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Why we’ll see improved customer experience, legacy brands going digital and M&As galore this year

What will the rest of 2018 have in store for those in the retail and technology spaces?

By April Slattery

We’re now well into the first quarter of 2018 and have already seen a number of interesting digital tech-based developments from household brands looking to increase revenue and grow market share.

Kodak, for example, has announced it will be completely overhauling its business model and launching its own cryptocurrency, KodakCoin – a move which Atari has followed by announcing the ‘Atari Token’, its own attempt at jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. Alongside this, the BBC is partnering with Google to launch a new virtual reality experience inspired by Blue Planet II and TalkTalk has joined the race to get the UK up to speed with its plans for ultra-fast broadband services.

But what will the rest of 2018 have in store for those in the technology space? Here’s my take on why we’re bracing ourselves for a big year across the industry.

The seamless online shopping experience will make or break companies

Brands will start to take advantage of customers’ declining tolerance for anything but a seamless online shopping experience and business models will be changed to tap into this.

With this in mind, we will see a proliferation of the model used by internet giant Amazon – where organisations cut out the middleman, passing on their savings to consumers and champion a positive customer experience – applied to all types of businesses and models. Those who don’t provide a seamless experience however, will pay the price.

Transitioning brands will continue to snap up digital-first organisations

We can definitely expect to see more legacy retailers looking to accelerate their delivery of the seamless online experience through mergers and/or acquisitions.

Legacy organisations are starting to realise they’re on the back foot compared to their newer rivals whose business models are built around the cloud and, as a result, they will follow Dell’s acquisition of EMC and acquire more digital-savvy brands.

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Businesses must take a digital first approach.


Businesses will begin to apply insights from massive data sets

The big data revolution, as with most revolutions, got a little bit ahead of itself. In fact, the hype cycle certainly outpaced the reality. Where it has previously been very expensive and slow, tedious work to query data sets, all of a sudden it become incredibly cost effective and fast. While this was great for organisations, there was no real way to harness this power.

This year, however, we will start to see more organisations using incredibly powerful database tools which work behind the scenes, making it easy to integrate data and make informed business decisions on a more regular basis. This also means businesses can truly begin to utilise insights from these large data sets, applying one single source of truth, in a meaningful way.

Organisations will begin to create personal relationships with customers at scale

The most dynamic brands – especially those within the ecommerce space – are ones that establish and command deep and meaningful relationships with customers. It shouldn’t just be about selling products and services. Today, with the massive amount of data businesses are able to collect and analyse, businesses are starting to understand this.

As we progress through the year, we will see more businesses harnessing data to help their customers and create deeper relationships which now, mediated by data, can be accomplished at scale.

Why we’ll see improved customer experience, legacy brands going digital and M&As galore this year

Digital will make customer service simpler than ever.


Deals like Amazon and Whole Foods will transform the retail customer experience

Part of Amazon’s success has grown through consumers seeing the value in its ability to show them products people just like them are buying. It’s this predictive kind of information that, if Amazon can bring to the customers of Whole Foods, could become a game changer in the supermarket space in the US.

As retailers begin to understand this, we will start to see more technological innovations – usually driven by the likes of Amazon – applied to different markets. In doing so, those ordering their food shopping online could see features where they input suggestions such as ‘healthy eating’ and their stores making healthier suggestions for their ‘shopping cart’. Alongside this, we may also see retailers offering real-time discounts which will reduce abandoned baskets and increase transactions.

As global competition becomes increasingly rife, those who can deliver the most seamless, intuitive customer experience will come out on top – with advanced data analytics at the very heart of achieving this goal. We truly are on the cusp of something brilliant and this year will see more businesses embracing this change for the better.

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