As IoT technology advances, it becomes more and more capable of reshaping just about every facet of life in a hundred ways, small and large. There’s one application of IoT that many people aren’t yet thinking enough about, though, and that’s customer relationships.
What IoT can do is provide information, of a detail and depth no technology has previously been able to offer. With IoT, you can trace the entirety of a customer’s journey through a physical storefront—something that before was only possible online.
You have everything at your fingertips: when a customer enters, what paths they take through the store, what products they look at and for how long, how long they spend in the store in total, and of course, what and how much they buy. All of this information can then be further segmented and analyzed through the lens of gender, age, and more.
From there, you can start fleshing out the picture of your average customer (as well as your most valuable customers, which are always a critical group to consider). Do people like to linger in your store and browse? Or do they prefer to shop quickly and efficiently? Are your customers typically new faces or regulars? How much do they typically spend, and when do they spend it? This opens up an entirely new world of truly understanding your customers—and in understanding, therefore, what they most value in a shopping experience.
Once you know what consumers want, you can work on delivering. If your customers are fast shoppers, make sure the store is set up to make their journey through the store a quick one. If they’re repeat customers that prefer to take their time, have floor staff welcome them back and interact with them.
Of course, there are limits to how closely people will tolerate being monitored. There’s a tradeoff to be had between privacy and convenience, and it’s important to gauge where on that line your customers fall. As IoT and big data continue to permeate everyday life, people are becoming more willing to give information in exchange for all the ways it can benefit them, such as in apps that can use your location to map faster routes, or that memorize what products you like so as to make related recommendations.
Still, it’s important to know just how much information your customers are willing to give. Take too much and you risk alienating them; too little, and you may increasingly struggle to meet their expectations. Gather your data carefully and well, though, and you’ll be able to forge deeper relationships with your customer base than ever before.