What is IoT?

The Internet of Things is a framework that is used to connect multiple physical devices to the internet. It’s important concept because IoT enables ubiquitous computing (available everywhere), which is crucial to creating scale for any organisation. IoT devices collect and share data, making tasks easier to automate. Automation means being able to run with little to no human intervention. Let’s dive in to some of the ways this can affect you or your online business.

What are some examples of how IoT is used today?

Do you have a smart bulb? A Nest thermostat? Smart switches? If so, then you have a smart home that uses IoT. A smart home is convenient because you can make your home more secure while saving on costly energy bills. Consider when you are on vacation and you can turn off lights you forgot to turn off and lower the temperature in your home during the day when it's warm - all while you are hundreds or thousands of miles away.

Smart refrigerators also use IoT. Imagine being at the grocery store and not having to make a list of items to purchase. The app on your phone gives you an automatic inventory of items in your fridge, helping you determine what you need to purchase at the grocery store.

In addition, IoT has impacted the global supply chain, which includes asset tracking, vendor relations, forecasting and inventory, connected fleets, and scheduled maintenance. As a result, IoT has made operations more efficient for businesses.

How does IoT affect ecommerce?

IoT's impact on the ecommerce industry is significant for both buyers and sellers. According to Statista, by 2021, e-retail revenue is expected to grow to $4.88 trillion. In order to achieve that growth, businesses in retail are considering innovative ways to scale. One way to scale is to enable buyer purchases via voice using Amazon Alexa. Amazon is a leader in voice technology and has enabled Alexa on various IoT devices, including smart bulbs, thermostats, smart switches, and smart refrigerators, making it easier for buyers to interact with those devices as a means of convenience.

You may enable buyers to make purchases with their voice or seek assistance that may be automated based on the question that is asked. For instance, a buyer makes a purchase and is fully aware of the status of the order because they can ask Alexa for a status or ask Alexa when it will be delivered.

What products or features are available at Amazon Pay to help my business?

Amazon Pay offers a digital wallet in various channels including Web, Mobile, and Alexa. By using Amazon Pay and reducing friction for your buyers, you enable an omni-channel solution that works for all your customers. This omni-channel solution uses an Amazon feature called buyer id, which helps sellers recognise their Amazon Pay customers and allows buyers to stay updated on their order status, reorder, and personalise their shopping experience.

Your business may enable the delivery notifications feature to allow buyers to make purchases with Amazon Pay on either of the channels above and get delivery updates.

For instance, a buyer purchases a product using their voice on Alexa where their items are shipped. When the package is out for delivery, Alexa notifies the buyer: “A shipment from [yourstorename] is scheduled to arrive by [date].“ After the item(s) are delivered, Alexa notifies the buyer: ”Your shipment from [yourstorename] has been delivered.“

This experience enables the buyer to make a purchase and track their order as it is shipped without having to rely on a desktop or a mobile device.

As we continue to see growth in IoT across different industries, I expect Alexa will continue to make a positive impact on the lives of buyers, while expanding the operational efficiency of businesses around the globe.

For buyers, purchases that are personalised and streamlined with voice will become the new norm. If you are looking for ways to get started with IoT and Alexa and the impact it can have on your business, I suggest you start with your customers, letting their feedback act as your guide to building new online experiences.

 

Sources: 1 RetailDive.com, LG introduces smart refrigerator with Amazon Alexa-enabled grocery ordering, 2017 2 Forbes.com, How IoT Will Impact The Supply Chain, 2018 3 Statista, US Retail e-commerce Sales Forecast, 2020

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