IoTCommerceIn e-commerce, it is all about the end customer and his/her needs, while in the Industry 4.0 the focus is on intelligent machines. With industrial IoT commerce, new commercial perspectives and opportunities are now emerging.

Social and physical distancing, as currently triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, inevitably accelerates the digitization of procurement processes - be it in B2C or B2B.

Foray into commerce trends

Shopping on the internet - no matter where or what time - has changed the global retail landscape. While digitalization in the industry has been able to increase productivity and efficiency, factors such as convenience, availability and transparency are increasingly motivating and encouraging customers to buy online. The fact is, that e-commerce retailers are collecting more and more data to identify customer needs and to communicate better with customers. By providing tailored offers they encourage customers to spend more. Algorithms provide them with insights that allows them to create inspiring customer experiences that seduce to buy.

The commerce trends that are currently intensively discussed are pointing into the direction of customer centricity, the use of data, and technological innovations that largely exclude people as procurers.

The changing customer behavior can be clearly witnessed in digital commerce. With new organizational and technological strategies, brands and retailers can grow their digital business in a time where customer journeys are increasingly fragmented and new touchpoints are emerging. In this context, the so-called “headless” commerce solutions, in which the customer-facing frontend is decoupled from the backend layer, are becoming a very interesting option. Headless commerce, for example, promises to reach customers everywhere: the web shop’s buy button is always where the customer is.

IoT commerce in the industry

While the term headless commerce stands for the buy button presence of the individual customer journey, the commerce experts herald the future of digital commerce with the terms Commerce 4.0 and cognitive commerce with big data and artificial intelligence. Their goal is to meet customer needs foresighted based on customer and behavioral data. This direction of impact is not only interesting because of the immensely increasing number of smart devices in the consumer area. In the industry, the number of IoT-capable devices and applications is rising to a new level as well. According to a study by Gartner, the number of networked machines and systems will grow to around 25 billion worldwide by 2021.

IoT Commerce is driven by this digital networking of machines and is the result of fully automated, intelligent digital procurement. Because sensors are already making it possible for machines to talk to one another and transmit their status and production information for analysis and evaluation. Downtimes can be anticipated, maintenance optimized, and costs saved, the supply chain becomes transparent and the quality of products can be checked - in real time - even beyond the gates of the factories. Smart services allow to make predictions about the machine condition in a production facility and to trigger necessary maintenance measures. These measures can be, for example, the automated calling of a service technician or the automated ordering of spare parts. After electronic product catalogs, B2B web shops or B2B portals, IoT-supported commerce platforms could play an important role in the future.

By Roger Stadler