Illustration: © IoT For All

Online commerce is now the primary way of selling and buying products. In the middle of social distancing, the number of online shoppers is growing. Many companies are forced to look for new ways of achieving their strategic goals.

What Does the Future Hold for the e-Commerce Industry?

The role of technology in the e-commerce industry should not be underestimated. Pervasive implementation of the Internet of Things is predicted to become the future.

The concept of IoT has been in the headlines for quite some time now. It is expected to penetrate every industry. That’s why IoT often becomes a part of IT outsourcing, with more companies exploring its superpowers.

Let’s find out how IoT will change the e-commerce industry soon.

Inventory Management

Inventory management is one of the most challenging tasks for any e-commerce business. Staying up to date with the product stock is vital for running a successful online store. IoT has already been revolutionizing inventory management for some time.

Examples are many and include the use of IoT sensors and tags based on radio frequency identification (RFID).

Smart shelves with RFID sensors automatically track product stock. Based on the received data, they can make reorders without human interaction. Such solutions reduce human errors and help to keep the temperature and other conditions at warehouses in check.

As for online shoppers, they can see up-to-date information about product availability.  

Supply Chain Tracking

Violation of transportation rules for time-sensitive goods leads to spoilage and financial loss. IoT sensors and RFID tags allow keeping a close eye on the conditions during product transportation. As a result, such IoT trackers can calculate the time of product arrival to their warehouses and avoid spoilage.

Parcelapp is a great example of such a solution for end-users. With its help, customers can track their shipments and calculate the time of arrival. Such systems can also send automatic updates and reminders about the date and time of delivery.

Warehouse Maintenance

There is no guarantee that some of the equipment used in warehouses won’t fail at any moment. Thus, companies hire dedicated specialists who track the state of the equipment and organize timely repairs.

In such operations, many companies rely on IoT to monitor the state of equipment and schedule maintenance. This way, automated solutions ensure the highest capacity of warehouses.

Self-Driving Cars

Over the last few years, companies have made a huge advancement in the industry of self-driving cars for delivery.

Such giants like Google, Tesla Motors, Nissan and others are working hard to translate such a concept to our reality. Norwegian postal service Posten Norge has already shared its plan to start using such cars shortly. The main goal of such cars is to enable driverless delivery or products, allowing companies to save money on paying drivers.

Drone delivery

This is not a new concept in IoT e-commerce. Still, it is one of the most promising ideas. Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles used to deliver packages, food, and other products from sellers to customers.

Amazon introduced its drone delivery system back in 2016. Prime Air is designed to provide same-day delivery of products to customers. In the future, more and more companies will introduce drone delivery into their daily operations.

Dash Buttons

The concept of a dash button is impressive. Amazon invented this type of small device for domestic use. These small tools are used to reorder the most consumed goods. By pushing a single button, customers can inform the company that they are short on some products. 

Dash buttons help e-commerce companies establish their presence in customers’ homes. There is no need to visit an online store and place an order. The company receives a notification and send replenishment automatically.

Smart Homes

Even though smart homes do not directly relate to e-commerce, they will become an integral part of it.

IoT for smart homes heavily relies on voice assistance. These can be used to streamline the process of online shopping. Alexa Voice Shopping by Amazon is a great example of such a solution. 

Customers no longer need to spend hours surfing the internet in search of the needed products. Instead, they can shout what they need to their voice assistant and receive their order within days.

What the Future Holds for IoT in E-commerce

We have witnessed a lot of bright examples of IoT implementation in e-commerce. Many companies invest in IoT because of the promised benefits, like:

  • reduced cost for manual work
  • automated warehousing environments
  • same-day driverless and aerial delivery of products
  • higher security of operations
  • excellent shopping experience

Many companies are focused on pursuing e-commerce that is fully operated by machines with little human oversight. The real revolution has yet to happen.