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Top 5 Digital Trends for 2017 – Customer Experience is Key

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Delivering on digital now means putting the customer at the centre. As companies look to provide the best customer experience we've reviewed what the experts have predicted and consolidated the key digital trends that companies should look to embrace in 2017 that will deliver on customer experience:

* Personalisation * Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality and Gamification * IoT – The Internet of Things * Chatbots & AI * Social Video and Visual Content Personalisation

More than ever consumers before being bombarded with advertising messages on digital and social media channels. They can spot obvious sales pitches and will be turned off by perceived attempts to get them to purchase. Instead companies need to target consumers on an individual level and appeal to their particular wants and desires. Creating marketing tactics that appeal to exactly what consumers are looking for at any particular time on any digital channel will produce the desired outcomes. Using analytics to track browsing behaviour and interests is key to delivering content that will appeal to consumers thus enhancing customer experience. Using native advertising for content marketing and programmatic tactics will become more important for marketers to achieve relevant and personalised messages to consumers.

Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality and Gamification Reality tactics and games are the ultimate in customer experience and the success of the Pokémon GO AR app is a turning point for many companies that haven’t considered AR and VR as part of their digital marketing plan. Once thought of as a testing ground or something for the future, these applications are now easier to implement than ever before and are shifting to mainstream use. VR devices will become more mainstream and by next year gamification will become a core business strategy in reaching consumers as well as in workplaces by improving internal communication with employees. Creating immersive consumer experiences will continue to grow as more applications are developed for gaming, shopping, social and personal uses.

IoT – The Internet of Things All things are becoming intelligent and in 2017 there will be a growth in the popularity of new digital devices and wearables. This includes personal devices, such as fitness bands, smart watches and other wearables, but also robots, drones, autonomous vehicles, home systems and personal medical devices. No longer stand alone, these devices will be able to communicate with each other, gather data and analytics and be able to work together to accomplish a task, improving customer experience. Consumable items will also become intelligent and we’ll see everyday items, such as soft drink cans to milk cartons interacting with us on some level. IoT will become transformational in the future as well as disruptive to existing business models.

Chatbots & AI (Artificial Intelligence) Once the realm of science fiction, AI is becoming a reality as the technology improves. Advanced learning machines may soon replace lower skilled jobs and work collaboratively with people to solve complex problems. As AI grows it will become heavily disruptive to existing business models but in 2017 expect devices to become more intelligent, able to learn and adapt to their environments and become more predictive about behaviour. Chatbots, such as Apple’s Siri which uses voice recognition, a preset script and deep-learning neural networks to accurately respond to a users’ questions and statements, will become mainstream in guiding consumer behaviour to improve customer experience and service.

Social Video and Visual Content Video immediately connects with viewers conveying emotions and messages that are far more impactful than text alone in a newsfeed. In 2017 livestreaming video will become more popular on video sharing sites such as YouTube but also social media channels, including Facebook and applications like Periscope. Broadcast capabilities are in the hands of any individual and the power of decentralised video content will become an important tactic for marketers to explore as individuals find their voice, build a following and grow captive audiences on their own channels that companies can tap into. In a similar vein the popularity of visual/social sharing sites such as Instagram and WhatsApp will continue to grow and become mainstream channels for marketers to utilise in reaching consumers and improving customer experience.

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