IoT or Internet of Things: revolution or fiasco?

  • It is worth putting into perspective what happened with the IoT or Internet of Things. It looked like it was going to be an unprecedented revolution, but... did it turn out to be a fiasco?

  • As with almost anything else, opinions are divided on the subject of Internet of Things.

    It is indisputable that in the average home there are more and more products connected to the network. We are talking about virtual assistants embedded in speakers, Smart TVs, home automation devices, kitchen robots, vacuum cleaners with their own algorithms...

    Although this goes beyond the home, because we also wear clothes and accessories (the famous wearables) or vehicles, which already incorporate their own connection. 

    But is it really "that big a deal"? That is what we will try to analyze.
  • IoT: is the Internet of Things really a revolution?

  • In reality, it will depend on what we mean by revolution.

    It is true that it has to some extent transformed the way we use the Internet. In fact, users are becoming less and less dependent on a single device to surf the net.

    But what we intend to analyze in this post is whether this connected reality is being reflected in e-commerce or, at least, is generating an interesting volume of business.

    It is important to make a distinction if we want to have a panoramic view. They are two different aspects that have not developed in parallel.
  • IoT in eCommerce

  • Some were very happy and saw great potential in the possibility of using these connected products to sell directly. In this respect, we can say that the development is not going at the desired pace.

    The use of smart speakers and other microphone devices is growing asymmetrically. On the one hand, there is voice search, which has been widely adopted by users for screen-free queries.

    But this has not resulted in established voice commerce. The possibilities are huge, but it seems that those who are supposed to do it have not yet managed to find the key to turn this into a truly efficient sales channel.
  • Aside from voice, you may remember other initiatives related to IoT commerce.

    One of the most famous was the Dash Buttons, small devices linked to a single product with which Amazon tried to bring home automation to supplies (without much success).

    We will always wonder whether it was a real bet that failed because the market was not mature enough or, on the contrary, the idea was to obtain consumption patterns and customer behavior.
  • IoT as a product (and service)

  • This is something else: we can speak of an undisputed success. Users are fascinated by smart products.

    They seem to have discovered in them a simpler way of doing things and, especially the most technological segment of the population, has no problem paying more for the connected version of conventional products.

    In fact, we can see the billions of dollars it has moved since 2017 and what is the projection in the years to come until 2025.

    Actually, there are different eCommerce niches related to IoT. It is an attribute that modifies categories and segments in a very relevant way.

    We are talking about, for example, robotic vacuum cleaners. This market has grown exponentially in recent years and meets all the precepts to be considered a niche (specialization, uniqueness and non-generalist competition).
  • Although, if you have noticed in the title of the heading, you will have seen that we were talking about services. One of the characteristics of many of these products that use the Internet of Things is that they generate their own commercial ecosystem.

    Let me give you another example to explain myself better. Imagine a food processor that has a series of premium recipes or a smart watch with its own app store. In this case, there is a business opportunity related to “intangible" digital goods or infoproducts.

    It can even be used to get registrations for email marketing campaigns to sell products based on that device and its behavior and user habits.
  • IoT product issues

  • We already know that there is no perfect product, and those based on the Internet of Things are not exactly an exception. Before jumping into this niche, you should bear in mind that it can give you some problems due to its peculiarities:

    • They need users to be technologically advanced, which is a brake in many cases.
    • You have to have a very specialized customer service that knows the product in detail.
    • Obsolescence (programmed or not): You can call it whatever you want, but it is true that, the more a product becomes technologically advanced, the more prone it is to failures that the customer cannot repair. Even if it does not give failures as such, it can become obsolete and not work with new versions of the software that moves them.

    This is something you have to take into account when deciding to enter a market like this.
  • For you, is the Internet of Things a revolution or do you see it more as a fiasco that has failed to take off?

  • Images | Unsplash, Statista.

Laia Ordoñez

Laia Ordóñez is a copywriting & eCommerce content marketing expert. She is Content & Marketing Manager at DueHome, a copywriting & content independent advisor, and Oleoshop's blog's editor-in-chief.

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