July 25, 2017

How Will the Internet of Things Impact Marketing?

IBM’s IoT marketing director was recently asked how will the Internet of Things impact marketing. “It really comes down to the data that’s available to marketers,” said Neuman. “When you think about the sensors and what they are connected to, reaching out to where customers are and where they are making decisions, that’s really the nirvana for marketing!”

The IoT revolution is an “explosion of data” that is a significant opportunity for retailers, but also an extreme challenge. “How do you make sense of all of that?” asks Neuman. “That’s where technology really starts to play a role.”

Capturing Offline Shopper Data

We all know that online shopping behavior is tracked in order to increase sales, but what about the behavior of brick and mortar shoppers? The Global Director of Marketing for IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT), Scott Neuman, points out that gathering data about a shoppers activity in a physical retail store is just as important as it is when the customer is shopping online.

“Over the past decade we have seen many advances in online retailing ranging from dynamic pricing to predictive buyer behavior, all with the goal of providing better service and driving increased revenue,” notes Neuman. “All of this has been achieved through the creative use of data captured through the experience. But have in store experiences kept pace with the online experience? Is the in store data that is being captured falling into a black hole? Is the potential data being captured at all?”

Neuman suggests that just like how retailers track their online customers, knowing what products are viewed and in what order, physical stores could and should do the same in order to increase the bottom line. He says that by adding RFID tags on each item in the store, a retailer can track the movement of shoppers and know what order they put products into their carts.

Adjusting In-Store Marketing Based on In-Store Behavior

You can also know how long customers browsed in the vicinity of certain products. Neuman says that with this data retailers should ask, “What made them move on? Was there more you could have done with the display? Was the price point wrong?”

Using IoT data a retailer can “correlate the current flow of customers with check out receipts” in order to adjust in-store promotions with in-store data. “Much the same way online retails can track a customer’s digital journey of page views and their shopping cart at checkout,” said Neuman. “Then you can tease out where opportunities lie to not only increase sales, but increase customer satisfaction.”