tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:/topics/big-data Latest Big data content from Econsultancy 2017-01-13T13:27:41+00:00 tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68704 2017-01-13T13:27:41+00:00 2017-01-13T13:27:41+00:00 10 mind-boggling digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>You’ll find news on content marketing formats, abandonment emails, customer retention and social media. Don’t forget to download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium/" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for lots more.</p> <h3>72% of marketers value data analysis over social media skills</h3> <p>According to a new report by BlueVenn, 72% of marketers consider data analysis to be the most important skill to acquire in the next two years.</p> <p>From speaking to over 200 marketers in the US and UK, BlueVenn found that understanding customer data is considered far more vital than the likes of social media and web development, with just 65% and 31% of respondents citing these respectively.</p> <p>This appears to be an especially common view in larger businesses, where a lack of tools and access to technologies is the biggest barrier.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3043/BlueVenn.jpg" alt="" width="740" height="475"></p> <h3>Abandonment emails sent after one-hour boost conversion</h3> <p>New stats from SaleCycle show that the best time to reconnect with shoppers is one hour after they’ve abandoned their basket.</p> <p>From the conversion rates of 500 global brands, an average conversion of 6.33% was seen after one hour, compared with just 3.14% when sent before one hour and 3.41% one to two hours after.</p> <p>As well as timing, research also found that personalisation is a big factor in email success, with subject names that include the customer name seeing the highest open-rate.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3048/Email_time.JPG" alt="" width="314" height="522"></p> <h3>Two-thirds of UK consumers willing to use robots for banking</h3> <p>‘Robo-advisors’ is not a term we’ll be adopting any time soon, however, according to new research from Accenture more of us will be willing to accept the concept in future.</p> <p>Apparently, it refers to the robots used to offer financial or banking advice in place of real-life humans. And according to a survey of UK consumers, 68% are willing to use them.</p> <p>The reasons behind the demand for this type of technology is speed and convenience, with 40% citing this factor for using it. Lastly, 25% see the impartiality of robo-advice as a key attraction, with this figure rising to almost one third in those over 65.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3047/Robots.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="397"></p> <h3>Instagram Stories grows to 150m daily users</h3> <p>Despite initial reservations from users, Instagram Stories continues to grow, with the feature adding 50m more daily users since October.</p> <p>According to other recent stats, a third of the most-viewed stories come from businesses, and one in five stories on Instagram result in a direct message. </p> <p>Lastly, 70% of video views are reportedly played with the sound on (though this does not include Live Stories).</p> <h3>Original data is the best-performing type of content marketing</h3> <p>A survey by Clutch has uncovered the types of content that marketers believe leads to greater success.</p> <p>17% of respondents said that infographics perform the best, while 18% cited research or original data – both trumped other formats like blog posts and video.</p> <p>In terms of promotion, 85% of content marketers cited paid distribution, such as social media, PPC and native ads as the most effective tactic, over-and-above organic efforts. This reflects the strategies of most marketing agencies, with 71% using paid distribution tactics most frequently.</p> <h3>Nearly 20% of online retailers lost out to rivals over Christmas</h3> <p>According to the latest JDA/Centiro report, many retailers failed to meet the growing consumer demand for convenience during the 2016 Christmas period.</p> <p>19% of online Christmas customers shopped at alternative retailers due to stock unavailability and delivery time constraints.</p> <p>While use of click-and-collect services has somewhat plateaued, it is mostly seen as a way of avoiding delivery charges, with 53% of consumers recently using it for this reason.</p> <p>The report also found that many people suffered problems with click and collect last Christmas, with long waiting times due to a lack of staff having a negative impact on the experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3045/Click_and_Collect.jpg" alt="" width="350" height="571"></p> <h3>Valentine’s Day presents big opportunity for retailers</h3> <p>With Black Friday and Christmas out of the way, many retailers are turning their attention towards the next big holiday.</p> <p>According to stats from Bing, Valentine’s Day presents a huge opportunity, after an estimated $19.7bn was spent last year (and an average of $146 per person).</p> <p>However, it’s not just humans that can expect a gift or two. $681m was reportedly spent on pets for Valentine’s Day last year, giving pet retailers a good reason to get on board in 2017.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3046/Valentines_Day.jpg" alt="" width="483" height="229"></p> <h3>Instagram most important platform for marketers</h3> <p>In more Instagram-related stats, it’s been revealed as the platform marketers will invest the most in this year.</p> <p>Research from Greenlight shows that 70% will focus on Instagram, while 40% of marketers will invest in Twitter. </p> <p>Interestingly, older marketers are placing less importance on social platforms, with 50% of professionals who are over the age of 50 reporting no plans to invest in Instagram and 58% saying the same for Snapchat. </p> <h3>Generation Z bored by standard digital ads</h3> <p>According to a study by Kantar Millward Brown, generation Z (i.e. consumers aged between 16-19) have high expectations when it comes to digital advertising, preferring ads that allow them to interact or make a decision.</p> <p>When it comes to ads that prompt viewers to vote, generation Z reported a positivity score of 31%, compared to just 25% from generation Y. </p> <p>Generation Z were also found to actively dislike invasive ad formats like non-skippable pre-rolls. However, interruption appears to be a big bugbear for all age ranges, with the majority of people installing ad blockers due to this reason.