Global IOT market grows – can you afford to get left behind?

shoppers looking at digital signage in a smart store

Across the world, investment in Internet of Things (IOT) technology will increase by more than 16% annually during the next 10 years – topping out at more than $60 billion. But what does this spending surge mean for those organisations yet to embrace the power of IOT?

When it comes to IOT and the business environment, we’ve seen a shift in attitudes over the past couple of years. No longer are smart devices considered a technology of the future; more and more retailers are already using IOT solutions to get closer to their customers.

And these companies span many sectors. We’re already working with organisations in the automotive industry- in hospitality, - in travel, in fashion and in health and beauty. Here are just some of the reasons these forward-thinking brands are seeing (and investing in) the value of IOT engagement opportunities today:

1. Customers want digitally-driven, contextual experiences 

As the omnichannel world matures, one of the biggest challenges companies still face is how to make bricks-and-mortar encounters relevant to how customers are interacting in the digital space.

IOT’s development presents the opportunity to build truly contextually-relevant encounters. It is no longer the case of simply installing a self-service kiosk or digital advertising screen; organisations need to look at how their front-end technology can work holistically to bring the best of their online and offline channels together around the customer.

2. IOT enables companies to get closer to customers in the physical environment

Not only is IOT growth giving companies the power to connect more smart devices; it is providing more opportunities to collect data on customer behaviour, and to use that data to power personalised experiences.

No longer is the customer treated as a friend online but a stranger in the bricks-and-mortar world. By creating smart spaces, businesses can bring customer knowledge and technology together to create tailored journeys, which add value, and support increased spend and loyalty.

3. Data is only valuable when it’s converted into insight 

Although we’ve spoken about how data can power more personal customer relationships, there are still many businesses out there yet to fully convert the information they are generating into useful insights.

As the number of IOT solutions on the market increases, it’s important that companies consider how the data they generate will be used to support better customer experiences. To really add value, IOT technology must enable tailored interactions and better decision-making.

4. Smart devices support better staff performance 

On the subject of decision-making, IOT investment is not just a powerful way to get closer to customers – it can also enhance workforce productivity.

Many companies are already experimenting with staff tablets or BYOD solutions to bring real-time data to front-line employees, yet IOT will continue to innovate the relationship between workers and technology over the next few years.

By the time IOT investment hits $60 billion, staff will be getting automatic alerts pushed to their smartwatches when a customer  lingers in a certain aisle for more than two minutes, or pinged an alert direct from the changing room when a shopper wants an item in a different size. They will also be fed advice on when to carry out operational tasks such as restocking, based on when customer footfall is quiet.

5. A central solution makes everything simpler 

One of the biggest challenges facing both companies developing their IOT strategy, and those who are yet to invest, is how to manage the growing number of smart devices their business deploys. It’s very easy for multiple solutions to become disconnected, or to work in an unintegrated manner, which will ultimately fail to deliver a cohesive customer experience.

To truly leverage the value of IOT, businesses need to invest in a central solution that can manage all smart devices on a single platform. This will make it easier to bring together essential data for better decision-making, enable key users to control technology in a co-ordinated fashion, and ensure that every piece of software or solution is driving towards the same goal: building lasting, profitable customer relationships.

For support with your IOT journey, find out how the Grassfish Xperience Hub can help your business build smart interactions around your customers’ behaviour.

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