RFID tags which make the inventory management quick and error-free. Also, with IoT sensors, taking inventory of every item happens in the real-time which keeps the fulfillment streamlined. In this way, monitoring and tracking turn easier. Also, an IoT-based inventory management system significantly reduces the cost of running inventory management operations in comparison to a human-based inventory process.
If an e-commerce store has the best way to manage its inventory, it also has an easier way to speedily deliver items to customers.
As far as IoT for a warehouse is concerned, its key use there is to keep tracking over/under stocks of items. Here, IoT sensors again play a significant role because they can sense things in a variety of ways. Challenges, like the lack of the space or its improper utilization, dearth of visibility into partially used locations, and offloading delays, can easily be resolved by the use of IoT.
Amazon exhibited an excellent example of how IoT can make the warehouse-operations simpler. It has deployed robots to improve the efficiency of its picking and packing processes. Moving at the speed of 8km/h, these robots can carry up to 300kg. Amazon is working to improve the load capacity and accuracy of these robots.
Logistics tracking to
E-commerce companies can apply IoT enabled devices and applications to turn their logistics operations easier. The technology allows them to track their shipments in real time. With IoT, issues related to order-delivery can be solved by keeping the customer-satisfaction level high.
IoT devices let an eCommerce business also discover the rate of movements to have an estimation of delivery times and stay away from guesses. A company tracking everything through its IoT-enabled system will encounter limited instances of shipment-loss or disappearance.
An E-commerce business heavily depends on a consistent and efficient supply chain network to slickly run all its operations. They know how little delays can snatch big opportunities from their hand. By implementing IoT, businesses experience every movement of goods is taking place on time, as scheduled.
Also, they can use RFID and GPS enabled IoT devices for long distance tracking. They can even keep an eye over the speed of a vehicle, driver’s focus on the road as well as predicting weathers.
Enhanced user experience and more opportunities
IoT can also help an e-commerce business enhance its customer experience. It can be applied to discover issues and resolve them before being noticed by customers.
The technology of IoT can also help a business separate itself from competitors and attract more customers. Walmart showed how it can be achieved. The company used an IoT system to get the insights of products popular on social platforms in order to deliver its customers with a complete shopping experience along with the ability of desired personalization.
Now many eCommerce businesses are also opening their physical stores. IoT can help them in this scenario too. With IoT apps and devices, an e-commerce business can create personalized ad campaigns to target customers reaching in particular distance of its physical store. The system will help in generating spot discounts/offers to influence customers.
A retailer, Meat Pack set a similar example in 2012 with the use of its app. When customers, having the retailer’s app already installed, visited a competitor store, the app started displaying 99 percent discount on their next purchase from a Meat Pack store. The company added a catch that the discount would go 1 percent down per second until customers reach the store. This led many customers to immediately leave a competitor’s store and literally run to a Meat Pack’s store to have that discount.