In today’s competitive business landscape, technology is the driving force behind innovation. It impacts virtually every aspect of a company’s operations, including its ability to enhance the customer experience (CX). That is why many businesses are on a digital transformation journey to stay relevant and keep up with the ever-changing marketplace.

The consistent winners of the digital race are often not the early adopters of new technology but the ones who are diligent in integrating digital into the organisational strategy to achieve future goals. A new wave of digital transformation is poised to disrupt businesses, especially in the e-commerce sector. It’s opening new channels and giving online businesses newfound ways to interact with customers.

Now, let us look at the technologies that enable frictionless customer experiences.

Big Data

Leveraging data is key to designing and delivering superior customer experiences. Across industries, big data has proven to be a powerful tool when it comes to informing brands about their target audiences. Gartner predicts that by 2019, more than 50% of organisations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. By analysing this data in real time, companies can efficiently keep up with customer demands.

For example, leading coffeehouse company, Starbucks uses big data to determine the potential success of every new location prior to expanding their operations. With location-based data, traffic data, demographic data and customer data, they’re able to estimate the general success growth, thus decreasing the financial risk of each new store.

Virtual Reality (VR)

The popularity of VR technology is increasingly changing the way brands engage with their customers. At Walmart’s training academy, employees use VR headsets to experience a variety of real-world scenarios – e.g. large crowds. This gives them a chance to test theories and techniques that help handle such situations efficiently. IKEA released a free iOS app titled IKEA Place, which allows users to browse IKEA’s product offerings and then preview how items look in their actual home, right from their phone. This gives customers a great idea of how furniture will look and fit into their space before they make a purchase.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Intelligent, AI-driven algorithms can help personalise a consumer’s shopping experience by analysing their past buying behaviours. E-commerce business owners can now get smart predictions of market trends through multiple channels, such as consumer data, social media data, surveys and from financial institutions.

Brands like Amazon & Netflix have powerful engines that can analyze customer search and purchase history, and then use the data to make recommendations the user is most likely to value. Innovative brands are already reaping the benefits of investing in these technologies. With technology, retailers are now able to use customer journey analytics to target and segment their marketing efforts and overall customer experience strategies.

Voice Search

The evolution of voice-activated devices will change the way people do online shopping. When users perform a voice search, they expect quick and relevant answers. Today, digital assistants such as Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant can access online information such as weather, stock prices, traffic conditions etc., and present the information in a clear, concise and interesting manner to the user.

Brands are now focusing their SEO techniques by designing and optimising web and online content, keeping context and intent in mind. Voice-optimised content not only ranks higher on the search engine results page but also helps users get the best answers to their queries. Voice search marks the beginning of a new era and early adopters will surely gain a competitive advantage.

Internet of Things (IoT)

By using AI-enabled solutions, businesses can make the customer journey more personalised and offer customers more accurate product recommendations based on recent purchases. With market research firm Statista forecasting that there will be close to 31 billion IoT devices worldwide by 2020, it’s clear that the massive amounts of data collected by these tools can be used to gain valuable insight into the customer journey. By using data generated by IoT devices, businesses can better understand customer needs and adjust their products offerings accordingly as well as introduce new products/services to cater to a broader audience.

Leading US retailer Walmart is leveraging IoT to improve its on-site customer experience by using beacons to send customized push notifications with special offers and current discounts to its in-store customers. The company has a smart shopping cart handle that can collect customer data using built-in biometric sensors. The data includes heart rate, temperature and grip strength to define a person’s current stress level.

Seamless Multi-Channel Experiences

Lastly, technology has empowered customers to get what they want, whenever they want it and how they want it. With the rise of omnichannel engagement, consumers have shifted from mere desktop interactions to using mobile, tablets and wearables to communicate. So, in order to keep up with always-connected customers, businesses must embrace technology to deliver an unmatched customer experience.

Final Thoughts

There doesn’t seem to be any limitations when it comes to how technology continues to develop regarding changing how consumers interact with the world. Whether its ordering goods online or constructing a library of digital entertainment titles accessible anywhere in the world, technology continues to drive customer experience in new and exciting ways.

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