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5 Disruptive Technology Trends For Your Retail Experience

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What are the most disruptive technology trends that await around the corner? How will these trends affect the way you engage and monetize your customers from 2017?

It is a common opinion that in the next months the tech revolution will bring to completion the lines of development that we have seen born and grow in the recent years.

In the decades that preceded the advent of the Internet, we were convinced that every change in the economic paradigms comes in slowly and gradually. Then, with the spread of mobile devices, we have been forced to reconsider our position.

Today, the world is spinning so much faster than in the past. If you lag behind, the risk is that you will not be able to recover the lost ground. All to say that we expect more connection and more significant impact in business than ever before.

You need to keep your eyes wide open and be willing to question your certainties. Every single new (or not so new) technology, in fact, will have a huge impact on your digital customer experience.

Not that right now we have a shortage of technologies to choose from. In 2016, we have overseen a number of major technological developments, all of which are having a significant impact on our everyday life - and on the business strategy of thousands of brands across all industries.

Constant motion, however, is the karma of digital leaders. We live in an age where the focus on what’s coming next is always more critical - and interesting - than what you have already done or accomplished.

When disruption happens, it always generates threats but also opportunities for those who can catch them. In our world, technology acts as the main catalyst for the revolution of customer behaviors, desires, and needs.

Markets and society do evolve together. The dawn of a new generation of digital customers is the evidence that things are moving fast. The smartphone is at the heart of a complex ecosystem of technologies. Some we already know, some are ready to enter the game.

At stake, we find the future of customer experience, the most important business differentiator that will attract 50 percent of consumer product investments by 2017, according to Gartner.

"Prediction is very difficult, especially if it's about the future", as once said by Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize for Physics in 1922.

Knowing that prediction is a tricky play, we have scanned throughout the web in search of the technologies that most attract the interest (and possibly the investments) of brands and organizations.

Then, we have matched what we have found with what we already knew about the future of digital transformation. The result is the list of the five disruptive technology trends for 2017.

THE MACHINE INTELLIGENCE

Technology is not so scary as it seems when it is driven by intelligence. We are still very far from the post-apocalyptic vision of The Matrix or The Terminator. To unleash the true (business and social) potential of the AI, though, we need to get from mere learning to real smartness.

A switch from technologies that can learn from the environment to technologies able to personalize contents and communicate with human beings. We are at the dawn of the conversational paradigm, anticipated by Siri, Cortana, IBM Watson, Google Allo, and chatbots.

THE INTERNET OF EVERYTHING

The wide range of smart devices that surround us is shaping a new ecosystem where machines do not need human intervention to act (IoT, Internet of Things). The Internet that connects people is swiftly becoming the Internet that connects all kinds of objects (IoE, Internet of Everything).

While mobile technology will continue to rule the way we communicate, share and purchase, the Internet of Everything has the potential to alter from the foundations “how consumers interact with enterprises and how enterprises interact with their supply chain and distribution partners.” (Forbes)

THE AUGMENTED EXPERIENCE

The digital customer’s life transcends any barrier. It is not limited to the physical world, blurring the lines between online and offline experiences. In the last couple of years, virtual reality and augmented reality have become a serious business topic (again).

The spread of VR headsets and - above all - the incredible success of Pokemon Go testify the potential of this type of technology. From 2017 we will witness an increase in investments dedicated to VR and AR, not just to develop game dynamics but also to enhance the overall store experience.

THE NEXT GENERATION STORE

Talking about the retail customer experience, there is no doubt that retail brands have seen their identity under siege by the new technologies and customer behaviors. Relevance and personalization are the keywords to understand this epochal change.

Just take a look at what Netflix, Spotify or Amazon are doing. They deliver exactly what the single customer wants, every time, on any device. How can you replicate the same level of service if you are working in industries like fashion, beauty, or even financial services?

You need to find a whole new way to create compelling experiences, also in-store, and communicate one-to-one with your customers. You need to find a way to build The Next Generation Store.

THE MARKETING OF EMPATHY

Computers have always had one huge flaw. They do not see, and so they cannot perceive the emotions of those that are interacting with them. Technology might soon bridge the gap, opening the doors to a new era for marketing.

The marketing of empathy is a new paradigm where the cold machines become more human interlocutors. Whether we are looking for information, contacting a company, or buying a product, we will always have someone to help us right away.

Conversational Commerce will offer the invaluable opportunity to realign your business model around what really matters: the customer and the experience.

 

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Topics: Digital Customer Experience Mobile Internet of Things