Nowadays, new digital trends are hitting the scene almost constantly. While this is exciting, it is also difficult to know which trends are worth adopting and which to drop or ignore. The current pace of technological change means you can quickly be left behind while your competitors snap up all of your customers.
In order to avoid this happening, you need to evaluate the range of choices available to you and not be terrified of trying something new.
But which digital trends are worth adopting and which are the ones to leave well alone?
Before you adopt any new technology, consider whether it does any of the following (HBR):
1) Does it eliminate customer pain?
Before you invest into a new technology, you need to know your customer’s biggest pain points. Look for tools and solutions that facilitate experiences that are driven by the customer’s needs.
Here are 4 of the top consumer pain points and remedies so you can prevent them:
a) Too Much Research Required / No Time / Poor Filtering Options
- Needs-based Digital Advisors: reduce complexity by engaging shoppers in an interactive conversation and guiding them to suitable products based on their needs and known preferences. It allows you to avoid complicated, research-heavy shopping experiences that quickly drive your customers away.
- Mobile Shopping / Apps: allow customers to browse, explore and purchase on the go. Asos‘ customers can view products and buy them with just one click. The fashion retailer also stores preferences so shoppers can see items similar to their previous choices.
- Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning: allow customers to find the most fitting product in a shorter amount of time, even when there are hundreds of options. The Northface recently launched an AI-powered personal shopper called XPS. It combines big data and artificial intelligence (AI) to help customers — particularly new ones — navigate and find the right jacket. 75% of the customers who used the Jacket Finder said they would use it again.
b) Lengthy Delivery Times / Long Queues
- Same-Day Delivery: customers are growing to expect more service. From groceries to furniture, anything can be sent straight to the customer’s doorstep a few hours after the order has ben made. Amazon is one of the first offering this service in a plethora of cities.
- Click and Collect: 1 in 5 shoppers said that choosing something online and picking it up in store changed their experiences.
- Self-Check Out: takes away the need for the customer to line up in long queues and speeds up the process of paying.
- In-Store Sensor technology: track store traffic to anticipate high-traffic and allocate more staff to the registers when they’re needed.
- 3D Printing: can cut down on delivery times as it’s becoming easier to print at home. It has also been proven to save customers money if they simply print household items rather than buy them.
c) Lack of Interaction with Products / Missing Sensory Experience
- Product demonstration videos: can help you give your customer a clear insight into your products and learn how they work.
Here’s a short video to show you how best to create product demo video.
- Virtual / Augmented Reality: layers virtual objects or holograms on top of your existing environment in real-time to allow your customers to “try on” and experience products. Global retail giant Alibaba has launched Buy+, a VR store that allows shoppers to walk through a VR shopping mall with stores like Macy’s, Target and Costco.
Ikea is also experimenting with VR to allow their customers explore one of three differently-styled kitchen room settings.
d) Missing Information in the Store
- In-store kiosks and interactive signage: by providing ‘live’ access to stock and product advice, retailers can provide customers with quick access to information, even when a store associate isn’t available or busy with other customers.
- Technically-enabled staff: equip your staff on the ground with digital devices to help them quickly provide customers with the support and information they need.
- Mobile-enhanced stores: provide free in-Store Wi-Fi or allow customers to scan QR codes to look up additional product information.
2) Does it elevate your customer service?
Is there anything more frustrating than having a problem and not being able to resolve it quickly? With your adopted technologies, you should consider whether or not it will noticeably and materially improve your customer service.
Technologies to consider:
- (Interactive) Guided Troubleshooting: lets you optimize your self-service offer by allowing customers to resolve issues on their own and when they want. Instead of browsing through tons of articles or having to call a support line, customers can answer a few questions to describe their problem and receive immediate support on how to solve it.
- Chatbots / AI: mobile messaging is quickly becoming the dominant form of communication for consumers. With chatbots you can effectively improve and automate the customer service experience to communicate with customers, support them, and solve issues in real-time 24/7.
- Live Chat and Co-browsing: provide transparent, communication in real-time
- Insight-driven Marketing automation: Streamline and automate your business processes and customer communication based on insights from customer data and interactions.
3) Does it create a differentiated, personalized customer experience?
The question you need to ask yourself is whether the technology allows you to create a seamless, more personalized experience that’s unique to each customer.
Personalization Trends and Must-haves:
- Personalized website or mobile app experience: match the customer’s geography, demographic data, behavioral information, or purchase history to serve up relevant content
- Personalized tips and advice: provide first-time visitors with personalized shopping guides and engage customers with relevant best practice tips and advice to make the most of the products they have purchased. (Digital Advice for Marketing)
- Predictive analytics: you can collect and analyze all the insights necessary to personalize your marketing efforts for customers, making it much more effective and useful.
Technology is constantly evolving and an endless range of options appear. When evaluating whether that latest digital trend is worth adopting, you should stay focused on understanding what your customers need and want.
It’s worth considering whether these digital technologies are actually going to improve your customer’s experience, help you build a competitive differentiation and can change your business for the better.
Which trends would you want us to add? Sound off in the comments below.