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/3044/AdReaction.jpg" alt="" width="740" height="399"></p> <h3>Customer retention is down 7% globally</h3> <p>From a global study of more than 24,000 consumers across nine industry sectors, Verint and IDC has found that customer retention dropped by 7% last year.</p> <p>Overall, this appears to be down to consumers who prefer using digital-based companies displaying less brand loyalty than those who engage with businesses on a human and one-to-one level.</p> <p>49% of digital customers have been with providers for more than three years compared with 57% who prefer to go in-store.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68689 2017-01-11T10:07:00+00:00 2017-01-11T10:07:00+00:00 How the beauty industry is embracing the Internet of Things Nikki Gilliland <p>With the recent launch of L’Oreal’s smart hairbrush, it is clear that the beauty industry is tapping into the internet of things (also known as IoT) and embracing connected devices.</p> <p>Offering the chance to create an enhanced and interactive user experience, could this technology be the next big thing to infiltrate the beauty world?</p> <p>Here’s a bit more on how brands are getting involved.</p> <h3>Development of augmented reality</h3> <p>Before we get onto connected devices, it’s worth noting that it’s not the first strand of new technology within the beauty industry. Augmented reality has also been a big trend, with the likes of Urban Decay creating their own AR apps to give consumers a chance to pre-test products.</p> <p>L’Oreal Paris is another successful example. Its AR-powered beauty app, Make Up Genius, turns iPhone screens into mirrors to over-lay make-up onto the user’s face.</p> <p>It might sound like a gimmick or <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68059-should-pokemon-go-give-marketers-hope-for-augmented-reality/" target="_blank">Pokemon Go-style</a> fad for beauty fans, but with over 11m downloads, the app has proven to be a great success.</p> <p>By giving users the ability to try and test products before they buy, it offers greater value for consumers, solving common problems like finding the right shade or type of foundation. What’s more, it also gives consumers the opportunity to get expert or professional advice, resulting in a far more personal and customised experience all-round.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2918/L_Oreal_Make_Up_Genius.JPG" alt="" width="630" height="367"></p> <p>Due to the app's popularity, it’s been suggested that Make Up Genius technology could soon be integrated into household devices like bathroom mirrors.</p> <p>This is where the internet of things comes into play, with the opportunity for beauty and healthcare brands to expand their presence into homes and everyday personal care routines.</p> <p>With the arrival of L’Oreal’s smart brush – this concept doesn’t sound too farfetched.</p> <h3>Connectivity to enhance customer experiences</h3> <p>By using sensory technology, L’Oreal’s smart brush aims to help consumers improve their haircare. It tells users about specific texture or moisture and alerts them when they are brushing too hard.</p> <p>Essentially, it is a connected device that is designed to give the user greater levels of control and expertise.</p> <p>With a price point of around $200, the brush (which is due to launch mid-2017) certainly doesn't come cheap. The question is – will consumers be willing to pay just as much for a beauty device as they would a smartphone?</p> <p>The beauty industry is clearly hoping that technology-minded consumers (and fans of luxury) will embrace it.</p> <p>Of course, let’s not forget that electronic-based beauty has been overtaking manual processes for years, with everything from electric toothbrushes to face cleansing devices becoming more popular. Consequently, integrating connectivity-based features is an obvious next step.</p> <p>As well as being electronically powered, devices like L’Oreal’s smart brush and Oral B’s connected toothbrush allow users to become well-informed – monitoring, tracking and measuring performance. It's not about necessity, but about making life easier.</p> <p>Plus, with beauty and skincare industries overlapping with health and well-being, we’re likely to see more connected devices geared around lifestyle habits and trends, ranging from sun exposure to even things like stress and pollution.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2919/Oral_B.JPG" alt="" width="630" height="400"></p> <h3>Benefits for brands</h3> <p>For brands, the ability to gain insight into customer behaviour is undoubtedly the biggest benefit of connected devices.</p> <p>IoT technology lets companies like L’Oreal track exactly what their customers are buying and, in turn, re-target them for future purchases.</p> <p>Instant feedback and opinion is also another valuable aspect, which is harder and slower to gather from online purchases. Meanwhile, IoT creates a much richer and more memorable experience for consumers, ultimately proving the value of their shared data. </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">This Year's Haircare Must-Have? The Smart Brush <a href="https://t.co/O8cfhkiA9n">https://t.co/O8cfhkiA9n</a> via <a href="https://twitter.com/BritishVogue">@BritishVogue</a> <a href="https://t.co/VcLlmGXOj9">pic.twitter.com/VcLlmGXOj9</a></p> — L'Oréal USA (@LOrealUSA) <a href="https://twitter.com/LOrealUSA/status/817093281729290240">January 5, 2017</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>With the prediction that <a href="http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2905717" target="_blank">25bn connected 'things' will be in use by 2020</a>, many industries are beginning to realise the potential of IoT. </p> <p>For the beauty industry, it presents the next opportunity to revolutionise the everyday routines of consumers, ramping up personalisation and increasing value.</p> <p><em><strong>Related reading:</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67839-how-l-oreal-uses-personalisation-to-increase-brand-loyalty/" target="_blank">How L’Oreal uses personalisation to increase brand loyalty</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/a-marketer-s-guide-to-the-internet-of-things/">A Marketer's Guide to the Internet of Things</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68612-how-the-internet-of-things-will-fundamentally-change-marketing/">How the Internet of Things will fundamentally change marketing</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68690 2017-01-10T14:42:41+00:00 2017-01-10T14:42:41+00:00 How three travel brands deliver superior customer service Nikki Gilliland <p>This reflects how the travel sector is leading the way in terms of customer experience innovation. KPMG even commented that “within this sector there is something of an arms race, as companies work hard to woo the more affluent passenger or customer, in particular.”