Internet of Things (IoT) is widely considered as the next big revolution in technology. But right now, most of the marketing applications of IoT are geared towards large businesses and enterprises. Can it be useful for local small businesses? We think so, but time will tell.
Handling support/maintenance calls more efficiently
Typically, almost all small businesses rely on phone calls to connect with their customers. When someone needs a plumber for example, they call their plumber. There are some major issues with this approach – most of the maintenance calls happen when the damage has been done, and is beyond simple repairs; many times, the maintenance company may not have any appointment available to help the customer, in which case the customer needs to search another company through some reliable referral source; it may take days, sometimes weeks, to get repairs done. IoT sensors can eliminate all of that – sensors can alert the customer before it's too late, even keep the maintenance company informed, reduce the time it takes to rectify the issues, save heavy repair costs, streamline customer service for the local maintenance company.
Replacing static in-store display Ads with (dynamic) relevant Ads
Proximity sensors deployed at various locations in the store can help measure consumer interests and help in picking the right advertising message in-store. This can be extremely beneficial for retail stores where providing relevant in the moment messaging can tremendously boost sales. Such IoT sensors based advertising can be extremely efficient and cost effective specially if Ads are needed to be served at multiple store locations.
Making smart phones even smarter and useful
Beacons, when tied intelligently with smart phone apps, can provide in the moment relevant information to in-store consumers, and help them make buying decisions faster. Store owners can continue engaging with the customers even after they have walked out of the store and provide a seamless in-store to web checkout experience. Beacons have tremendous potential in making customer experience seamless, however they can't do this alone; they must be tied with apps consumers would want to use in-store, and continue using when they walk out of the store. Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram providing beacons based connectors seems far-fetched right now, but when available, it can greatly benefit local small retailers, who often must compete against large online retailers who have substantial pricing advantages.