Indeed, from augmented reality and voice to virtual reality and more, there’s no shortage of new ways to connect with customers and enhance the customer experience. But the question many businesses ask is which ones to invest in? We’ve narrowed it down to the five we think will have the biggest impact on business this year.
1. Augmented Reality To Reinvigorate The In-Store Customer Experience
Augmented reality (AR) is by no means a new idea. In fact, brands such as Timberland began testing AR experiences as early as 2014. But AR’s big moment came in June 2017, when Apple introduced its AR platform, ARKit, at the company’s Worldwide Developer Conference. The opportunity was obvious: Companies could create AR experiences for iOS users around the globe.
2. Voice Capabilities Will Become Second Nature
A 2018 Pindrop study, based on a survey of 500 IT business decision-makers, found that 28% of enterprises have already adopted voice technology to improve the customer experience, and another 57% plan to deploy it in the next 12 months. In addition, an astounding 88% said they believe voice technology will give them a competitive advantage in improving the customer experience.
3. In-Car Screens Will Begin To Bring Brand Experiences Into Cars
Adobe’s Asher was also bullish on the opportunity to engage consumers in their cars. Research firm IHS forecasts that the cockpit electronics market, which totaled $37 billion in revenue in 2017, will nearly double to $62 billion by 2022. And, with nearly 10 million self-driving cars expected to hit the road by 2020, drivers will become more like passengers, giving rise to a new era of in-car entertainment and on-demand services.
4. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Works Its Way Into The Customer Experience Journey
A PwC study of 2,500 U.S. consumers and business decision-makers found that business leaders, specifically, believe artificial intelligence (AI) is going to be fundamental in the future. In fact, 72% termed it a “business advantage.”
Indeed, AI and machine learning have been top-of-mind for companies for a number of years. Chatbots for customer service has seen the most maturity, Asher said.
Additionally, marketing departments have been focusing on AI in their customer journey strategies, using it to predict where the customer is in the funnel and better serve them with the right message at the right time. For example, telecom giant Sprint uses AI to dig through troves of customer data and find potentially receptive groups of people to target with marketing.
“The future of AI is also going to be very much about computer vision and applying AI to things like facial recognition when people opt-in,” Asher said. “Think of the opportunity in recognizing a customer when they walk into the store.”
“AI is really going to matter in an impactful way in the next few years as far as delivering disproportionate impact,” he said, “because when you couple AI with machine learning, it can affect every aspect of the organization. There are ways for AI to help everyone do their jobs better, and it can even create new business opportunities.”
5. Blockchain And The Bid To Standardize Recordkeeping And Data Handling
Andy Jacobs, CTO, North America, at Wunderman, is bullish on the opportunities for businesses with blockchain, which he said is increasingly gaining adoption. Indeed, a Juniper Research study from September 2018 found that 65% of enterprises with over 10,000 employees are considering or actively engaged in blockchain deployment.
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