</p> <p>So what exactly are travel brands doing?</p> <p>Here’s a look at a few examples.</p> <h3>Service via social media</h3> <p>Marriott hotels is one brand with a great social media presence.</p> <p>In fact, it has increased its focus in this area with its recently launched M-Live Studio in London – a centre for creating real-time content and generating social engagement with consumers.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2921/M_Live.JPG" alt="" width="630" height="354"></p> <p>Instead of simply reacting to users on Twitter or responding to customer demand, M-Live enables the brand to seek out and tap into conversations online and increase levels of personalisation.</p> <p>It does this by talking about cultural and topical subjects, as well as promoting motivational and inspirational content to engage users. Meanwhile, Marriott often puts its customers in the spotlight, by sharing and replying to those who post positive travel stories online. </p> <p>This might sound like run-of-the-mill <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/65478-how-20-top-uk-retailers-handle-social-customer-service/" target="_blank">social service</a>, but Marriott’s laser focus in this area is what makes it stand out from competitors. </p> <p>A <a href="https://www.lireo.com/how-customer-service-can-impact-your-business-infographic/" target="_blank">2015 study</a> found that customers who feel engaged by companies on social media are likely to spend up to 40% more with them than other customers. For travel brands, this extends to loyalty, with travellers even more likely to return if an experience is positive.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Bill Marriott: Take the vacation you deserve; in the end it makes you more fulfilled. <a href="https://t.co/JgRzPZvab9">pic.twitter.com/JgRzPZvab9</a></p> — Marriott Internat'l (@MarriottIntl) <a href="https://twitter.com/MarriottIntl/status/813809710822354944">December 27, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>Retail experiences</h3> <p>While there has been a decline in the high-street travel agent, with online booking services becoming the most popular way to book holidays, we’ve also seen an increase in the demand for <a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/intensive-mastering-customer-experiences/">immersive customer experiences</a>.</p> <p>Virgin Holidays is one brand that has reacted to this by rolling out V Room, its travel outlet concept, in multiple shopping centres across the UK.</p> <p>Designed to look and feel like an airport lounge, V Room aims to provide the one-to-one experience of a travel agent but elevates it to create a truly unique customer experience.</p> <p>With an intangible product, travel brands are recognising the importance of making experiences come alive for consumers. V Room does just that, aiming to give visitors a slice of a Virgin Holiday before they’ve even booked.</p> <p>With a bar for cocktail tasting and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67834-why-virtual-reality-is-the-ultimate-storytelling-tool-for-marketers/" target="_blank">VR technology</a> to give people a view of a destination – it focuses more on the immersive aspect than the actual transaction or booking process.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2923/V_Room.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="399"></p> <h3>Practical functionality </h3> <p>As well as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67952-five-tourism-websites-guaranteed-to-give-you-wanderlust/" target="_blank">inspiration and wanderlust</a>, many travel brands are realising the importance of reducing stress and hassle of holidays, using digital technology to help facilitate the customer journey. </p> <p>Singapore Airlines uses its mobile app to do just that, relaunching it with a real focus on simplifying the customer experience. Now, users can access an integrated flight schedule, see real-time updates on flight statuses and keep track of loyalty rewards.</p> <p>While it's not unusual for airlines to have their own apps, Singapore Airlines has shown its intent to innovate – also launching a separate app specifically for the Apple Watch.  </p> <p>This also demonstrates the brand’s understanding of its customer base, with the airline clearly targeting the aforementioned affluent traveller.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X8embLqZTb0?wmode=transparent" width="600" height="338"></iframe></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>For many travel brands, a superior customer experience is often the key to long-term success.</p> <p>By meeting or even pre-empting the needs and desires of travellers, be it through social media engagement, immersive technology, or even <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68678-the-impact-of-artificial-intelligence-on-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">artificial intelligence</a> - many will increase positive brand sentiment and the chances of long-term customer loyalty.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68688 2017-01-09T14:42:12+00:00 2017-01-09T14:42:12+00:00 Four key features to appreciate about Google Trips Nikki Gilliland <p>Google Trips is designed to be every traveller’s ‘personal tour guide’ – but what sets it apart from other travel apps?</p> <p>Here’s a look at some of its key features.</p> <h3>Organisation in one place</h3> <p>While Google Flights wants to disrupt sites like Kayak and Skyscanner (i.e. the places people go to book), Google Trips aims to take the reins immediately after this point, helping travellers to plan and organise their holidays.</p> <p>Once users sign in using their Gmail accounts, the app provides a list of past trips as well as future ones, keeping things like hotel and flight details all in one place. </p> <p>As you might expect, with the same style and design of Google's 'Nearby' search funtion, it's pretty easy to use. And this convenience appears to be one of its biggest selling points – not to mention a reason existing Google account holders might naturally feel inclined to download the app.</p> <p>With more than <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2016/02/01/gmail-now-has-more-than-1b-monthly-active-users/" target="_blank">1bn monthly active users</a>, Gmail gives Trips a ready and waiting audience. So unlike other travel apps such as TripAdvisor or Lonely Planet, it offers the unbeatable incentive of tapping into a service many of us already use and adding a whole heap of extras on top.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2883/Google_Trips_3.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2884/Google_Trips_4.