After rummaging through a store full of unorganized shoeboxes and mismatched sizes, nothing beats the moment that you slip on the perfect fit. The confidence you have leaving the store with a shoe you know feels just right almost makes the rush hour traffic and wait in a line full of screaming children worth it. Key word, almost.
On the other hand, the convenience offered by online shopping, and the ability to shop wherever and whenever your smartphone is in your hand is great. But it isn’t great to wait 3 weeks, only to find that the hat you ordered doesn't match your shoes.
Physical and digital consumer experiences each have their own strengths and weaknesses. Whether it be a conversation with your favorite salesperson, or the ability to try something on before you buy it, there are aspects of the in-store shopping experience that differentiate it enough to keep the brick and mortar around, despite that consumers collectively crave one-touch “uberfied” digital experiences.
But advances in technology are allowing digital designers to produce humanized one-to-one interactions between consumers, brands, products, and customer service reps that bridge the gap between our physical and digital commerce experiences.
Thanks to advances in virtual and augmented reality, predictive analytics, cognitive computing insights, and artificial intelligence applications, the perfect personalized consumer experience is closer to reality than ever. To describe it as “omnichannel integration” doesn’t do justice to the vast opportunity creative technology offers to innovate how we anticipate and satisfy a consumer’s demand, no matter where they lie on their journey.
Our time machine happens to be on the fritz, but these articles are a great look into the future of consumer experience.
Predictive technology is all about creating the ideal consumer interaction. The ability to predict and understand consumer context goes beyond the basics of personalization, it uses behavioral data to tailor a custom experience. With software now able to understand and cater to specific needs, it's easier to give consumers exactly what they want. Along with the power of predictive analytics, future-forward human/machine hybrid customer service reps can further increase satisfaction, as a seamless transition from bot to human can help pick up any slack where one-to-one customer service is necessary.
The cognitive era is here, machines are not only increasingly trusted, but also relied upon to make our decisions for us. As marketers, the decisions cognitive computers make will have profound effects on how our consumer audience discovers products and makes purchasing decisions. For the consumer, this means frictionless experience, but a quandary for marketers: if our consumer always has Pepsi at home, and their smart refrigerator knows this and always reorders it from the cheapest online vendor, how can we get them to buy Coca-Cola?
Having a smartphone in our pocket now comes with high expectations, we want the world to be at our fingertips — instant gratification is everything. Artificially intelligent marketing bots and agents that are a text or chat message away at all times are being created en masse to meet this demand. The next step? To go beyond the bot and recognize that the growth of natural language processing empowers us to not only improve and automate consumer experience, but to truly understand and predict demand - a must if we want to satisfy user habits in the new service economy.
The age of VR has dawned. The dream of being completely immersed in a virtual world is no longer a fantasy. For brands, this means advertising doesn’t have to be just a description of a product, but the whole experience of one. As the technology continues to improve and barriers to ownership reduce, consumers will be able to interact with products in entirely new ways before they make an online purchase. This will lead the consumer through a more interactive digital experience than ever before.
Uber has changed the way we think as customers. The frictionless experience offered by their service has introduced the expectation that others function in the same manner. Not all companies have the opportunity to provide an equally seamless, instant, and reliable experience, but the on-demand economy has redefined how we relate with all brands and in turn, what we want and need from them.
When driving purchase, it is important to remember that the experience is just as important as the product itself. Every touchpoint from discovery to check out leaves a lasting impression. Don’t overlook any aspects of your consumer’s journey, or you risk losing their business.
As technology evolves exponentially, it is more important than ever that designed digital experiences are humanized. Advances in customer service technology allow us to automate and scale solutions, but there is no substitute for the intuitive empathy of human customer service. The most efficient experience exists somewhere between both, where a smooth handoff exists from machine to human when it is deemed necessary.
Want to design better experiences for your brand? Contact us and let’s have a conversation about the future of consumer experience.