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E-commerce, much like every product of technological evolution, has made headway at a mind-boggling pace. Here are some stats that will help you gain a better perspective on this industry: e-commerce sales stood at $1.86 trillion in 2016. Also, researchers believe that this figure will grow up to $4.48 trillion in two more years, i.e., by 2021. While multiple factors contribute and continue to drive this fast-paced growth, there is no one that not many people pay close attention to the Internet of Things.

IoT has quietly revolutionized the e-commerce market by facilitating significantly better logistics as well as an enhanced user experience. It isn't surprising though -- especially when you consider the fact that over 30 billion devices are set to become 'connected' by next year. A constantly growing network of such devices means IoT has helped e-commerce businesses to not only deliver better products and services but also achieve better outcomes with their marketing initiatives and enhance customer's overall experience among other things.

Here's a closer look at what IoT means for e-commerce and how it enables companies in this sector to achieve robust growth.
1. Better inventory management: Managing inventory is an understandably challenging task when there are multiple warehouses involved. IoT has tackled that issue with the provision of things such as 'smart' shelves, which track the products sold and automatically place orders when products, especially high-performing ones, are about to go out of stock. It, in turn, boosts the levels of customer satisfaction.

2. Transformed consumer experience: IoT allows companies to leverage devices such as smart mirrors to allow clients to try out their products from the comfort of their home, thus delivering completely novel and distinctive customer experience. IoT can also be used to glean insights from social media platforms to understand which of the company's products are preferred and if there are any issues customers face. Implementing such data facilitates a deep shopping experience, resulting in better customer engagement as well as satisfaction.

3. Enhanced product ecosystem: Sensors, a crucial part of the phenomenon that is IoT, can be utilized to foster new opportunities for better product ecosystems. Furthermore, it can be used to provide customers with access to maintenance services or perhaps even recommending related products and services once the sale has been made.

4. Seamless delivery: Bigwigs from a broad variety of industries, including Amazon, are already using IoT to streamline their delivery processes. How? For starters, there are autonomous warehouse robots, which can be integrated with the business' warehouse management systems and then used to enhance order picking throughput, improve the warehouse's inventory density, and cut down labor costs among other things. All of these factors, together, help ensure a substantially more organized delivery system.

While IoT has already changed the face of the e-commerce industry, in the future it will further enable companies to better their marketing efforts, deliver better support to customers, and more, resulting in superior experiences for customers. So if you too want to jump on this bandwagon, we suggest you select a trusted e-commerce websites development company at the earliest possible.

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With its growing prevalence, the Internet of Things is ushering in a new form of ecommerce – the Commerce of Things, where everyday objects are internet connected and capable of initiating a series of purchases on their own. This new way of buying and selling online is radically changing traditional ecommerce rules and creating a new set of challenges for companies. In this new world of commerce, the product sale is no longer just a transaction; it’s the beginning of an ongoing relationship between brands and customers. Successful online brands are focused on nurturing this relationship – and taking deliberate steps to turn transactional customers into loyal members. 

There is a subtle but critical difference between a repeat customer and a member. Understanding this difference is the key to succeeding in an environment that is swiftly becoming a hyper-connected network of consumers who value the access and amenities that come with membership.

How do you build these relationships?

1.)   Create lasting relationships to make members out of customers. Members share the experience and the story of the brand, rather than just execute a basic business transaction or product purchase. For years, Disney, where everything is a show and employees are cast members, has stood by the adage “Be Our Guest,” calling to their customers in a more intimate, personable way. Cable companies refer to their customers as “subscribers;” LinkedIn has always called users “members.”

To move customers from “transaction to membership” on a relationship continuum, companies must provide extra, incremental value that replaces pure monetary benefits with more intangible rewards of being, in Disney’s case, a guest.

2.)   Use data and metrics to strengthen relationships. Once a company starts to grow its base of members, a whole new set of metrics becomes the benchmark for evaluating the customer relationship.

Asking one simple question, “What is a subscriber’s actual usage?” can yield revelations regarding whether someone is a transactional customer or an invested member. For example, January is the peak season for signing new members at fitness centers around the country. Are those who sign up then really members? If they are not actually getting personal value out of their membership, then the relationship remains transactional and fleeting at best.

Good data is powerful. If the data shows customers are not acting like members, then a company can follow up to discern the true nature of the relationship and figure out how it can become more valuable to the customer. This creates a win for both the customer and the company. 

Delta Airlines’ SkyMiles program, for example, makes great use of data to cut through barriers that could otherwise prevent strong relationships from developing. When members call in, the automated phone system quickly recognizes callers based on their phone numbers, addresses them by name and asks about recent or upcoming trips.

Personalizing interactions, continually making improvements and utilizing customer insights are key in this new, Commerce of Things world. Taking these steps can help transform transactional customers into loyal members – and take an online business to the next level.

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