The “internet of things” (IoT) concept is in its nascent stage of development, but it is on the verge of exploding. To put its development into context of another more recent phenomenon, this is the stage of development in which MySpace was attracting the earliest adopters in the then-burgeoning social media industry. Simply stated, there are many more iterations of the IoT universe until this concept reaches public consciousness.
Even so, as consumers, devices and now things become more connected, the possibilities in terms of what could be leveraged as a vehicle for enabling commerce are now endless. In time, the idea of a smartphone as a commerce device could be old news as commerce moves beyond simply portable consumer devices to include durable goods, such as refrigerators, washing machines or automobiles.
Below are five of the most promising digital commerce opportunities brought forth by the IoT era:
(1) Improved logistics resulting in more efficient order fulfillment for today’s digital consumer
“Internet of things” technology provides greater visibility across the fulfillment process, enabling retailers to better meet the demands of today’s consumer who is buying more online. Such technology enables companies to track orders from the moment an order is placed to the second it reaches the consumer’s doorstep. Each piece of inventory is able to be tracked through a management system so goods can be located automatically no matter where they may be.
(2) Automation of certain commerce aspects, such as product replenishment for durable goods
Given that many durable goods products require continuous replenishment, notably detergents, fabric softeners or printer ink, there is an opportunity to automate the ordering process. Subscription services started to streamline this process by measuring how frequently a family ordered specific items from a retailer. The “internet of things” could enable consumption to be more accurately measured within the durable good itself. Both Whirlpool and GE Appliances have integrated Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service into their appliances to allow supplies to be automatically reordered based on consumption.