COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption rate of emerging technologies at a staggering rate as companies look for new ways to engage with customers. Luckily, 2021 will see the rise of many exciting new technologies that will have an immediate impact on customer experience.
The desire for customer-to-customer engagement in a virtual world is sparking the steep rise in technology adoption.
Below are three important tech trends on how emerging technology will permanently impact customer experiences and why this is important for retailers.
Trend: 5G will connect retailer to customers in bigger ways
Thanks to 5G technology, connectivity has reached a critical point where Internet users are no longer limited by bandwidth and processing power. 5G is allowing for faster data transfers, less latency with connections, and more versatility in the types of devices that can be connected. Qualcomm estimates that there will be 25 Billion 5G connections by 2025.
What will 5G unlock for retailers?
1. Increased throughput with data to end-user devices means bigger and more immersive experiences directly into the hands of customers. More brands will be integrating HD video and VR/AR into the customer experience.
2. Selling both in the virtual world and physical world will become a more immersive experience as compared to traditional eCommerce experiences.
3. The ability to create more real-time experiences will eliminate friction when trying to bridge the physical and virtual worlds. Expect to see more interaction between products on shelves and with companion experiences located on devices.
4. More bandwidth will unlock more processing power since it can be pushed into the cloud vs local devices (edge processing). Edge processing will empower much smaller devices to do more. This will increase the amount of “smart” physical spaces powered by a new generation of IoT technology.
Trend: AI will forever change the purchase funnel
2021 has seen an increase in technologies that help humans enhance critical daily functions. AI has slowly made its way to customers via apps, IoT devices, and in the form of robot helpers. Cameras, robots, and IoT devices are now being integrated into all aspects of our homes. 2021 will see a high adoption rate with these technologies as they prove to be beneficial and capable of reducing time spent on mundane tasks.
What will AI unlock for retailers?
1. Machine learning will now make it easier for retailers to connect with customers, understand their needs, and motivate them in ways that circumvent the traditional decision-making process.
2. More AI-based devices integrated into our homes in meaningful and helpful ways will allow for more sources of data beyond retail spaces.
3. Health will become a huge driver of everyday lifestyle as there are more opportunities for AI-integrated devices to help customers make more meaningful decisions. The benefit of health-related intelligence will dramatically shape the way we think about categories like food and fitness since customers can see the direct impact on their health as they interact with the physical world.
Trend: Home content creation will rival the pros
Although the behavior of creating content is not new to customers, emerging innovations will push the capabilities of production to the point where it’s impossible to distinguish between content produced at home versus in a studio.
What will home content production unlock for retailers?
1. Virtual customer-to-customer interactions, fueled by a desire to stay connected in a world that’s been forced to socially distance, will become the new form of entertainment for customers.
2. Hollywood-level content will no longer be limited to studios. We see this shift in camera and 3D production capabilities and with the proliferation of devices where this content can be created.
3. Emerging platforms for content creators to better capitalize on revenue opportunities.
4. New platforms will emerge as a result of the surge in the demand and production of community-based content. We are seeing this show up now with things like Peloton’s personal training platform and with live shopping community platforms. These new platforms will blur the line between social, shopping, and entertainment.