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>Inspiration </h3> <p>Curating travel plans is not Google Trips’ only draw. It’s also designed to offer inspiration, using its ‘Things to Do’ feature to offer a wealth of information about hotspots, restaurants and pretty much everything you need to know about an area.</p> <p>The amount of detail offered is impressive. Again, unsurprising considering Google's gargantuan pool of data.</p> <p>Google has certainly covered all bases, ensuring users will reach for the app during both advanced planning and while in-the-moment.</p> <p>Users can map out daily itineraries, delving down into deeper information such as walking distances and even how long tourists typically spend in locations. There's also a nice real-time element, too. If you’re using it online, the app will update weather conditions, offer relevant suggestions and even give random recommendations if you fancy going off the beaten track.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2887/Google_Trips.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2889/Google_Trips_2.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>Map integration and utility</h3> <p>Another significant feature of Google Trips is the map function, which allows users to easily access Google Maps directly from the app. </p> <p>This functional aspect is very welcome. While many people already use Google to discover nearby places, the tech giant is clearly hoping to be a one-stop travel shop, so to speak, joining the dots in the over-arching 'Google' user experience.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2885/Google_Trips_5.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"> <img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2886/Google_Trips_6.PNG" alt="" width="300" height="532"></p> <h3>Offline feature</h3> <p>Lastly, one of my favourite features in Google Trips is the fact that it can be used offline.</p> <p>Users have the option to download itineraries and information to refer to at a later date, solving the problem of international data charges - one reason many people fail to use travel apps while abroad.</p> <p>I've only recently discovered that Google Maps can actually be downloaded already - a fact which Google apparently doesn't like to advertise too much. With Google Trips, however, this comes to the forefront, with the feature being nicely highlighted to let users know that it is there.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/ign2GmVEflw?wmode=transparent" width="560" height="315"></iframe></p> <h3>In conclusion...</h3> <p>So, will Google Trips spell trouble for the likes of TripAdvisor?</p> <p>With popularity and loyalty towards the latter already being well-established, Google might have its work cut out convincing travellers that it can provide the same kind of knowledge and travel expertise. Likewise, let's not forget that Google Trips does not allow bookings from within the app, meaning the user experience will be disrupted at this point.</p> <p>Having said that, with its attention to detail, there's a lot to entice users back. Data is obviously where its real strengths lie, and combined with a familiar interface and easy-to-use design, it could mean a successful step up for Google's travel presence.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68678 2017-01-09T14:07:00+00:00 2017-01-09T14:07:00+00:00 The impact of artificial intelligence on the travel industry Nikki Gilliland <p>More specifically, the use of artificial intelligence in the travel industry. Why? Well, it’s already making waves. </p> <p>Providing travel brands the perfect opportunity to connect with consumers and enhance customer service - we’ve seen a number of businesses experimenting with the technology.</p> <p>Here’s how, along with a few of the most interesting examples to catch my eye.</p> <h3>Customer service</h3> <p>Customer service can make or break a hotel’s reputation. Consequently, AI’s ability to pre-empt and predict exactly what the customer needs and wants is one reason why hotels are cottoning on to the idea.</p> <p>Hilton is one of the most well-known examples, last year teaming up with IBM’s Watson to create Connie – a robot that provides help and information to hotel guests during their stay.</p> <p>Connie works by drawing on information from Wayblazer – a travel advice tool that also uses Watson – as well as human speech. Essentially, the more people talk to Connie, the more it will be able to interpret and analyse natural language.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/jC0I08qt5VU?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <p>It’s certainly an original and innovative new concept for guests. The question is – will people be put off by speaking to a robot rather than a human?</p> <p>According to a <a href="http://press.travelzoo.com/robophiles--robophobes--britons-divided-over-use-of-robots-in-travel" target="_blank">recent study by Travelzoo</a>, this is becoming less of an issue as time goes on. From a survey of more than 6,000 travellers, it found that two thirds of respondents would be comfortable with robots being used in the travel industry.</p> <p>What’s more, 80% expect robots to play a part in many aspects of life by 2020.</p> <h3>Data analysis</h3> <p>Dorchester Collection is another hotel chain to make use of AI. However, instead of using it to provide a front-of-house service, it has adopted it to interpret and analyse customer behaviour in the form of raw data.</p> <p>Partnering with technology company, RicheyTX, Dorchester Collection has helped to develop an AI platform called Metis.</p> <p>Delving into swathes of customer feedback such as surveys and reviews (which would take an inordinate amount of time to manually find and analyse) it is able to measure performance and instantly discover what really matters to guests.</p> <p>For example, Metis helped Dorchester to discover that breakfast it not merely an expectation – but something guests place huge importance on. As a result, the hotels began to think about how they could enhance and personalise the breakfast experience.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">The first cup of the day is the best... <a href="https://twitter.com/TheDorchester">@TheDorchester</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Parcafe?src=hash">#Parcafe</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Coffee?src=hash">#Coffee</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheDorchester?src=hash">#TheDorchester</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/DCMoments?src=hash">#DCMoments</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/London?src=hash">#London</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ParkLane?src=hash">#ParkLane</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/LuxuryHotels?src=hash">#LuxuryHotels</a> <a href="https://t.co/FL505EmlaF">pic.twitter.com/FL505EmlaF</a></p> — Nathan Lewis (@_Nathan_Lewis_) <a href="https://twitter.com/_Nathan_Lewis_/status/803941091112288256">November 30, 2016</a> </blockquote> <p>With 81% of people believing that robots would be better at handling data than humans, there is also a certain level of confidence in this area from consumers.