Age of the Customer: Personalizing Commerce for Quality Experiences

The age of the customer is already here, if you haven’t noticed. Perhaps you’ve finally realized this in recent years after mistakenly placing too much attention on your business in your marketing and e-commerce. In today’s times, customers want an experience in their buying to enable them to learn and find products that help solve problems.

Just talking about how great your business is in your marketing isn’t going to tell a customer much about how you handle pain points. Yet, just a few years ago, this is probably where you were in your marketing campaigns.

At around this time three years ago, Forrester identified a major shift in the business world, one they still deem “the age of the customer.” They were right about this since many businesses now focus on digitally savvy, technology empowered buyers.

While all of this came true, there’s still room to grow. The foundation for evolving customer experiences further is already out there, and it’s important you understand what this means.

Much of this centers on using specific technology to keep your business alive. Let’s look at how blending analytics, technology (particularly AI), and design bring a way to evoke more emotion in the buying experience.

Customer Experiences and Revenue Growth

Clear evidence is available from Forrester that shows giving customers a real experience in commerce equates to better revenue. As such, this perhaps poses a direct threat to your business if you’re still doing things the same way after so many years.

It’s easy to become complacent, especially if you think everything new coming along in technology is just a trend. Evidence shows within the B2C world, customer experiences are going to matter more than ever for buying decisions.

One reason is, competition is far more intense in the consumer world. Customers have more options than ever on what they can buy. They need to take in more educational and personalized information to help differentiate between products.

Your products might have distinct features you need to play up to make them more personal for the buyer. However, it goes beyond your products and into communication, relationships, and bringing emotion to your marketing content.

How Does Emotion Play into the Customer Experience?

It’s a challenge to gauge emotion in a buyer, especially one that’s overly demanding in the products they buy. There isn’t any way to know exactly what a customer feels when searching or buying a product without some major technology to find out what they’re truly feeling.

One way is to use analytic tools giving results in real-time. In some cases, this might mean face-reading technology that can capture expressions in people when interacting with your products.

The more thorough your analytics, the fuller picture you’ll have of how to target buying experiences for your customers. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t have other technologies available to help you design customer experiences with the right approaches.

Applying Design to the Customer Experience

To show how creating customer experiences requires seemingly disparate technologies, design should become a major focus to make it successful. You’ll find many marketing experts note that design is the true future of customer experiences through the process of touchpoints in every product or service.

Eventually, we’ll start to see products using meaningful interactions with users. All of this works through packaging, online content, apps, e-commerce experiences, as well as some offline services like basic customer service.

Tech designers are going to have far more work time putting this all together, even though it still requires other technological innovation to employ these experiences. At this point, you might want to consider the rise in artificial intelligence and how it can aid dramatically in providing superior service.

How Does Artificial Intelligence Fit into the Picture?

You’ve no doubt heard plenty about artificial intelligence in the last year, and how it’s going to help our lives rather than merely control it. While we still see all the debates about what AI could and can do for us, one thing is definite: It can help create the customer experiences you need to attract loyal buyers.

At the center of this is AI using automation to keep customers engaged so it saves you time for other important business issues.

How can this work to power solutions placing customers at the center of every experience and interaction? Providing consistent and relevant one-on-one access across your marketing, sales, and service platforms is the key.

Some of this includes automated messaging bots and assisted self-service. AI can also help scale your customer service, especially on mobile devices. It allows you to adjust an experience for a particular customer based on personal requests or buying habits.

You can even deal in predictive pricing, something that can bring in designers, buyers, and merchandisers to set the pattern. They’ll be able to predict what customers want to pay, letting you implement this data into your AI platform for more competitive pricing.

The beauty of using AI here is you can set prices you know people want before they realize it. In this sense, AI (working with big data) can basically read the minds of customers to create the ultimate experience.

To a buyer, this might seem a little spooky. Yet, it’s the true future in shaping unique relationships to differentiate your brand from the crowd.