The Internet of Things (IoT) is a colloquial term that refers to the increased inter-connectivity that is being incorporated in a wide range of physical objects, through embedded electronics – ranging from smartphones and automobiles to household products like toasters and water bottles, to wearable equipment such as fitness trackers and watches.
Using IoT, ‘smart’ machines can easily interact with each other through the exchange of data, via an integrated network. From the perspective of a consumer, this has implications for accessibility, convenience and productivity; for a business, this means an opportunity to capture context-based, unambiguous data about a potential customer to understand their behavior, which can be used in various ways to improve the general customer experience.
Provides a Customer-Focused Sales Approach
Customers are no longer restricted to engaging with businesses through a single marketing channel – with the rapid technological advancements occurring on an almost-daily basis, they are becoming accustomed to seamless transitions between the myriad channels. A customer can go from browsing products in brick-and-mortar establishments, to checking product reviews on their mobile to ordering the product from their laptop, all within the space of a few minutes.
While the customer is performing these activities, businesses can capture bits of data in real-time, such as time spent on browsing, product(s) selected, time spent on checking reviews, mode of payment, etc. This information can then be coupled with existing customer data, which is generally stored and organized in a comprehensive CRM database, to paint a complete picture of the customer – average spends, frequency of purchases, product preferences, and so on. All of this becomes possible because a business can capture and record data that is generated by customers’ devices through the Internet, and this allows them to modify and personalize the price of their offerings on the fly.
Allows for Real-Time Marketing
Conventional marketing techniques relied on historical data and statistical predictions to target the customers. With IoT, businesses can fine-tune and personalize their messages in real-time by obtaining a context from their customers. This can be in various forms, ranging from location data, purchase history, and even comments and posts on social media platforms.
Through the utilization of IoT, businesses are now equipped with automated tools that allow them to be proactive when dealing with service requirements from their customers, all without directly engaging with them. Businesses can now monitor the health of their customers’ devices in real-time, with hardware information being fed to a central tracking database; if a customer’s smartphone battery is starting to fail, a replacement service can be set up at a convenient time before they face an issue; if a car engine component is near the end of its life, a maintenance service can be automatically scheduled and notified to the customer.
These automated, self-service activities allow a business to maintain a personal relationship with their customers and lets them know that they are being cared for actively. This has paramount value in boosting customer satisfaction and brand loyalty, and creates the right business image in their mind.