The way in which we work, live and play is going to be transformed by new technology that is poised to make the internet seamless. Technology will become invisible, integrating into consumers everyday lives from the way they buy products and get their information.
- The Conversational Web – The way in which we interface and interact with the web all falls under the conversational web – usually in the form of a text search. However, chatbots and virtual assistants have brought about a change in the way we usually interact online, now allowing us to access information with conversational interfaces that are seamlessly integrated into a variety of applications.
- Chatbots – Using artificial intelligence to simulate conversation with people or applications, chatbots make it easier and more convenient for customers to engage with brands by streamlining customer interactions. Used in places such as call centres, chatbots have been adopted to perform simple tasks to help customers or collect relevant information.
- Virtual Assistants – By 2020, Gartner reports that 30% of web browsing sessions will be done using voice rather than via a screen. More and more voice-activated digital assistants, such as Amazon’s Alexa are readily available that use speech as the main primary interface to search the web, eliminating the need to use your hands and eyes.
- Rise of the Botnik – Founder of the future of conversational web conference MoNage, Jeff Pulver, believes the term Botnik be used instead of chatbot, as it’s less limiting. Botnik is proposed to encompass all conversational interfaces such as voice, biometrics, augmented reality, virtual reality, and some other forms of reality yet to be defined — including, one day, perhaps, a direct interface to the human brain.
- Convergence of Social Media, Influencer Marketing and E-Commerce – The way in which we receive our information is changing due to social media. Influencers, who have created a significant following on social networks about specific topics are now a big part of this. Brands are leveraging them to promote products as these people have a greater-than-average share of voice within certain market segments.
Ease in purchasing products is something than consumers are desiring more. The process when a customer sees a product they want to purchase online is not currently seamless, but this is starting to change. Platforms such as Instagram are adding discreet buy buttons that help consumers to buy what they see.
- Internet of Things, Data and Analytics – Personalised shopping experiences and a seamless omnichannel shopping experience between online and brick and mortar properties can be built from the data that the Internet of Things (IoT) connected devices gather. This data allows marketers to gain more insight from lifestyle habits and ultimately go onto to make better marketing decisions.
These trends have yet to develop over the next few years individually, although once the technology matures, a seamless customer experience will converge. This results in the buying journey changing with fewer touchpoints during the process, leaving fewer opportunities to engage with brands. Marketers will have to consider this and adapt to the change.
Hellena Crompton, Director of Client Development at XCM comments on this saying ‘I am excited about the possibilities that these technologies have for brands and the increased options there will be for communicating with customers. These technologies will help to make interactions more seamless and less onerous on the consumer. Convenience is a key factor for consumers and it helps build brand trust and loyalty.’