As opportunities begin to grow with the innovations in technology, customer expectations witness a rise. Consequently, businesses are increasingly tapping into these exciting innovations to meet and exceed consumer expectations and stay relevant in this highly competitive market.
Building memorable and exceptional customer experiences is an incredible tool to yield improved business opportunities. Brands are going great lengths to make it big in this arena. What we fail to realize is that this trend has been effective for a very long time.
When Apple introduced the Macintosh in 1984, its iconic advertisement was based entirely on experience marketing. John Sculley, former CEO of Apple said, “What was remarkable about that commercial, especially for a high-tech product, is that we never once showed the product or mentioned any technical characteristic of the product. All we did was sell the experience that something exceptional was going to happen on January 24, 1984.”
With that thought, let’s take a look at the next-generation trends in technology that have the potential to transform customer experience.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Over the years, the relationship between man and machines have experienced a drastic change. The dawn of cognitive computing is here and artificial intelligence is at the fore of this transformation.
Increasingly, businesses are moving towards the ‘DIY’ (Do It Yourself) concept of customer service and artificial intelligence fits in perfectly to empower consumers and create an enhanced experience. Why? It’s because this technology is far smarter than humans and evolves constantly. For example, IBM’s Watson, which employs AI is 2400% smarter than it was 5 years ago.
Facebook has recently rolled out a new feature that describes the content of photos to users. This usage of artificial intelligence by the social media giant is also being called “automatic alternative text” which can be of great help for visually impaired users. Matt King, one of the engineers behind this update who has been blind since college, pointed out, “We need a solution to that problem if people who cannot see photos and understand what’s in them are going to be part of the community and get the same enjoyment and benefit out of the platform as the people who can.”
Virtual Reality (VR)
Like a phoenix, virtual reality has risen from the ashes of its fictional predecessors into a full-fledged technical reality. Its immense popularity can be attributed to the fact that it increases levels of engagement exponentially by producing immersive and enhanced experiences.
Big companies are investing heavily in virtual reality. It has ventured into the realms of entertainment, healthcare, advertising, tourism etc.
In collaboration with Google to develop a camera that can capture 360-degree images, IMAX Corporation has plans of launching six VR locations. According to Richard Gelfond, chief executive of IMAX, “Virtual reality in the home is going to be a crowded space, but we thought the idea of doing VR in the multiplex of the future was a place where we can provide a superior experience and a social experience, which are the same reasons people go to movies.”
Beacons are small devices that are equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and geo-fencing technology that can deliver location-based content to consumers’ smartphones. This technology has provided businesses with the ability to provide a highly personalized and contextual experience to consumers. This technology has proved to be the most effective in the retail industry.
With 77% of shoppers willing to share their locations, 72% of retailers are expected to utilize the potential of beacon technology in the next 5 years.
Big brands have already embraced beacon technology to enhance customer experiences. Macy’s introduced the beacon technology in 800 stores across the U.S. These track customer movements across the store and provide them with rewards, discounts, recommendations and other personalized deals. They have integrated this technology with an app that awards redeemable points to users when they visit their stores.
Selling experiences to market products and services has turned out to be the new norm for businesses and these technologies are all set to create new waves in the customer experience domain. While staying abreast of these disruptive trends is highly essential, it is equally crucial to devise strategies for their successful implementation to draw maximum profits.