IoT & Retail?

What’s next in the world for the Internet of Things and Retail Industry?

 ‘Amazon will buy Whole Foods for $13.4 billion’ was the headline that dominated the retail industry. This headline made me think about the countless possibilities that lay ahead in the world of online retail business. The immediate implication of such a business partnership is that Amazon will now more than ever be a formidable competitor to Walmart and also this move gives Amazon an opportunity to increase its brick and mortar presence.

While these are some obvious outcomes, let’s now consider some other possibilities especially if we consider the Internet of Things (IoT). After all, we are talking Amazon.com the leading online retail store that has not ceased to amaze us from Amazon Prime 2-day shipping through the ‘dash button,’ there is no end to how Amazon is making it easier for its consumer to make a purchase.

What is IoT?

Before I went further into this article, I wanted to describe IoT. Here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia.com 

The Internet of things (IoT) is the inter-networking of physical devices, vehicles (smart devices), buildings, and other items embedded with electronics, software, sensors, actuators, and network connectivity which enable these objects to collect and exchange data….Typically, IoT is expected to offer advanced connectivity of devices, systems, and services that goes beyond machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and covers a variety of protocols, domains, and applications.

IoT:  When machines or assets have the intelligence to communicate with each other

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IoT-based businesses are pretty popular in the startup world. If you would like to find out which 10 IoT companies to be aware of… you can visit this Network World website. Here is a breakdown of where the IoT investments are going. This list has been compiled by Venture Scanner for the mentioned Network World article.

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Samsung’s Ticket to the Moon

While speaking of the IoT, the best current day example (that is not related to Amazon) I can think of is Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigeration Products. Samsung’s Ticket to the Moon ad was a great illustration of IoT. This ad explores a little girl's imagination of space exploration. After discovering she is out of rocketsicles, the Family Hub refrigerator becomes the means of communication to her father’s mobile device, in order to refill her supply (MPC Advertising).

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Amazon Dash Button was no April Fool’s Joke

The best implementation of IoT technology can be seen in Amazon Dash button. It is a thumb-size device that lets customer reorder everyday items like paper towels, laundry detergent, and toilet paper by merely clicking a button. Due to its release date (March 31, 2015), the initial public reaction was that Amazon was playing a prank on April Fool’s Day. However, almost 3 years later, Amazon Dash’s success is no joke! To find out more about how Amazon Dash is doing, read this Fortune.com article.

What is Amazon Dash Button & How does it work? Find out here.

Amazon + Whole Foods = ?

Now, going back to the transaction of the week, Amazon buying Whole Foods; what’s next? I think the possibilities are endless. Perhaps ingredients and recipe delivery services like Blue Apron will be added to the many possible add-ons by Amazon. Blue Apron is preparing for IPO, however, Amazon could prove to be a formidable competitor.  The sky is the limit in the world of internet of things and I can only express a ‘child-like’ wonder in my eyes (refer to the little girl in ticket to the moon) while imagining the possibilities of the IoT that Amazon will bring to consumers now that they have online and brick and mortar presence.

Rinki Mukherjee


Rinki Mukherjee

I am a marketing professional with more than 10 years’ experience. I currently work as a Design QC Specialist contractor with Chevron Creative Studio. I have worked in industries such as non-profit, healthcare, oil and gas, real estate, technology, education and consumer goods.

I recently earned my MBA from the University of Houston, BAUER School of Business with a focus in Marketing Analysis. Prior to that, I earned an Associates in Graphic Design from the Art Institute of Houston and Masters in English Literature from Gujarat University, Ahmedabad, India.

I was born and raised in India but now consider Houston my home. I am Membership Officer with Prospanica-Houston chapter and Director of Special Events-Marketing with American Marketing Association-Houston chapter.

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