How technology will shape customer engagement and growth

Aamir Qutub

Aamir Qutub

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A survey sponsored by SAS revealed the following:

1. 4 in 5 believe drone or autonomous vehicles will be delivering products to consumers
2. 4 in 5 percent believe future brand-consumer engagements will be via chatbots
3. 4 in 5 percent believe AR, VR, some combination of them, will be used to see how a product will look like on them
4. Nearly 3 in 5 percent believe a combination of reality devices will be common in entertainment or in visiting new places by 2025
5. 4 in 5 are likely to use smart assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa to shop online or control domestic appliances and devices
6. Nearly 4 in 5 are likely to use wearables to control other devices.

Just two decades ago, the above statistics were but a wish list. In the present, they’re mere fact. There’s a race going on to make the technology better, faster and more profound in the impact they make on people’s lives. New and more interesting ways of engaging consumers will emerge in 2020.

As marketing technology permeates every aspect of the business, it is important for companies to review their customer engagement ecosystem. Generally, people have become more receptive to the digitization of their relationship with brands. It was reported in the same survey that by 2030, 67% of the engagement between consumers and brands will be on digital devices. Bots are replacing humans. In the world of instant gratification we live in, bots tick all the boxes.

Imagine this: in time, you could speak to this blog by asking questions to direct you to relevant parts that provide the answers you’re searching for. Within a matter of seconds, the reader can decide if the blog is worth his/her time. It sure beats any speed reading skills. To this end, while technology presents vast opportunities for businesses, it also raises the bar of competitiveness significantly. In the realm of customer engagement, businesses of any size can get their hands on platforms or apps to improve relationships with consumers. Making the right choice is critical. The rule of thumb technology marketers have been articulating is keeping the balance between human-centricity and instantaneous capabilities of technology.

With that in mind, let’s examine the technology trends that shape customer engagement in 2020 and possibly beyond. It is important to note here that many of these technologies have yet to realize their fullest potential, yet they are making a profound impact in the world of business. So keep this in mind as you read this of their evolving nature: there is more to come!

1. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning will design customer journeys

In a PwC study, 7 in 10 believe AI/ML will be a significant business advantage. It is the most talked-about technology along the hallways of businesses and homes. Its application in the retail sector is a sign of its prowess in the world of business. A great example is Amazon Go. AI/ML is used to identify when products are removed from the shelves or returned. It stores the data in a virtual cart. The data is a goldmine for merchandizers. A simple activity of where to put what is now a science with a dash of creativity. It used to be the latter mostly in the past. With the retail slump across the globe, this is a useful application of AI/ML. What’s in store next?

It is highly probable that facial recognition is next on the list. Imagine being able to greet your customer by name the moment he/she lands on your website. That’s taking personalization to a new peak. Can we do it? The answer will be a resounding “Yes!”. After all, facial recognition is increasingly common.

2. Voice technology will replace click-swipe-type

In a 2018 Pindrop study of 500 decision-makers in the IT sector, it highlighted that 3 in 10 companies have introduced voice technology to enhance the customer experience. At the same time, 3 in 5 will be introducing it in the next 12 months. That should have happened by now. Voice technology is rapidly changing the way we do business. Its instantaneous quality is the biggest draw. The other is its versatility. It can be engaging and entertaining as well as functional, like ordering your coffee through a voice enhance Starbucks app. Moving from browsing to acting has become more seamless. And with mobile devices a mainstay in brand-consumer engagement, voice is here to stay and grow.

3. AR/VR is real

While AR/VR isn’t new, it has gotten more real. Its role in facilitating faster decision-making is the biggest draw. Helping consumers bring to live their visualization exercise, for example, “How will that couch sit in my study”, is whetting the appetite of marketers in the retail sector in particular. It will be a tool to combat the retail slump. Creating new experiences is what the sector needs to compete against online shopping phenomena. To consumers, it might just make shopping more fun!

4. In-car screens

You would have noticed by now that the dashboard is no longer a ‘hero’ in the cabin of cars. It’s the in-car screen, especially those that pop-up. Sexy in design, power-packed with a range of functions, it does make autonomous vehicle desirable. Sit back and enjoy the ride is no longer just a movie line. It’s real!

Research firm IHS has forecasted that the car electronics market will hit $62bn by 2022. It looks like mobile entertainment is set to grow. GM’s marketplace, built into the make’s in-car screen, allows customers to make reservations or purchase coffee. It makes pretty good sense given that you’re likely to be thinking of that morning coffee in the car after you’ve turned on the engine.

As mentioned, more is yet to come. Technology is moving faster than it ever has. Connect with us to learn more.


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