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Top 5 Digital Experience Predictions for 2019

So, I am not a fortune teller in my spare time. But I do think a lot about the state of digital customer experience and what the future might entail. Each year, consumer expectations around customer experience grows and companies’ abilities to deliver on those expectations are tested. Delivering effectively means painting a complete view of a customers needs and expectations and then exceeding them. Competitive advantages  arise from the ability to uniquely combine and derive insights from all the various sources of digital data. As Rebecca Liu, investment associate at Insight Venture Partners, said, “Marketers don't just want intel, they want intelligence.”

As we close out this year and look forward to 2019, here are my five thoughts on the future of digital experience:

1. Less Patience for Customer Data Silos

Due to the nature of large organizations and independent teams, isolated data sets are almost inevitable. But because of these disparate data sources, brands are prevented from being able to provide the cohesive experience that customers expect and lack the visibility into the complete customer journey (Its 2018, how are we still giving our phone number three separate times?). Delivering excellent experiences is dependent on understanding what was served to a customer, when, and how they reacted to it--covering all aspects of the experience: both technical (i.e. did an error occur or a page take too long to load?) and behavioral (i.e. how exactly did a customer interact with different aspects of a page?). Rather than chasing the next flashy feature, organizations will prioritize platforms that easily integrate with a wider ecosystem of customer data tools to develop a data rich digital customer experience stack.   

2. Active Security/Privacy

With the California version of GDPR and high profile mishaps like Facebook and Marriott, 2018 saw a renewed and redefined focus on privacy and security. As such, marketing technologies need to follow suit and prove their compliance or there could be severe consequences, both monetarily and in relation to a brand’s reputation. But it is not enough to simply create products where a human is responsible for making the software compliant after the fact - this can lead to unintended and sometimes high profile mistakes where the product still takes the blame. Security needs to be built into the DNA of the product. It is crucial that there are is an automated process for ensuring total and complete security of customer information.

3. 2019: The Year of the Customer Data Platform (CDP)

As we have previously noted, CDPs are trending in the tech world right now. With a constant overload of data, CDPs allow you to connect different sources to organize, standardize and take action on the data. Turning customer data into actionable insights and automating those use cases will be paramount to success. Personalization, as I will soon note, is another 2019 prediction but it entirely relies on being able to connect multiple data sources to create a holistic view of the customer experience. There will continue to be more ways to interact and connect with customers, putting pressure on enterprises to access and make sense of all of the disparate customer data points they collect and in turn use that data to improve the customer journey in real time.

4. Personalization Expectations

Personalization has been on the “prediction wire” for almost a decade and each year the flashy promise of 'hyper' personalization remains on the docket. But its delivery has been hampered up until now by availability and unification of customer data, but as noted above that is slowly changing. Consumers expect deep personalization from brands as part of the exchange of contributing their valuable personal data. But in order to deeply personalize experiences to match customer expectations, organizations will need highly advanced digital experience and analytics solutions. Digital experience intelligence is crucial to being able to deliver ultra-personalized journeys which in turn leads to long term brand loyalty and trust. A study by Accenture found that 83% of consumers are willing to share their data to enable a personalized experience--but brands need to be able to act on this data using the intelligent insights of an automated platform.

5. Singular View of the Customer: Offline/Online/Omnichannel

With ecommerce steadily gaining popularity in sales, it might be surprising to hear that in-store is still a key part of the shopping experience. In fact, digital and brick-and-mortar are melding together more and more each year. With smart mirrors in dressing rooms or kiosks at check-out lines, digital optimization is further extending into the store and it is getting  progressively difficult to truly separate online and offline experiences. Indeed, the popularity of ‘buy online pick up in-store’ only continues to grow, so the importance of a 360 degree view of the customer is essential to gain a true understanding of conversions.

Digital experience expectations and possibilities continue to grow and hurtle forward into the new year, increasing the importance for brands to employ a clear unified omnichannel view of the customer. Want to get ahead of the digital customer experience game in 2019? Reach out to us today!

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