Customer Experience Featured Article

The New Customer Experience: Predictions for the Future

June 05, 2014

Everyone knows just how much technology is in flux. Companies are constantly adapting to innovative new software, and the world of business is evolving. But the changes brought on by new technology don’t just impact businesses from within; they are also shaping the customer experience.

Jen Cohen Compton, CEO of the Philadelphia-based marketing company Something Creative, wrote an interesting article for Business 2 Business Community, in which she leverages her expertise with customer experience to make a few predictions for the future of the customer experience. Here are her top 10 predictions. Do you agree with her?

1. “What you want to buy will never be out of stock.”

Compton states that supply chains will be getting smart. Using advanced algorithms and innovative tools for data analysis, stores will be able to keep on top of demand with the greatest of precision. This will keep customers from coming across empty shelves.

2. “Everything will be exactly what you want.”

We already see it with smartphone covers, but customization is going to reach a whole new level. Soon everything, from dishwashers to fashion accessories, will have the option to add an individual flair to it. Companies are moving in this direction on their own, addressing the desire of customers, but technology is also pushing this forward, with 3D printers able to create any piece of art exactly to a customer's specifications.

3. “Online deliveries are delivered in less than 30 minutes... faster than a pizza.”

We've all heard about Amazon's plans to start using high-speed drones to deliver our orders with little wait. If this were to go through, our online orders would definitely come a lot faster. Yet, Compton even admits, there are a lot of difficulties with getting drones up in the sky. While its a nice dream, is this actually an accurate prediction. Right now, it doesn't look like its going to happen anytime soon.

4. “Can I tweet your order.”

This is really already here, companies are using every channel they can get their hand on to get some local marketing. Companies are using twitter and texts to handle the customer experience, allowing for easy orders, and cheap marketing options.

5. “Companies use people like you for product design.”

Another prediction that is already becoming quite common, with everyone connected to the Internet, everyone has an opinion and wants to have a say. Companies are capitalizing on this, inviting customers to get involved by asking them for their ideas and opinions on new designs.

6. “There’s something it in for you if you let your favorite brands get to know you.”

Companies are already doing it, collecting data on almost everything you do. Often, we get pretty creeped out by this, but Compton doesn't think it is all that bad. This data is used to tailor products and advertisements with their customers' desires in mind.

7. “The weather, demand, availability, and YOU can make prices fluctuate by the minute.”

This goes hand in hand with Compton's first prediction. As the companies collect data and use algorithms, they'll be able to know exactly what demand is, and using this data change prices almost instantaneously.

8. “Shop, buy, and return: Automation takes over retail stores.”

Forget dealing with cashiers and customer service, Compton believes that the move towards vending machines for companies like Best Buy (News - Alert), and self-service cashiers at supermarkets might lead to a more automated experience for customers all around.

9. “Keeping your personal information private may cost you.”

For those that don't want to let brands get to know them, options are being formed that will allow people to block their data from getting to customers. Compton believes people will even be willing to pay for such serves, yet she mentions how there are a few free options out there. The fact that reliable free services exists might mean that this won't become a major service people are willing to pay for.

10. “In-store shopping becomes as intelligent as online shopping.”

Brick and mortar stores need not fret, as Compton believes that new technology will allow on-site stores to become just as interactive as online stores. Her description sounds reminiscent of the movie “Minority Report,” but stores will be able to get data on customers and even customize the experience for them.

While some of Compton's predictions are already beginning to come true, others seem to be a bit farfetched, or at least not ready to come true within the near future. Yet, technology is growing, and it is definitely possible that what is a dream today may be a reality tomorrow.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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