While experience optimization has emerged as an untapped opportunity in recent years, we’re seeing a dramatic increase in the true belief in its value. Infact, 95% of marketers now believe in the value of personalization and its potential to positively impact a business’ bottom line. As publishers, retailers, and marketers look to create powerful digital experiences,we’ve identified six trends that will dominate the quest to tailor every digital interaction.
1. A rise in cross-department collaboration
The need for product and engineering to collaborate with marketing functions is more apparent than ever, and organizations are now more likely to align these functions to streamline experience creation. More organizations will witness marketing and product management being owned by a singular executive, sharing development resources and ensuring priorities are aligned. Mapping out the responsibilities of each function will be essential to success, and orchestrating teams that design campaigns will have a noticeable impact on the customer experience for both new and returning customers.
2. A reliance on machine learning
Machine learning is hotter than ever, and at a period of time when organizations are tasked with processing millions of data points for experience delivery, tapping automated systems will become essential for success. With an ability to identify, aggregate, and process user and product data, organizations need machines to serve users the best possible variations, recommendations, and overall experience. And as humans begin to grow comfortable with relinquishing some control to machines, we expect this trend to continue to rise.
3. Increased buy-in from the C-suite
No longer solely a marketing team initiative, optimizing customer experiences will become a priority for entire organizations, starting with C-level executives. What was once known as experiments with notifications and A/B testing messaging creative has now become a sophisticated, full-fledged discipline – and one that provides a competitive advantage. As a result, expect more companies flagging experience optimization as an essential element of their digital investments.
4. Digitizing brick-and-mortar shops
From assessing options in-person to trying on outfits for a special event, some shopping experiences still depend on the physical, in-store experience, even as more consumers turn to online shopping. Endless opportunities to create immersive, in-store experiences have presented themselves over the years – from Amazon Go to e-stylists – and the potential for digitizing the physical world is limitless. Now, the common denominator among all of these emerging technologies is personalization, which will allow brands to better understand and connect with their customers, helping them crafter more engaging and pleasant user experiences.
5. Connecting the online and offline worlds
Merging offline and online experiences is one of the most sought after realities in the tech world. Organizations have a vision of being able to connect users across every possible touchpoint – not simply smartphones and websites, but also kiosks, IoT devices, and beyond. The ability to connect data points across each of these channels will allow marketers to craft truly exceptional, seamless experiences, dramatically impacting the user experience, as well as bottom lines. And by putting experience optimization at the center of these efforts, businesses will be able to completely transform customer-brand interactions as we know them.
6. Consolidating the marketing tech stack
As the challenge of personalization becomes more complex, requiring more data and moving parts to work together, marketers will gravitate toward solutions that can integrate all capabilities needed for experience optimization into a single platform. This means digital retailers and media publishers will seek to maximize their marketing technology budget, vying for an all-in-one solution that can deliver on all of their marketing needs, forgoing point solutions.
While the technologies and consumer demands driving these trends have been around for a while, we expect the emphasis on experience optimization to rise – especially in eCommerce. Although some organizations can afford to develop these capabilities internally, most enterprises will opt to buy web personalization and conversion optimization solutions rather than building the technology from scratch. To move quickly, marketers will need to focus on control, ease of use, and comprehensiveness when selecting a personalization solution that can meet and exceed their goals.