</p> <h3>Direct messaging</h3> <p><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/" target="_blank">Chatbot technology</a> is another big strand of AI, and unsurprisingly, many travel brands have already launched their own versions in the past year or so.</p> <p>Skyscanner is just one example, creating a bot to help consumers find flights in Facebook Messenger. Users can also use it to request travel recommendations and random suggestions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2811/Skyscanner.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="528">  </p> <p>Unlike ecommerce or retail brands using chatbots, which can appear gimmicky, there is an argument that examples like Skyscanner are much more relevant and useful for everyday consumers.</p> <p>After all, with the arrival of many more travel search websites, consumers are being overwhelmed by choice – not necessarily helped by it. </p> <p>Consequently, a bot like Skyscanner is able to cut through the noise, connecting with consumers in their own time and in the social media spaces they most frequently visit.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2812/Skyscanner_2.JPG" alt="" width="300" height="523"></p> <h3>Future potential</h3> <p>So, we’ve already seen the travel industry capitalise on AI to a certain extent. But how will it evolve in the coming year?</p> <p>Here are a few suggestions:</p> <h4>Business travel</h4> <p>Undoubtedly, we’ll see many more brands using AI for data analysis as well as launching their own chatbots. There’s already been a <a href="https://skift.com/2016/10/11/expedia-plans-to-use-artificial-intelligence-for-customer-service/" target="_blank">suggestion that Expedia is next</a> in line, but it is reportedly set to focus on business travel rather than holidaymakers.</p> <p>Due to the greater need for structure and less of a desire for discovery, it certainly makes sense that artificial intelligence would be more suited to business travellers. </p> <p>Specifically, it could help to simplify the booking process for companies, as well as help eliminate discrepancies around employee expenses. </p> <p>With reducing costs and improving efficiency two of the biggest benefits, AI could start to infiltrate business travel even more so than leisure in the next 12 months.</p> <h4>Voice technology</h4> <p>Lastly, we can expect to see greater development in voice-activated technology.</p> <p>With voice-activated search, the experience of researching and booking travel has the potential to become quicker and easier than ever before. Similarly, as <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68499-the-problem-with-voice-user-interfaces-like-amazon-alexa/">Amazon Echo</a> and Google Home start to become commonplace, more hotels could start to experiment with speech recognition to ramp up customer service.</p> <p>This means devices and bots (like the aforementioned Connie) could become the norm for brands in the travel industry.</p> <p><strong><em>Related articles:</em></strong></p> <ul> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67745-15-examples-of-artificial-intelligence-in-marketing/" target="_blank">15 examples of artificial intelligence in marketing</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68466-could-ai-kill-off-the-conversion-optimisation-consultant/" target="_blank">Could AI kill off the conversion optimisation consultant?</a></em></li> <li><em><a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68158-five-ways-artificial-intelligence-can-help-marketers-enhance-the-customer-experience/" target="_blank">Five ways Artificial Intelligence can help marketers enhance the customer experience</a></em></li> </ul> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68683 2017-01-09T10:33:22+00:00 2017-01-09T10:33:22+00:00 What can marketers learn from Amazon Go's customer experience? Nikki Gilliland <p>Shoppers are simply required to scan smartphones as they enter, leaving Amazon’s “just walk out” technology to detect exactly what’s being taken and charge it to their Prime accounts.</p> <p>It’s one of the first ever examples of a truly seamless customer experience - a trend that’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68652-ecommerce-in-2017-what-do-the-experts-predict/" target="_blank">predicted to be big</a> in the world of ecommerce this year.</p> <p>So, what can we learn from the concept? </p> <p>Here’s a few factors for marketers to consider.</p> <h3>Getting out of the customer’s way</h3> <p>According to Amazon, the store uses a combination of “computer vision, deep learning algorithms and sensor fusion” to create a seamless experience for customers.</p> <p>The concept of walking into a store and out again without any interaction with employees or payments might sound alien – but it’s designed to make shopping as hassle-free as possible.</p> <p>It’s also the antithesis of many retail marketing strategies.</p> <p>Instead of interrupting customers as they use technology, or asking them to interact with the brand online (“like our Facebook page”), Amazon wants the technology to stay hidden (though you do need to have downloaded Amazon's app beforehand).</p> <p>From the success of companies like Uber and <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68375-airbnb-how-its-customer-experience-is-revolutionising-the-travel-industry/" target="_blank">Airbnb</a>, it is obvious that customers crave this kind of hands-off approach. Likewise, they also favour utility and practicality over anything else. </p> <p>With brands that offer a value proposition based on ease and simplicity dominating their fields, Amazon Go aims to provide customers exactly that – without shouting about it.</p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NrmMk1Myrxc?wmode=transparent" width="854" height="480"></iframe></p> <h3>Avoiding over-personalisation</h3> <p>By keeping track of the customer’s every move, Amazon Go will enable the brand to deliver more data-driven marketing than ever before.</p> <p>As customers, we’re used to waiving the right to privacy online, with the knowledge that brands draw on our browsing and buying behaviour in order to deliver targeted messages.