How Automated SMS Messages and IoT are Reimagining Businesses
The rapidly accelerating road along the ol’ Internet Superhighway has led us to the Internet of Things (IoT).
The IoT represents one of the fastest-growing channels going — composed of physical devices that “talk” to each other: from simple sensors to smartphones and wearables and yes, even Alexa. Boost their power with SMS and these robust technologies can transform the way we do business — from retailers to automotive, finance, healthcare, hospitality, fitness, and virtually every industry imaginable.
Connected We Stand, Unconnected We Falter
SMS and IoT are all about connectivity. And the more connected we are, the less un-connected we wish to be. The question isn’t whether to adapt new technologies. Research and experience has shown businesses cannot afford not to. The question is only how long can anyone wait? In a recent report advising businesses about how to proceed in our new COVID-era normal, global management firm McKinsey & Company concluded that the “ability to absorb a shock, and to come out of it better than the competition — will be the key to survival and long-term prosperity.”
Promote Accountability & Trackability in Shipping
As a society we’ve become accustomed to immediate satisfaction from businesses we frequent — or at least receiving immediate answers. Text message marketing quickly responds to these needs and expectations by offering intelligent, robust features like 1-on-1 Chat and the automation of urgent notifications sent to large subscriber bases with the simple, efficient click of a button.
For businesses centered around the retail industry — whether that is clothing, bath salts, or food delivery services — the need for speed shifts its focus to shipping and logistics. While texting can’t alter how fast shipments actually arrive, it can (and does) keep customers updated on their progress. IoT can aid in this process by tracking and monitoring packages throughout the supply chain. Systems have the power to report a wealth of data like location, temperature, humidity, quality control, delivery time, and more. This is important not just to customers on the lookout for important packages — but also service industries like healthcare who may rely on timely shipments of medical supplies. Or even auto dealerships, who can more easily track the arrival of car shipments and then trigger a text to a customer who may have their heart set on finding a specific color of the car they’re interested in. As Manish Choudhary, SVP of Global SMB Products & Strategy and Chairman, India for Pitney Bowes notes, “Consumer demand and the march of the eCommerce giants are just two of the reasons for a relatively-early adoption of IoT in shipping. As parcel volume surges, organizations manage this with innovative technologies.”
Contactless Payments Boost Safety & Efficiency
“Look Ma, No Hands” has almost become the rallying cry for #2020goals. Since COVID entered our national consciousness, everyone has become more attentive to germs and the way we spread them — from dutifully singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice while washing hands to devising creative ways to accomplish tasks sans contact. It’s all like a not-so-fun game of Twister as we twist ourselves into pretzels to avoid touching anything at all costs. Instead, consumers are favoring contactless methods of payment more than ever before. Why get concerned with the idea of touching a dollar bill (who knows where it’s been?) when there are apps and devices specifically engineered to accomplish this feat. IoP (Internet of Payments) is an offset of IoT that is ramping up with faves like Apple Pay and Fitbit Pay. Of course, purchasing via text is as easy as grabbing one’s phone. With 92% of Americans owning a mobile device — a number that increases by up to 98% when you narrow the field to 18-29 year olds — texting is always in reach. No extra batteries (or extra apps) required. And with 2 Factor Authorization (2FA) security, customers can always feel secure using their mobile phones to transmit funds.
The Future is Already Here
For an article in Forbes, Daniel Newman references an unnamed expert in SAP’s IoT report, who “gave the example of a coffee shop texting a customer, ‘Shall we have your usual waiting for you?’ as soon as they step off a nearby train.” He adds that these technologies “can keep you connected to your customers 24/7, be it via mobile coupons, text alerts, or invitations and incentives specifically sent when a customer is near your location. Even better, you can personalize these notifications with their favorite dish or product, based on their IoT-connected ordering history… Mind-blowing, right?” Bobby J. Davidson, President of Percento Technologies International, agrees — imagining an “ability of shoppers to sign up for text messages that offer special deals on products as they move around stores, and in-store advertising that uses facial recognition and can provide personal insights.” You can take advantage of these opportunities by synergizing the power of SMS and IoT to build new marketing and sales funnel strategies.