Now that internet connects not only people but also objects, manufacturers will need to make a major upgrade in retail customer experience. This evolution will have two major effects on retail business: it will change the way companies create, distribute and sell their products and also change the customer experience in-store and online.
Getting closer to customers
Connected objects as well as the data they provide will allow a true reconciliation between manufacturers and customers. Manufacturers will be able to better understand what customers like in terms of product usage and will be able to inform how they can replace their existing appliances for better or they can also integrate ERP with products to remotely monitor the customers’ inventory and generate auto-orders when the stock is about to finish, just like Nespresso has been doing for several years with its coffee makers and capsules. Requests for technical assistance can also be initiated directly by the device, even before the customer realizes that there is a problem. This eliminates some pain points, such as waiting around for technicians, and improves customer experience.
By bringing to market these really useful connected products that act like personal assistants, which customers will not want to do without, manufacturers will lay the foundation of a solid relationship with their customers and thus make the first step towards making customers loyal.
Ensuring customer loyalty and retention
Well, a connected product must be aesthetically impeccable and especially useful but that’s not enough! Efforts must be made to ensure that the customer remains satisfied with the product and service offered by the manufacturer and is not tempted to shift to his competitor. With connected objects, it has become easier to develop a long-term relationship with the customer by offering him that little extra which he will not find elsewhere. Customers like to be rewarded for their time, their purchases and their efforts. The Internet of Things presents a multitude of new ways to reward them. For instance, there can be promotional rewards in the form of coupons, discounts or special offers. Many companies that use location-based advertising encourage users to download their applications in exchange for a reward.
An excellent example of a location-based reward concept is Foursquare, a social networking site that allows users to indicate their location using geo-location technology and offers coupons to those who register via their phone and check-in some venues. Access to exclusive digital content, campaigns or special offers can also spark engagement in the real world.
“The best advertising ever is a satisfied customer." Bill Gates
A customer who is happy with the product and satisfied with the service he receives from the manufacturer, is the best spokesperson for business. And thanks to connected objects, it is now even easier to encourage him to recommend the manufacturer to his friends, family or colleagues. Just like Tripadvisor, that solicits travellers’ views on the hotels and restaurants that they had visited, connected objects’ manufacturers can integrate their product applications with this feature wherein users can to note their remarks and make recommendations to loved ones.
The advent of connected objects has thus created excellent opportunities to renew customer experience. It enables manufacturers to offer content and personalized services that can improve customer satisfaction and not only retain the existing customers but also attract new.