WomanCellphoneCompanies worldwide are narrowing their focus on the Internet of Things (IoT) – not because of the hype, but because it’s driving phenomenal growth opportunities. The world of products is becoming a whole new universe of services thanks to wireless sensors and connectivity. IoT is reframing the way we do business, and is increasingly changing how consumers behave and what they expect. Think connected cars, home automation, and proximity marketing. It’s not about “things”; IoT is about the always-on, connected-everything-everywhere customer experience.

For businesses, that’s a tall order. Yet even with some daunting challenges, IoT opens up unprecedented opportunities to continuously engage customers in real-time and build value throughout their lifetime with your products. Connected devices and services give companies instant visibility into usage, enabling them to identify and resolve issues quickly, capture data to drive improvements, and grow revenue by offering related services and compelling purchase experiences in the moment.

4 Ways the Internet of Things is Transforming Customer Experience

  1. Highly relevant offers at the right time
    While predictive analytics can boost the effectiveness of targeted marketing, IoT takes it to a new level. With connected products and services, you can track usage as it happens, understanding how, when, and where customers use your products, increasing your ability to map offers directly to a customer’s needs or interests at a specific time. A good example is connected cars, where marketers are tracking driver patterns and buying behavior to influence purchase decisions with offers delivered in context, such as when customers drive to the grocery store, work, or an event.
  2. More satisfying in-store experiences
    IoT connectivity is helping retailers make it easier for customers to get what they want –and increasing profitability as a result. Businesses can collect and analyze data on product performance and buying trends, but also retool their stores to drive revenue. For instance, using in-store Bluetooth beacons, retailers can obtain visual heat maps revealing consumers’ movement around a store based on their phones’ WiFi being activated. These movement patterns help the business identify high traffic areas as the best spots to place popular products.
  3. Rapid and seamless issue resolution
    Connected services open up a two-way conversation between customers and the business, providing new and faster ways to resolve and prevent issues. With ongoing real-time visibility into device behavior, companies can monitor performance, and identify and fix problems as they occur, sometimes before the customer even notices. The wireless connectivity also makes it easier to update products and software quickly and cost-effectively. As an example, Tesla Motors used a 3G cellular network to make “over the air” updates to their vehicles to comply with a recall issued by the National Highway Safety Administration. The immediate remote update reduced costs and quickly appeased customers and regulators.
  4. More compelling choices to propel customer loyalty
    As IoT evolves with endless possibilities, consumer expectations and demands will evolve along with it. That means the real winners in connected products and services will be those companies whose technology solves more problems and meets more needs. Consider home automation or “smart homes,” projected to be a $150 billion market by 2020. Customers can remotely control lighting, heat, security –but they already want more power, and that means choices, such as using energy when it’s cheaper or having smart products recognize the ideal time to switch on. More importantly, consumers want the choices that come with having all their cool connected gadgets work together seamlessly. It will no longer be about their home – it’s their IoT lifestyle.

This article is the second in a four-part IoT series on our blog.

Also follow @beyondthearc on Twitter for 100 days of tweets on how IoT is revolutionizing our future. #Iot100

Bottom line: The Internet of Things is transforming relationships between consumers and companies, rapidly evolving our ideas of what’s possible. As connected products and services accelerate and enrich data-driven insights for businesses, customers will not only reap the benefits but play a bigger role in how businesses evolve. In that sense, we can expect IoT to be the ultimate win-win situation.

Read more in our IoT series:
Pt 1: Five things you need to know about the Internet of Things
Pt 3: Banking and IOT – The Internet of Things will redefine financial services
Pt 4: How the Internet of Things will change the future of marketing