The continued growth in online shopping means brands are more under pressure than ever to provide sleek digital experiences. So, what should companies look to improve and invest in with regards to customer experience in the year ahead. Five customer experience professionals from leading brands offered their thoughts.
By 2040, it’s predicted that nearly every shopping purchase made (95%) will happen online. This shift is already well underway, representing a major change in consumer buying habits, the retail sector and the nature of customer experience.
This continued growth in online shopping means brands are under more pressure than ever before to provide customers with rewarding, seamless, and memorable digital experiences. So, with the end of the year fast approaching – it’s important to ask: what do top customer experience professionals believe will be the biggest trends we’ll be seeing in the near future?
To find out, we spoke to five CX specialists from leading brands, all of which took part in the CX Circle London event from Contentsquare:
Employees will be content creators
Daisy Morris is a social media strategist and the founder of the social media consultancy and digital community, The Selfhood.
For Morris, the coming years will be defined by employees evolving into brand ambassadors and content creators as they continue to grow their own personal brands. From LinkedIn to TikTok we see this happening rapidly as it helps brands create more of a personal feel on their channels.
This is not a bad thing. Online interactions need to be more human with personalised business strategies behind them that are intentional, emotive and authentic. As Morris said: “Who says URL experiences can’t feel as good as IRL ones?”
Going back to basic principles
For Mark Adams, VP Innovation at VICE, the biggest trend that we’ll see sweeping across the CX industry is a return to ‘first principles’.
Adams said: “The digital environment within which we live is now so mindbogglingly complicated that it’s impossible to keep up with, let alone make sense of the different threads of innovation.”
Faced with this situation, Adams argues that we must get back to a basic foundational understanding of the nature of digital systems. At its heart, the Internet remains an interconnected set of networks. It seems basic to say it but once you remember that fact, you can start to question whether your strategy works for those networks – does it identify and activate them in the way you want?
AI will become ubiquitous
Gary Roth, Director of Business Value Engineering, at Contentsquare, believes that in 50 years from now, there will be an AI Revolution.
In his opinion, humanity will change more in the next 50 years than in the previous three centuries. To put it into perspective, if you look back at your history books, you will realise that there is more time between Cleopatra and the pyramids than between Cleopatra and the iPhone.
We are at the point of exponential change, and AI might be the largest technological revolution we have ever seen. AI is on the verge of becoming ubiquitous – as Roth said: “Intelligence will be everywhere and nowhere at the same time, just like electricity is today. Everywhere you go, you know that there’s electricity in the walls, the floor, the ceiling, everywhere, and you don’t even notice it anymore. Electricity became invisible and AI will be the same.”
Brands will (and should) become boutiques
According to Rob Sleath, Optimisation Manger at Lovehoney and Sarah-Jane Morris, Head of Digital Product, we’re on a half-pipe continuum of customer experience.
“In the olden days, your purchasing experience was artisan, it was bespoke and it was personal when you walked into a shop. But now, with mass production, large retailers taking over and the Internet, there’s a disconnect between customers and sellers. The experience is becoming more transactional,” said Sleath.
In this transactional landscape, he believes it’s time for product experts and personal experiences to re-emerge. “We’re heading back up the other side of the half-pipe where big brands will become boutiques again.”
Morris shared how they’re doing this: “At Lovehoney, it’s all about treating your customers like people and not just traffic. You can start to build real conversations with them, by building communities, by not just hearing customer feedback but acting on it, maintaining connections even if you’re selling through third parties and creating personal (not personalised) experiences.”
CX success will be a shared responsibility across the business
Falko Mortiboys, VP Fan Experience at DICE, believes that the experience brands provide will become as important as their products and services. Consumers want brands to anticipate their unique needs and expectations, demonstrate empathy and deliver a personalised experience while remaining uncomplicated and enjoyable to use. Mortiboys said: “The centrepiece of customer experience needs to be the relationship a company can create with their users.”
Therefore, companies need to understand the consumer holistically. Using a broad range of skillsets and methodologies, they need to go beyond monitoring what users do and also look at what they think and how they feel. The ability to understand the behavioural, attitudinal and emotional side of customer experience will evolve CX to a company-wide mandate with shared responsibilities across the business in order to foster strong and lasting relationships with consumers.Click below to share this article