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Emerging Technology Is Changing How Retailers Do Business

Jennifer Bosavage
October 11, 2019

3 minute read

Retail marketers are busy people. They’re responsible for getting new customers while keeping existing ones, as well as improving the customer experience while raising brand visibility.

The Commerce Next/Oracle Customer Experience report, “How Leading Retailers and Direct-to-Consumer Brands Are Investing in Digital,” found that as new technologies are on the rise, marketers are reevaluating how they spend their budgets, with 65% reporting that their 2019 budgets have increased over last year’s.

Implementing emerging technology is an increasingly popular way to increase brands’ personalization efforts, including through customer data platforms (CDPs), chatbots, and artificial intelligence (AI). Here’s how traditional and direct to consumer (DTC) brands are investing in this emerging technology to acquire, keep, and personalize to the modern customer.

Unlocking the challenges

Ecommerce marketers are still not satisfied with their ability to gain a single view of the customer and personalize the customer experience, according to the research. Emerging technology, like CDP, is key to unlocking those challenges.

At a time when a customer can have numerous touchpoints and interactions for just a single item, CDPs makes sense out of all that data. This emerging technology aims to provide a unified view of customers’ behaviors. According to the study, the top innovation investment priority in 2019 for all ecommerce marketers surveyed, regardless of whether they are traditional or DTC, is in CDP.

For the upcoming holiday season, according to the report, brands are increasing their investment in technology, including artificial intelligence and customer data platforms, as they work to implement or improve personalization strategies. And while digital native brands are earmarking more budget for these investments than their traditional retail competitors, traditional companies are looking to invest in technology that will help them integrate existing technology with emerging technology to see the improvements needed to compete in the market.


Benefits of chatbots

Chatbots and other implementations of artificial intelligence are also popular investments, according to the research, with 55.6% of DTC brands and 41.1% of traditional retailers increasing that budget.

According to Drift’s 2018 State of Chatbots Report, 64% of customers cited potential 24-hour service as a benefit of chatbots, followed by instant responses (55%) as well as quick resolution to complaints (43%).

The technology, powered by AI, sets a foundation for an effortless experience; chat can be omnipresent, residing within an app, messenger tool, or website. And the ability to immediately communicate with a company saves a customer time and energy. A more streamlined process leads to happier customers as well as employees who can focus their time on helping others’ unique needs or on more strategic initiatives.

To compete effectively and meet consumer expectations, successful brands are using emerging technology on the store floor, as well as in the back office, and at all the customer touchpoints in-between. This is particularly important for attracting and retaining digital native customers, who have grown up using technology, and expecting a seamless, intuitive experience.

When retailers capitalize on the opportunity to architect a new technology-fueled, customer-centered shopping experience, they are more likely to understand and have the ability to cater to customers — who they hope will show their appreciation with their brand loyalty.

Jennifer Bosavage
Jennifer Bosavage
Jennifer Bosavage is a Connecticut native and has been writing about technology since the fax machine debuted. While Jen has covered IT, retail, and customer satisfaction for many years, she also has an undercover history as a Secret Shopper.
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