The Internet of Things (IoT) — physical devices connected to the internet — are making our world smarter and more responsive while merging digital and mobile technology with innovative product design.
From cars and refrigerators to televisions, watches, and medical devices — these physical objects are connected to the internet, enabling them to communicate with computers, smartphones, and other linked devices.
According to tech analyst company, IDC, there will be 41.6 billion connected IoT devices by 2025, with the largest opportunity for connected “things” in the industrial and the automotive sector and strong adoption of smart home and wearable devices.
Smart, connected devices are transforming the lives of consumers, making them more dependent on technology, and changing the way they interact with brands.
Today, most consumers are hyperconnected, use multiple devices, with access to enormous amounts of data and information at their fingertips. Through these connected devices, consumers are connecting with brands through several channels, with higher expectations, sharing their opinions, and telling brands what they want.
Let’s look at five ways consumers interact with brands in the age of smart connected devices:
1. Telling Brands What They Want
Smartphones, voice technology, and connected devices have reduced communication barriers, and consumers are taking advantage as they freely express their opinions about brands, the products and services, and their needs and desires — whether through reviews and feedback, chat, apps, voice tech, social media, surveys, or email.
Today’s connected consumer expects instant gratification, not only in terms of increased mobile shopping, digital products, and streaming services, but also when connecting with brands. They expect one-to-one connectedness with brands, demanding answers and information immediately.
Because consumers are now “switched on” 24/7, they expect brands to be as well. 80% of consumers say that when a business responds to them immediately, it influences their loyalty to that brand.
Connected consumers are also the force behind innovation and growth. The views and opinions they share with brands drive better development of products and services designed to meet their needs.
2. Demanding Better Customer Experiences
Connected devices offer convenience and efficiency to consumers. They make life easier as device capabilities enable preference settings that are personalized to the lifestyle and needs of the consumer. It’s no wonder that the consumer who is constantly connected has certain expectations from brands and the experiences they provide across digital channels and at all touchpoints with the brand.
According to Salesforce, 80% of consumers say that the experience that brands provide is as important as its goods and services. With digital access, consumers are taking more control, seeking high-quality customer-centric experiences that meet their expectations. And they are willing to shop around to get them. They expect consistent experiences through all channels; they demand quick responses from brands, and they favor personalization.
3. Delivering Data and Insights
Increasingly wireless and mobile networks mean more connections — whether it is social media, IoT, or smartphones. This also means there are more data points from which consumers are sending vital information to brands.
Websites, apps, and connected devices like smart speakers, streaming devices, TV systems, security cameras, internet-connected switches, and voice assistants are collecting data in real-time related to consumer behavior and what they want and need. The data aggregated from multiple devices offer valuable consumer insights to brands that enable them to cater to the needs of the consumers.
This data is valuable and can set brands apart by enhancing consumer experiences, offering new products and services that meet consumer needs, and delivering value through personalized experiences, feedback, and advice.
Consumers are increasingly aware that brands want their data, and 63% of millennial consumers and 58% of GenX consumers are willing to share data with companies in exchange for personalized offers.
However, consumers are also becoming more wary and skeptical about data privacy concerns, with 86% demanding more transparency from brands.
4. Influencing Change
Connected technology has given rise to the empowered consumer who now accesses and researches product information on the go. This means that they have more choices and have high expectations from brands. They expect seamless digital experiences with access to product information, including connected payment options.
But today’s empowered consumers also have a high expectation of the brand’s social and ethical values. A recent survey revealed that 42% of consumers will walk away from a brand if there isn’t a match between the consumer and the brand regarding social and environmental issues.
Connected technology not only makes it possible for consumers to research brands that align with their values, but it also enables them to collectively influence social change in brands as they actively share their views with the brand and other consumers, influencers, fans, and followers.
5. Driving Higher Standards in Quality
Today consumer behavior is highly driven by brand and product reviews, thanks to the power of the internet. Connected consumers can quickly give feedback on products and services, which include blogs, photos, video demonstrations, and voice reviews.
The ability to share information not only enhances information quality but also creates a powerful network of peers that can either be brand loyal or bring down a brand’s reputation.
Research shows that 81% of people read reviews, and one in three people contribute to online forums or blog comments. The research also reveals that consumers trust their family, friends, and independent reviews over what brands have to say, highlighting the power of the connected consumer in driving higher standards of quality from a brand’s products and services.
Better Digital Marketing
With IoT, businesses have a better understanding of consumer behavior and expectations that help them make smarter decisions, whether it is product development, customized services, or taking digital marketing to the next level.
Just as IoT is changing consumer behavior, it is also transforming online marketing as savvy businesses adopt new strategies that target audiences more accurately, while offering more personalization and connecting with consumers in real-time.
If you want to discuss value-based digital marketing for your business or establish a product strategy that addresses customer needs, book a free consultation with us today.
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