Customer experience is at the core of any business, and technology has impacted CX a great deal. As more and more brands fold technology into their strategies, marketers gain greater insight into how tech influences the customer journey. Check out these five ways marketers are using technology to reshape the experience.
1. Augmented Reality (AR): Jaykishan Panchal, an SEO and content marketing manager at E2M Solutions, said that since purchasing products online has become the norm, buyers experience the pain point of not knowing what exactly to expect. Oftentimes, a delivery results in an unwelcome surprise.
“While it’s pretty much impossible to completely remedy this pain point, AR has done a lot to help people better understand what they are buying,” he said. “Ikea was a pioneer of this concept. Their online store allowed buyers to use the AR function called the ‘Place’ app to see exactly how a piece of furniture would look in their home.”
Today, many retail brands employ this tactic, from Pottery Barn to Cover Girl.
“Last year, we saw heightened integration of AR support in iOS and Android devices, which is a huge indicator that AR is here to stay,” Panchal said. “AR is a key technology in bridging the gap between the hands-on nature of in-person shopping and the convenience of online retail. In the next few years, it’s very likely that we will see large numbers of brands implementing AR tech into their customer experience.”
2. Chatbots: The user experience is all about engaging consumers. Chatbots are prime example of a tool gaining popularity over the last few years.
“One of the problems with being an established company is the natural degree of separation that exists between you and the consumer,” said Nate Masterson, CMO of Maple Holistics. “Oddly enough, chatbots help bridge the gap and create a more personalized experience with customers.”
Furthermore, chatbots are no longer used exclusively for basic customer service questions. These bots are now capable of giving complex responses and suggestions, including recommending specific styles based on short questionnaires.
“However, many bots shine the brightest with their ability to convert consumers through social media,” Masterson said. “Facebook Messenger, in particular, has become a hot spot for companies to launch their chatbots and many have seen tremendous success.”
3. Geo-fencing: Growth Marketing’s founder, Stacy Caprio, said that geo-fencing is reshaping customer experience in 2019.
“Geo-fencing is where a company uses location targeting in an app to send messages to customers who are nearby their store or at the store of a competitor,” she said. “This can include coupons, messaging with helpful shopping tips, or incentives to go inside the store. It’s a great way to stay top of mind and be present in a very relevant way. It completely changes the customer experience so they are receiving marketing promos and updates based on their proximity to brand locations.”
4. Omnichannel Personalization: Customers are interacting with brands through more channels than ever before, but it takes more than an excellent product to maintain the competitive edge. A big part of that is providing personalized interactions at every touchpoint.
Panchal explains that once someone makes an online search for a product, service, or piece of content, quite often they will see related content or ads the next time they’re on that platform, especially in social media feeds. This is omnichannel personalization in its purest form.
“This allows businesses to deliver tailor-made experiences to each customer’s preferred channel,” he said. “Given how far big data analytics have come in the past few years, it’s clear that brands are becoming more in tune with their shoppers’ individual needs, as well as how and where to meet them.”
5. Customer support with video: Adding video to customer support is completely changing the customer experience, according to Saurabh Jindal, founder of Talk Travel. Of late, many companies, especially in the commerce sector, have started video-based support and seen higher sales and increased customer satisfaction as a result.
“It is enhancing the way people are buying products, as well as the way people are getting resolutions to problems,” he said. “Video-based customer support is enabling a more person-to-person interaction and gives customers more confidence that their problem is being catered to, rather than over emails or just audio calls.”
Though they’ve just begun creating waves, these technologies may impact the customer experience for years to come. Whether it’s AR or the extended use of chatbots, brands are finding new ways to improve customer engagement. As we near 2020, marketers will ask themselves not whether to invest in these technologies, but which ones to tackle first.