The Internet of Things (IoT) is well on its way to reaching an estimated 50 billion connected devices by 2020 – and changing life as we know it in the process.
Today, you can change the settings on your home thermostat or check in on the dog via a live video feed from your office. You can track your daily step counts and share the data with your friends as part of a friendly competition. Your TV can automatically update firmware for better picture quality, and your car is just a software download away from autonomous driving.
Leading consumer products companies are finding new and innovative ways the IoT can help make life easier for consumers. For example, I mentioned Amazon’s Dash button in my most recent blog post. Dozens of CP companies are already using this simple and affordable connected device with their products to deliver an in-the-moment customer experience in people’s homes via the IoT, allowing them to reorder products with the push of a button.
Now imagine the consumer doesn’t even need a button to reorder those products. Instead, a connected device automatically does it for them.
This is exactly what Amazon is doing with its Dash Replenishment Service (DRS). Makers of connected devices can utilize the service to alert consumers or even automatically process orders on the consumers’ behalf through Amazon when supplies are identified to be running low.
Amazon is already touting the appliance brands that are incorporating DRS into their connected products. Whirlpool and GE laundry machines will anticipate and reorder laundry supplies. Samsung printers will automatically order toners. And Brita water pitchers will measure how much water passes through their filters and order new ones when needed.
This is just one example of how CP companies can leverage the Internet of Things to provide entirely new levels of convenience for connected consumers living in connected homes.
Services like DRS have the opportunity to completely reimagine how consumers buy a wide range of household items, from coffee and cat food to printer cartridges and pool supplies. Instead of making these items part of their regular shopping routines, consumers will increasingly sign up to receive them on an as-needed basis – today’s shoppers will be tomorrow’s subscribers.
For CP companies, the implications are fascinating. First, given the level of built-in convenience available through services like these, it is likely emphasis will shift from building brand loyalty to enabling consumer experience. For example, calibrating replenishment with consumer-specific consumption, tailored to deliver uninterrupted service even in the face of changes in consumer consumption patterns.
While this may sound daunting, there are significant benefits to be gained. For example, CP companies will have demand visibility beyond the shelf into the home and, in some cases, down to individual consumers themselves. This will enable companies to improve demand forecasting down to the micro-region level, provide personalized recommendations based on consumption patterns and improve collaboration with retail and partner channels to help satisfy on-time replenishment demands.
With the IoT at their fingertips, consumers increasingly expect a simple and seamless commerce experience. Is your company prepared to deliver it?
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