The future of consumer experience is on the cusp of great innovation

INFINITI LAB Accelerator 3.0 is seeking innovative solutions that enhance the consumer experience

consumer experience

With increasing technological advancement comes substantial changes in the way we live, work, behave, and engage with those around us. Innovation has shifted habits and experiences, and very little has remained unaffected.

One of the things that technology and innovation has greatly impacted is the consumer journey.

The consumer experience, as it stands now, is fragmented, what with the many channels currently in play. The digitalisation of businesses mean that brands can directly engage with consumers using various online platforms, consumers can purchase regardless of geography, and any contact from initial engagement to customer service can be recorded, tracked, and shared.

Also read: 5 ways you can improve your focus on customer engagement

Even in-store experiences are not untouched by technology, as brick-and-mortar businesses turn to online channels to reach a wider market to develop a consumer experience that does not end when the customer has walked out the door.

The downside, however, is that while businesses have access to a wider market, said market now also has access to more options. And while methods are becoming highly technological, consumers are becoming much more rooted on personal engagement. The question now is, in this increasingly innovative and competitive environment, how can businesses not only reach but retain their customers?

  • Experiment, but be strategic about it
    There are thousands of platforms available for you to use in reaching and engaging your market. It doesn’t mean you have to use all of them. Try using new channels to engage with your audience and use it as an opportunity to determine which of these yield better results.
    You can begin incorporating mobile solutions for payment and/or loyalty programmes into your process. You can try using social media to sell online. You can experiment with AR/VR in your marketing execution. IKEA, for example, is using AR paired with an app to help their customers see actual products instead of just a catalogue. The key is tracking the performance of the channels that you use, for you to eventually focus your resources on the ones that give you the most returns.
  • Engagement trumps reach
    When your audience engages with you, it signifies two things: interest and potential for interest. In marketing, remember that it is not enough to reach a wider audience. Consumers mostly prefer humanised engagement, even as they know that they are talking to brands and businesses. A fully engaged and empowered consumer base has a better likelihood of being repeat customers.
    This is mostly why online platforms have engagement-related features for businesses, like Facebook Messenger’s chatbot. You can even engage with in-store customers without necessarily adding to your workforce; robot advisers, digital tools that allow customers to view customised products, and offline-to-online loyalty programmes are just a few engagement strategies that you can employ.
  • Talk their language
    Understand your consumers. Know what they want and learn how to talk to them about it. Use the platform that they use and make it easy for them to reach you. Your job is to ensure that the whole process is something that the consumer finds easy, intuitive, and informative.
    Travel website Agoda, for example, has their personalised engagement down pat. Customers who abandon a cart will receive a reminder notification. Customers who search for a specific hotel or destination without heading to cart will receive an email containing recommendations for similar product types. They go to where their customers are, and use data and automation to engage at a personalised level.
  • Create relationships
    Customer service is a huge factor when it comes to retention. Consumers go back to businesses that ensure they are well cared for, even after purchase transactions. There are plenty of tools that uses various technologies – like AI, for example – to ensure that businesses will not be remiss in continuing engagement with their customers.
    Businesses have several automation tools at their disposal to ensure seamless operations like inventory tracking and pricing, and free up time that can be used to interact with customers. IoT, like smart tags, is helping retailers connect physical and digital worlds for more efficient processes that allow resources to be directed toward consumer experience instead of daily operations.

Also read: Engagement is key to growing your market and keeping customers happy

Propelling Ideas

This year, the INFINITI LAB Future Consumer Accelerator focusses on solutions that enhance the consumer journey and is looking for innovative startups and entrepreneurs offering customer experience, retail innovation, loyalty programmes, and customer retention solutions.

Startups chosen for the programme will be immersed in the innovation ecosystem in Hong Kong to establish a foothold and broaden their network in Asia as a foundation for future expansion. Throughout the programme, they will receive mentorship and expertise from INFINITI business leaders as well as the opportunity to interact with leading brands based in Hong Kong.

Furthermore, they will gain access to a network of investors, receive investment advice from Nest, as well as a chance to showcase their solutions and pitch to investors at a demo day.

One-on-one mentorship from INFINITI’s executive team will cover product strategy, retail network development, sales operations, and business intelligence, among other things. Flights and accommodations for the duration spent in Hong Kong will be covered by the programme.

Also read: 7 lessons for young entrepreneurs

INFINITI LAB, the innovation hub of luxury automotive INFINITI, believes in the power of entrepreneurship and innovation. Its programmes empower startups to achieve their full potential by providing mentorship, access to resources, and growth opportunities.

Having previously ran the INFINITI LAB, Smart Mobility programme in Singapore earlier this year, INFINITI LAB is growing its global footprint. The finalist of a pre-accelerator programme completed in Toronto, Canada, Rover Parking, with also be invited to Hong Kong to participate in the Future Consumer programme and work with the INFINITI HQ team.

The INFINITI Future Consumer Accelerator programme is accepting applications until August 28. Interested startups from around the globe can apply here.

 

Disclosure: This article was produced by the e27 content marketing team, sponsored by Nest VC.

The post The future of consumer experience is on the cusp of great innovation appeared first on e27.

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Author: Lyra Reyes,
Source: http://e27.co/consumer-experience-great-innovation-20170825/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+e27%2FKabk+%28e27+-+Discovering+Web+Innovation+in+Asia%29,
Puslished Date: August 25, 2017,
Published Time: 7:04 am