Have you ever woken up, walked into the kitchen and made the startling discovery all the coffee is gone? But imagine it’s all right, because a week ago, your coffee machine alerted Amazon, “Hey, this lady is almost out of coffee, so let’s get more ordered now before there’s a crisis over here.” Crisis avoided.
This is just one example of how the Internet of Things (IoT) will impact people’s lives in the future, but IoT will also change marketing as we know it. In fact, senior marketers across the globe expect IoT to make the largest impact on marketing over the next five years.
By the year 2020, there will be more than 26 billion connected devices, which is double the number of tablets, smartphones, and PCs combined. For marketers, this is huge, because it provides unprecedented access to customers. But what exactly is IoT, and how will it change marketing forever?
What is IoT?
The Internet is widely available everywhere, from the airport to the local coffee shop and even the gym. People have become more connected, and as they do, so have their devices.
The concept behind the Internet of Things is any device with an “on” or “off” switch can be connected to the Internet. This includes your coffee machine, headphones – and even your washing machine (more on that in a minute).
So why do customers want so many devices speaking to each other and, as a result, collecting massive amounts of data about their lives? The answer is simple. It’s all about convenience. But for marketers, this demand for convenience will transform their roles. Here are five ways IoT will make an impact for marketers in the future.
1. Hyper-speed Transactions
Customers today are busier than ever, and as a result, they want faster experiences. In fact, the customer experience is expected to overtake price and product as the key differentiator by 2020. So what does this mean for brands? It means they must use innovative technology to deliver precisely what customers want at the exact moment of relevance, and IoT is making this possible.
For example, Walgreens recently partnered with Aisle411 and Google Tango to create an app that would serve up faster, more relevant in-store experiences leveraging IoT. They created a mobile shopping platform that allows consumers to search and map products in the store.
Are you searching the aisles for a clerk to ask where a product is located? This app solves that problem, and it also serves up personalized offers at the moment of relevance, which is a tremendous opportunity for marketers.
Hilton Hotels uses IoT to create these elevated customer experiences. They rolled out a faster check-in process that allows customers to use their smartphones to check into the hotel and get keys. In the future, marketers at these hotels could be using “little data,” which captures the tiniest details about a customer’s stay. For example, they can learn how many pillows a customer prefers through IoT-enabled mobile apps and then provide those little details in the future.
2. Creating Dynamic User Experiences
The Internet of Things allows customers to get a better understanding of how products and services work. Today you may provide a demo, but in the future, you may leverage IoT to drive greater engagement with customers.
For example, Home Depot uses IoT to connect customers’ online shopping carts and wish lists with in-store mobile applications. Customers who are part of the company’s rewards program can view the most efficient route in a store based on their online shopping history. It ties together the various channels a single customer uses for a more seamless experience.
In the future, IoT could become even more advanced than the example listed above. Not only could it route the best path through a store based on historical buying patterns, but the store could also track data related to those paths. For example, a company could discover 40 percent of customers take a specific route through the store, and as a result, they could design product displays more effectively.
Amazon is also meeting customers where they’re at through their IoT development called “Dash Buttons.”