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Case Details:
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The Internet of Things (IoT): Shaping the Future of E-commerce  
Product Ref: 15/561C Company: Alibaba

Product Type: Case Industry: Internet Retail
Internet Software and Services
Retail & Wholesale

Related Product(s): Teaching Note
Authors: Benjamin Yen   Yihong Yao
Besides computers, tablets and mobile phones, what other items in your home could be connected to the internet? The answer might be far more than you imagine: refrigerators, cupboards, coffee machines, washers and many other household appliances. In March 2015, Amazon, the global e-commerce giant, unveiled to its selected Prime members a wi-fi connected Amazon Dash Button that could be attached to home appliances and allowed consumers to make online orders automatically simply with the push of a button. This innovation eliminated regular e-commerce shopping steps and made speedy and convenient online shopping possible. In July 2015, Amazon brought this Dash Button to all its Prime members for US$4.99 each, accelerating the implementation and adoption of the Internet of Things (¡§IoT¡¨) in the e-commerce sector.

The IoT was defined as a worldwide information infrastructure in which physical and virtual objects were uniquely identified and connected over the internet. These inter-connected devices generated and communicated big data dynamically, enhanced operational efficiency and created new business opportunities for various industries. The e-commerce sector was no exception to the booming IoT development trend. The IoT would expand the scope and depth of e-commerce by linking people, smart devices and objects that were offline in the current e-commerce business model, generating unprecedented big data on product performance and on customer behavior and experience, involving more communication and action, and ultimately shaping the future of e-commerce.

How would the IoT change current e-commerce models? What business transformations could companies undergo to integrate the IoT with existing e-commerce platforms and create new business models and competitive advantages?
Functional Area : Management of Information Systems
Production & Operations Management
Strategy & General Management

Issues: 1. To summarize how the IoT will change the current e-commerce model. 2. To discuss the advantages, disadvantages and limitations of adopting the IoT in e-commerce. 3. To explore factors that affect the widespread and in-depth adoption of the IoT in e-commerce. 4. To discuss what business transformation companies could undergo to integrate the IoT with existing e-commerce systems and create new business models and competitive advantage.
Length: 15 pages Country: China (People's Rep. of)

Pub. Year: 2015 Level of Difficulty: 3
This product type is available in the following language(s):      English
Related Information: N/A
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