Innovation and Customer Expectations
Customer expectations are evolving as innovations continue to shape our everyday experiences. The adoption rates for new technology also seem to be quickening, fueled by the younger generation and several of these new platforms moving from ideas into products. Staying ahead of the curve in terms of strategy and application will be essential for industry decision makers, corporations and firms looking to move the needle for their business. Customers are expecting better experiences as they interact with brands in this new world and that’s what companies need to aim for. Here are a few concepts to stay focused on as we finish out the year.
Internet of Things
Corporations are starting to embrace the IoT mantra and looking for ways to leverage smart solutions into sales of products. Omni channel focus is giving way to increased usage of the cross over between web research and purchasing products. Customers are armed with the right knowledge to empower better buying decisions and we see buy online pick up in store numbers on the rise. They are also working toward smarter brick and mortar experiences using beacon technology and digital signage to connect and guide the customer. One focus area is on Anticipatory Design into the customer experience, allowing the customer process to be simpler as the company touchpoints can be designed to anticipate the customer needs and provide a one click enablement for products and services purchasing. We are moving toward a world where customers are in constant contact with enabled brands and that is where some of the most interesting opportunities are cropping up. Customer are definitely expecting simpler process for achieving end goals.
For companies, content is still king but, it continues to evolve. With the rise in mobile and new wearable tech we continue to see new opportunities and platforms for showcasing content. Content and marketing automation are in full swing to help engage with the customer and tie the connection between customer buying cycles, brand awareness and messaging into stronger interactions at the right time with the right people. Many organizations are leaning into better storytelling and usage of video to make more meaningful connections with the short attention span of the customer. Customers are engaging with more content via mobile experience so companies are continuing to focus on responsive design for messages that can be consumed on the go.
Personalization seems so web 2.0 right? Well in some ways this concept has been around for quite a while as we focus on better marketing and touch points to engage with our customers. But, companies have seemed to hit the wall on making true personalized experience as most have been distracted by mobile, responsive web, Omni channel initiatives, marketing automation implementations and other enhancements driven by fast moving innovation. There is still room for improvement with authenticated web experiences across desktop and mobile. Companies are starting to re-look at creating true personalized experience based upon geo-location, google now/social media recommendation models, and ecommerce shopping experiences. Customer are expecting more meaningful personalization with their interactions through company touch points and this is an area that need to evolve to the next level.
The stats are clear in that customers continue to utilize smart phones as the preferred digital touchpoint. However mobile stats are on the rise for tablets, smartwatches, digital signage and (next year) virtual reality devices for eyeball attention. Customer are adopting digital technology as fast as our leaders can implement real solutions and companies are pivoting to keep up. Firms need to be providing a holistic experience across all screens for their brands and products. Customers interact with so many brands through digital technology that the effort in setting up all those relationships come into play. For example; Tide might be rolling out a push button to order more laundry detergent but the reality of this is that setting up a relationship to make this happen means another user name and password, setting up a debit card/credit card to enable authorized purchase path and having some process to enable an IoT product to the account. How are consumers going to manage this for every product moving forward? Companies focus on innovation to help make the process easier for customers. We probably are going to need some sort of app or service to help manage the day to day consumption of individual customers.
In focusing on the customer, the end goal for companies is to achieve a loyal relationship with each customer through meaningful interactions that delight the user. The old model for corporate loyalty programs that includes points, dollars and bribery, needs to be refocused on a new set of customer expectations. Free money is great, but customers also expect easy to use experiences across all their devices, personalized content to make actions easier, simple and secure purchase options, and company innovations that keeps up with how fast that they are adopting technology. And, if you company is not providing experiences that meet the customers’ expectations they will pass you up.