Last updated: The Internet of Things will make shopping seamless part of daily life

The Internet of Things will make shopping seamless part of daily life


Listen to article

Download audio as MP3

Google’s purchase of Nest, together with numerous other acquisitions over the past few months, have some speculating that the Internet of Things (IoT) might be pervasive sooner than we once thought.

I would make the argument that the connected world is already upon us. Mobile phones have been interacting with QR and bar codes, allowing consumers to research and purchase products, for years. Some packages are now shipped with GPS tracking chips that provide minute-by-minute location information. A Dutch start-up has been using sensors on cattle to communicate digitally with the farmer when a cow is sick or pregnant. And these are only a few examples of the many ways IoT is already infused into our day-to-day lives (especially if you’re a Dutch farmer).

However, IoT and even the slow creep of connectivity over the last five years makes some people nervous. It’s worth pointing out that at any given time, most Americans (more than 60 percent according to a recent Pew survey) already carry with them a mobile computing device of some kind, in the form of a laptop, smartphone or tablet. By the end of 2013, 6 percent of the world’s population owned a tablet. By 2018, it’s expected that 36 million people will wear a smart watch.

Acknowledging and embracing the inherent connectivity associated with billions of people walking around with the internet literally in their pockets not only makes futuristic commerce scenarios associated with IoT more palatable, it also makes them more possible in the short-term.

For instance, communication between items — such as a blouse in a retail store and a smartphone in a customer’s purse – will only need to span the distance between that blouse and the shopper’s phone. Rather than trying to get every item in the store directly connected to the internet, the smartphones themselves can act as conduits to the web.

The technology can even live on after the initial sale. Perhaps you snap a picture of that blouse on a passerby. The information communicated from the shirt to your phone then leads you to the retailer online.

Or imagine you’re at home and you go to your Nest thermostat, powered by Google, which, after learning your habits, suggests you could save a lot of money by turning down the thermostat one degree at night. It then suggests you consider adding an extra blanket to your bed and summons up some cost-effective options for you to review on your phone and purchase – which is as easy as one click with online wallets.

Bottom line, the convenience of a connected world will breed the convenience of buying solutions to various life obstacles as they occur. All retailers should be prepared for a very near future that will be saturated with “shoppable” moments.

A diverse, exhaustive approach to selling will be critical for success.

Every digital moment matters.
Are you making the most of them?

1,000 business leaders dish on how to stand out from the crowd with a great CX. Get the details HERE. 

Share this article


Search by Topic beginning with