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Guide | April 15, 2021

5 Tech Trends to Lead Customer Experience in 2021

Customers change drastically due to technical advancements. And companies now too need to transform themselves to satisfy shoppers’ changing needs. It is not only how your business presents itself digitally but also how it responds to customers' demands creatively and immediately every day.

In that dynamic, businesses’ best ally - technology shall open new communications channels, bring new experiences to clients, and satisfy needs that not even customers knew that they have. The coming years will see some of these technology trends to lead customer experience. Let’s find out which are, and will be among us sooner or later.

1. Voice Capability will be Expected

Just a decade ago, voice assistants seem so alien that people only imagined it in Hollywood’s science fictions. However, things has completely changed. According to Statista, in 2020, there are about 4.2 billion digital voice assistants being used in devices around the world. Forecasts suggest that by 2024, the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion units – a number higher than the world’s population. 

The popularity and instant response of voice assistants have made brands accelerate their quick and immediate customer interaction wherever and whenever. In one Adobe Analytics’ report, among 400 decision makers, a whopping 91% are already making significant investments in voice; 94% plan to increase their investment in the coming year. Brands see incredible potential, with 66% strongly agreeing that voice can help drive conversion and increase revenue; 71% see it improving the user experience.

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Voice capability is the new standard for customer experience.

Seeing the increasing adoption of voice capabilities among businesses and customers, voice experience will naturally become the obvious choice bridging the gap between brands and their shoppers. This trend is backed up by various companies leveraging voice technology to enrich their customer experience, including Johnnie Walker, Dominos and Nestlé. For Nestlé, they set out a custom skill for Alexa by Amazon to deliver voice-first, hands-free cooking assistants. The skill is accompanied by a unique GoodNes visual guide which connects to customers’ web browsers to offer “visual voice browsing” experience. Consumers can use Alexa to search for recipes like breakfast, main dish and dessert, then receive a combination of voice and synchronized visual guidance in response. This voice adoption has gained Nestlé positive feedback from their customers.

2. AR Continues to Roam Stores

Augmented Reality (AR) shall be one of the most long-standing technologies on this list. As big names in the fashion industry like Zara, Lacoste and Timberland have taken the lead to use this technology inside their physical stores. AR has brought various unique experiences for their customers as it could layer fashion pieces on shoppers without them getting changes. That’s what convenience in technology looks like for customers.

One report by Statista has shown that 35 percent of business executives surveyed had adopted augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) technology into at least one business unit, with 13 percent having adopted the technology across multiple units. Total AR/VR spending worldwide is projected to amount to 12 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, although this is set to rise considerably through to 2024, reaching 72.8 billion U.S. dollars.

AR has very much simplified the purchasing decision for customers around the world. One of the most successful experience came from the renowned IKEA. They released Place, an app that makes it possible for shoppers to see how IKEA furniture might look in their living spaces. With augmented reality, users overlay simpler forms of content on to their physical spaces, usually by using their mobile phones. Niantic’s Pokémon GO and forthcoming Harry Potter games are examples. With Place, users overlay 3D models of furniture into their physical spaces to test for fit, which takes reduces the risk of buying a sofa or bookshelf before carting it home.

3. AI Enables Smarter Experience

“By 2025, as many as 95 percent of all customer interactions will be through channels supported by artificial intelligence (AI) technology” – Microsoft. Artificial Intelligence has been among the most popular topics among brands and people are having high hope for it. However, the actual adoption of it in customer experience side has not been so worth the hype. We have only seen chatbots and virtual assistant being the most widely used as AI-based solutions for customers.

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People are having high hope for AI to transform customer experience.

However, that is about to change. Leading enterprises have sorted through the hype surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and are investing in sophisticated technology to augment their customer experience efforts as 74% of decision makers interviewed say AI will change how customers view their brand.

Rather than just quickly respond to customers by recognized words, AI will go deeper under the data work like Predictive Personalization and AI-enabled Customer Analytics to analyze behaviors and unleash value across customer experiences. Companies will be able to assess individual shopper inventories and consumer behaviors to predict and deliver goods to homes before they even realize they are running low. 

4. IoT Encourages More of Smart Devices

Smart home, smart cities and devices have gradually become the reality in front of our eyes. These ideas are possible thanks to one technology called Internet of Things aka IoT. It is “a network of physical objects -"things” - that are embedded with sensor, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the internet.” (Oracle)

The number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices worldwide is forecast to almost triple from 8.74 billion in 2020 to more than 25.4 billion IoT devices in 2030. In 2020, the highest number of IoT devices is found in China with 3.17 billion devices (Statista). These massive IoT connected devices shall soon push its advancements to create an ever-connected experience for customers.

Take Fitbit as an example, whose activity trackers and smart scales track a person’s daily step count, weight, calories, water intake and more. All that information is readily available via an app, not to mention incredibly personalized to the end-user. What’s not to love?

5. Omnichannel Engagement is Now to Adapt

Along with so many emerging technologies for customers to engage anytime and anywhere, customer behaviors are now so much more complex and messy than ever. It is a headache for brands to break through those messy middle to create a truly consistent customer experience across channels, geographies and devices, and satisfy customers’ demand to freely move between these platforms seamlessly. And the term to describe the kind of actions is called omnichannel. Brands need to set up their omnichannel strategy to engage with their omnichannel-roaming customers.

The statistics have proved this trend to work on a massive scale for many brands. Aberdeen Group’s report has demonstrated that companies with strong omni-channel customer engagement experience a 9.5% year-over-year increase in annual revenue, compared to 3.4% for weak omni-channel companies. Similarly, strong omni-channel companies see a 7.5% year-over-year decrease in cost per contact, compared to a 0.2% year-over-year decrease for weak companies.

ASUS Singapore is one of those pioneering businesses to benefit from this technology. Between the year 2019 and 2020, the company managed to increase page views by over 298% and get a 20% boost of average session duration to 1 minute and 58 seconds. These figures show that the new site and its features are more attractive to potential customers and help convert them to leads with the potential to drive up sales revenues. What’s more, total ecommerce revenue rocketed by 246% YoY. There was a 331% increase in transactions, and the Average Order Value was over S$1,200, proving that the new ease of use encouraged customers to buy more.

Read the full story on ASUS’s transformation

Digital customers need a digital approach to persuade and retain. It is now or never to keep your businesses afloat in the age of digital transformation. Stay in touch with our experts to get the best-in-class technology solutions for your enterprises. And do not forget to check out how we have helped other businesses stay ahead of the competition.

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