</p> <p>In fact, this is now an expectation, with consumers desiring <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68285-six-things-to-consider-when-implementing-personalisation/" target="_blank">greater personalisation</a> for an improved service. Think Spotify's curated playlists or Netflix's movie recommendations. </p> <p>For the first time ever, however, Amazon Go means consumers will waive their right to privacy while shopping in person. From what we put back on the shelf to the route we take while walking around the store – this information is all up for grabs.</p> <p>From a marketing perspective, this also means there is the temptation to over-egg personalisation to the point of being creepy. As a result, issues over consumer privacy could potentially be its downfall.</p> <p>Of course, retail stores have been attempting to track customers for a while, but past examples show that it’s not always accepted. US retailer Nordstrom was previously forced to stop using WiFi to monitor movement in physical stores due to uproar from customers. </p> <p>A few years down the line, will it be any different?</p> <p>Retailers do appear to be recognising that success lies in an intelligent and relevant use of data – not just blind targeting or technology for the sake of it.</p> <p>For Amazon Go, clever targeting executed in a non-intrusive way is the aim, but the question remains whether or not customers are ready and willing to accept it.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2835/amazon_go.jpg" alt="" width="650" height="433"></p> <h3>Altering brand perceptions</h3> <p>The Amazon Go experience does not simply end in-store. Data could be used to serve customers even more targeted offers and personalised recommendations on-site.</p> <p>This connection between the online and offline world is evidently another reason behind the ecommerce brand’s foray into retail. </p> <p>After all, a physical experience is often a much better way to create a human connection with customers - especially for a brand like Amazon, which doesn’t exactly offer the most emotionally engaging experience online.</p> <p>With a bricks-and-mortar store, it has the opportunity to break down customer expectations – namely that Amazon offers a single type of service – and reveal a completely new way of interacting with the brand.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p lang="en" dir="ltr">Just finished my first trip to <a href="https://twitter.com/AmazonGoAmerica">@AmazonGoAmerica</a> !!! Looooved it!! Who's jealous??? <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AmazonGo?src=hash">#AmazonGo</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Amazon?src=hash">#Amazon</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/HappyAmazonian?src=hash">#HappyAmazonian</a> <a href="https://t.co/huRrtBUXHJ">pic.twitter.com/huRrtBUXHJ</a></p> — M (@ThusSpokeLadyM) <a href="https://twitter.com/ThusSpokeLadyM/status/808758908705587200">December 13, 2016</a> </blockquote> <h3>In conclusion…</h3> <p>Amazon’s cashier-free store is by no means a guaranteed success.</p> <p>Currently available for Amazon employees and due to open to the public in the near future – it is an experiment that could easily be shelved. </p> <p>However, it’s certainly an exciting development for the future of retail, and gives marketers an insight into how a seamless experience could lead to greater engagement and satisfaction from consumers.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68686 2017-01-06T14:40:18+00:00 2017-01-06T14:40:18+00:00 10 stirring digital marketing stats from this week Nikki Gilliland <p>This week’s dose includes news about the internet of things, TV ads, and entertainment sales.</p> <p>Don’t forget – you can download the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/internet-statistics-compendium" target="_blank">Internet Statistics Compendium</a> for lots more.</p> <h3>Holiday shopping generates $91.7bn in online sales </h3> <p>Adobe has revealed the total number of online sales from the Christmas period.</p> <p>November 1st to December 31st generated $91.7bn in online sales - an 11% increase year-on-year.</p> <p>Mobile brought in $28.43bn in revenue, which is a 23% increase from 2015. Figures also show that mobile drove 50% of visits and 31% of purchases.</p> <p>While there was an increase in sales, shipping costs were down, going from an average of $2.60 in 2015 to $2.50 in 2016.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2866/Holiday_spend.jpg" alt="" width="760" height="411"></p> <h3>Older consumers prefer rational marketing</h3> <p>A new study by the Journal of Advertising Research has found that older consumers have a clear preference for rational rather than emotional ads.</p> <p>While 49.7% of audiences under 50 preferred a rational advertisement compared to 50.3% favouring an emotional ad, this was significantly increased among those over 50, with 63% preferring the rational example.</p> <p>Insight suggests that this should inform marketing activity, with logical and knowledge-based appeals being much more effective for prompting older consumers into action.</p> <h3>One in five digital leaders consider their organization digitally mature</h3> <p>Clearhead recently undertook a survey of 150 ecommerce executives, aiming to find out the state of digital maturity with organizations.</p> <p>The results showed that there is still a significant gap between the desire for personalization and the processes and capabilities necessary to execute it, with just one in five leaders considering their companies as ‘digitally mature’.</p> <p>What’s more, despite the obvious desire to be data-driven – with 81% of retailers having purchased or built the technology required for testing programs – just 17% of online retailers have a path to develop personalized experiences for customers.</p> <h3>36% of consumers unfamiliar with IoT</h3> <p>According to a new study by Yahoo, consumer understanding of the Internet of Things (IoT) is below par, with many in the dark as to what the term actually means.</p> <p>Despite 70% of consumers currently owning a connected device, 36% still don’t know what IoT is. </p> <p>However, it appears many are keen to learn, with 41% of survey respondents interested in expanding their knowledge of the subject. </p> <p>The group with the highest level of understanding is teens and millennials, with video games and consoles the most popular connected device.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2867/IoT.JPG" alt="" width="493" height="407"></p> <h3>Increasing importance of customer service</h3> <p>Salesforce has released its latest <a href="http://salesforce.com/stateofservice" target="_blank">State of Service report</a>, delving into how service teams are responding to increasing customer demands.