Technology is now so engrained in daily life that there are very few situations in which consumers are not engaging with technology in some way. New trends and emerging breakthroughs in technology are redefining consumer shopping experiences in-store and online. For marketers, this presents both opportunities and challenges for 2017.
On one hand, an abundance of new technologies and emerging platforms gives marketers even more avenues through which they can engage with customers. These new channels and platforms open doors to be more creative and expressive with campaigns; marketers can create complex omnichannel campaigns that have the ability to attract more potential consumers than ever before.
However, these new technologies and platforms are creating even more ‘noise’ that marketers have to break through. It’s no longer a given that a consumer will visit a brand’s website, let alone its brick-and-mortar stores. Marketers now have to personalize messaging to huge audiences and must make sure that their brands don’t get lost in the noise.
Here’s a quick look at some emerging tech trends that will change the way brands interact with customers and sell their products in 2017.
1. Social Commerce
As more and more social platforms continue to pop up, there will be more ways for consumers to interact with brands.
A pioneer of social media, Facebook is fighting to earn more respect among brands by adding new features like Facebook Live and it’s “Buy Now” button, making it possible for brands to reach consumers in new ways, and for customers to make purchases without ever leaving the social platform.
At the other end of the timeline is the newer platform, Snapchat, which has claimed a 31.6% share of social network users since arriving on the scene in 2011. The company’s robust advertising strategy is poised to make it a billion-dollar company by the end of 2017.
It’s important to take note of these social platforms and the new possibilities they continue to offer for marketers. In addition to identifying the best platforms for their brands (and those that are not suitable), marketers must be mindful of optimizing all branded social profiles, native ads, custom videos, etc. are optimized for mobile and offer the most effortless customer experience possible. Exceptional brand experiences delivered through social media – accessed via desktop or mobile device – is something that all customers are growing to expect.
2. Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality (VR) is a relatively new technology that has taken the marketing world by storm. For brands still on the fence about VR, consider this: Virtual Reality will be a $30 billion market by 2020. This means that regardless of where it fits within your overall strategy, VR is likely to impact your brand in some way – soon.
Brands should evaluate VR and consider the opportunities it might provide to bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar store experiences and technology. With VR technology, online shoppers can experience products just as they would in a brick-and-mortar store. This opens up a new realm of opportunities to deliver omnichannel experiences across multiple channels.
Here are some examples of VR marketing that marketers may want to consider:
- In-store kiosks that show consumers what using certain products will really be like.
- Including VR glasses or branded Google Cardboard glasses with a product to continue a brand experience even after a customer has made a purchase.
- Making an app or website VR-compatible to allow consumers to experience products virtually before they buy – just as they would in-store.
3. Artificial Intelligence
Big data, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence Marketing (AI Marketing) show no signs of slowing down in 2017. The benefits of leveraging these types of technologies are innumerable: deeper consumer insights, better personalization of content, increased employee productivity, and the list goes on.
Marketers should also realize that this sophisticated technology helps power other channels as well, such as personal assistants. Whether Siri, Alexa, or Google Home, there is a personal assistant to fit nearly every individual’s needs – and brand affinities. Marketers can establish partnerships with some of the most well-respected brands in the world, including Amazon, Apple, Google, and Microsoft, and leverage these partnerships to create credibility and bolster business.
These personal assistants mark a new era of marketing in which consumers will begin using other senses (talk, touch, etc.) to discover new products. Marketers can leverage this technology trend to create highly personalized shopping experiences and differentiate themselves from the ‘noise’.
Marketers will have the opportunity to experiment and test a variety of different technologies in 2017. The key is to make technology work for a particular brand and messaging, and not the other way around. Find what makes the most sense for your brand, products, and consumers and go from there.
Learn more about integrating emerging tech trends into your B2C marketing strategy with Emarsys’ eBook, “5×5: 5 Marketing Predictions for the Next 5 Years”.