</p> <p>The most interesting stats from the research revolve around how collaboration within companies is key to delivering the best customer service. </p> <p>In fact, in a survey of more than 2,600 customer service professionals, 78% of respondents agreed that every employee is an agent of customer service. </p> <p>However, despite this level of recognition, there’s still room for improvement, with just 63% of service teams having a formal process in place to collaborate with sales.</p> <p>Alongside collaboration, service teams also recognise that a single 360-degree view of the customer can lead to greater productivity, with 79% agreeing that this helps to provide consistency and continuity in every customer interaction.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2870/Customer_Service.JPG" alt="" width="596" height="474"></p> <h3>One third of consumers actively choose to buy sustainable goods</h3> <p>A new study by Unilever has discovered how sustainability affects the purchases of 20,000 adults across five different countries.</p> <p>The results found that 33% now actively choose to buy from brands considered to be sustainable, while 21% would be more likely to choose brands that clearly promote sustainability credentials on packaging and in marketing.</p> <p>Consequently, Unilever predicts that the sustainable goods market is worth an average of £817bn in untapped sales.</p> <h3>'Personal assistants' is the top marketing search of 2016</h3> <p>Microsoft’s Bing Ads has released the top marketing-related searches of 2016.</p> <p>Due to greater advances in <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/67894-what-are-chatbots-and-why-should-marketers-care/" target="_blank">chatbots</a> and virtual assistants like Alexa, Cortana and Amazon Echo, personal assistants and AI saw the biggest interest.</p> <p>The top five include:</p> <ol> <li>Personal Assistants/ Intelligent Agents</li> <li>Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality</li> <li>Search Marketing</li> <li>Artificial Intelligence </li> <li>Content Marketing</li> </ol> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2868/Bing_top_searches.jpg" alt="" width="537" height="268"></p> <h3>54% of consumers plan to buy a new smartphone this year</h3> <p>After a three-year low, an Accenture survey of 26,000 consumers has found that smartphone purchases are set to rise again this year.</p> <p>54% of the consumers surveyed said they plan to buy a smartphone in the next year - a figure up from 48% last year. </p> <p>Insight suggests that this demand is largely fuelled by better security, new functions and improved performance, with 51% of consumers planning to buy a new phone to access the newest and most innovative features and functions.</p> <p>Similarly, 45% of consumers cite inadequacy of their current device as motivation.</p> <p>While there is growing demand for smartphones, purchases of connected devices like smartwatches and fitness monitors are predicted to remain sluggish, mainly due to high prices and concerns about the privacy of personal data.</p> <h3>DFS dominates TV advertising over New Year</h3> <p>TVTY has analysed more than 80,000 TV spots from the Christmas and New Year period, revealing the brands that invested the most in the medium.</p> <p>Furniture company DFS came out on top with more than 1,200 spots over Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. </p> <p>With a further 900 messages on New Year’s Eve and Day, the brand totalled 2,159 TV broadcasts.</p> <p>Other dominant brands over New Year included Confused.com and Thomas Cook, which both aimed to capitalise on consumer interest in holidays and finance. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2869/TV_spots.jpg" alt="" width="226" height="467"></p> <h3>Digital entertainment overtaking physical sales</h3> <p>According to new figures from the Entertainment Retailers Association, digital sales of games, music and video are now overtaking physical sales in the UK.</p> <p>74% of game sales are digital, and 57% of music revenues are derived from digital services like downloads or streaming.</p> <p>In total, digital revenues jumped 23% to £1,309.3m in 2016.</p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68676 2017-01-04T11:44:47+00:00 2017-01-04T11:44:47+00:00 10 important stats from Econsultancy's 2016 research Nikki Gilliland <h3>Agencies predict low growth rates for 2017</h3> <p>The <a href="https://www.econsultancy.com/reports/digital-agency-rate-card-survey-2016/">Digital Agency Rate Card Survey 2016</a> revealed that predicted year-on-year growth in the UK has reached an all-time low.</p> <p>From an online survey of 398 UK digital agencies, it found that the proportion of agencies expecting their businesses to grow by over 50% has more than halved in the last two years, going from 24% in 2014 to 11% in 2016.</p> <p>Meanwhile, agencies predicted that their daily rates will grow by an average of just 2% this year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2738/Digital_Rate_Card_Survey.JPG" alt="" width="600" height="564"></p> <h3>Disparity between customer needs and marketer capabilities</h3> <p>Our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/customer-recognition-how-marketing-is-failing-at-its-top-priority">Customer Recognition Report</a> highlighted how marketers are falling short on customer experience management due to a lack of digital capabilities.</p> <p>While up to 84% of marketers cite identifying users, personalizing messaging and measuring impact as “very important to growth,” only 10%-14% are able to deliver in these areas.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2739/Customer_Recognition.JPG" alt="" width="649" height="491"></p> <h3>60% of marketers lack a cooperative culture</h3> <p>In the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/trends-and-priorities-in-the-media-and-entertainment-sector/">Trends and Priorities in the Media and Entertainment Sector</a> report, the biggest barriers for digital transformation were found to be organisational factors.</p> <p>59% of marketers said they lack a cooperative culture, while 49% said management is against investing in data and tech, and 46% said that boards fail to understand digital strategy.</p> <p><em><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2745/Trends_and_Priorities_Media.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="473"></em></p> <p><em>You can find out three further priorities for marketers <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68129-four-urgent-priorities-for-marketers-in-media-entertainment" target="_blank">in this article</a><a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/trends-and-priorities-in-the-media-and-entertainment-sector/" target="_blank">.</a></em></p> <h3>Companies to increase CRO budgets this year</h3> <p>In October, our <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/conversion-rate-optimization-report/" target="_blank">Conversion Rate Optimization report</a> was released, looking at the strategies companies are using to improve conversion rates.</p> <p>With 52% of companies seeing a significant increase in sales from adopting a structured approach to data, research also found that over half of companies plan to increase their CRO budgets this year.</p> <p>This appears to be an effective strategy, with 73% of those who have already increased their budget seeing a marked improvement.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2742/CRO.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="470"></p> <h3>84% of influencer research is carried out manually</h3> <p>At the beginning of 2016, Econsultancy published the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-rise-of-influencers/">Rise of Influencers report</a> in association with Fashion &amp; Beauty Monitor.</p> <p>Exploring the role influencers play in the fashion and beauty industries, it found that there are some big challenges for brands navigating this new marketing realm.</p> <p>According to the survey, finding the right influencer is one of the biggest tests, with 84% of research being carried out by manually searching platforms like Facebook and Twitter.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2743/Influencers.JPG" alt="" width="343" height="629"></p> <h3>74% of agencies are working with celebrities</h3> <p>The <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-future-of-celebrity-marketing/">Future of Celebrity Marketing report</a> further reflected the growing demand for both social media stars and high profile personalities.</p> <p>While 74% of agency respondents said that they are already working with celebrities, a further 12% said that they aim to embark on a celebrity endorsement within the next year.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2751/Celebrity_Marketing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="419"></p> <h3>35% of organisations believe technology is key to understanding customers</h3> <p>At every level of maturity, organisations agree that having the right technologies for data collection and analysis is key to understanding customers.</p> <p>This statistic comes from the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/secrets-of-elite-analytics-practices/" target="_blank">Secrets of Elite Analytics Practices</a> report, which also found that the more advanced the analytics capabilities, the more adept companies are at sharing knowledge between teams.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2744/Secrets_of_Analytics.JPG" alt="" width="637" height="587"></p> <h3>48% of organisations do not have a mobile strategy</h3> <p>Despite the fact most organisations agree that mobile deserves a strategic approach, last year's <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/digital-intelligence-briefing-taking-advantage-of-the-mobile-opportunity/">Digital Intelligence Briefing</a> found that nearly half are failing to put this into practice.</p> <p>The report explained how even the 20% that do have a well-defined mobile strategy are not making the most of customer analysis, proving the untapped potential of data.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2748/Digital_Briefing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="536"></p> <h3>Email rated top for ROI</h3> <p>2016 marked the 10th anniversary of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/email-census-2016/">Econsultancy's Email Marketing Industry Census</a>.</p> <p>In an online survey of 1,150 marketers in February and March, 73% of respondents ranked email marketing as 'excellent' or 'good' for ROI.</p> <p>Increasing from 66% in 2015, this meant that email marketing was ranked 9% higher than SEO (organic search).</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2749/Email_marketing.JPG" alt="" width="640" height="544"></p> <h3>B2B marketers lack confidence in CX</h3> <p>Last May saw the release of the <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/the-tension-in-b2b-customer-experience-management/">Tension in B2B Customer Experience Management report</a>, highlighting how B2B organizations are improving the customer experience.</p> <p>Surprisingly, despite B2B companies realizing that they're being evaluated on the same level as consumer brands, just 16% believe customers rate their CX on a par with B2C.</p> <p>Internal silos and a lack of long-term strategy were reported to be just two of the reasons why.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2750/B2B_CX.JPG" alt="" width="690" height="574"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68641 2016-12-20T14:00:00+00:00 2016-12-20T14:00:00+00:00 Mobile marketing in 2017: Five expert predictions Nikki Gilliland <p>If you want to learn more about mobile marketing, be sure to check out the following resources from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-marketing/" target="_blank">Mobile Marketing Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/mobile-user-experience-mobile-marketing/" target="_blank">Mobile UX (User Experience) &amp; Marketing Training</a></li> </ul> <h3>1. Contextual marketing</h3> <p><strong>Carl Uminski, Co-Founder &amp; COO at SOMO Agency:</strong></p> <p>I foresee a greater emphasis on context for marketing through third party or OS level apps. </p> <p>Apple’s emphasis on providing access to third parties through its owned services such as Maps, Siri and iMessage in iOS10 creates a new opportunity to market to people during the process of performing an activity – and these ‘contextuals’ are likely to be more easy to convert than via reach alone. </p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2430/Mobile_marketing.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="363"></p> <h3>2. Location-based services</h3> <p><strong>Martin Harrison, head of strategy at Huge:</strong></p> <p>Location-based services. Simple things like being able to see, split and pay the bill via mobile.</p> <p>Obviously, there will be a huge amount of badly targeted 10% off offers, but the road to hell is paved with good intentions, isn’t it?</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2427/Splittable.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="388"></p> <h3>3. Smart speakers</h3> <p><strong>Carl Uminski, SOMO Agency:</strong></p> <p>The launch of Google Home and the continuing success of Alexa provide new platforms for users to engage with brands via voice.</p> <p>Voice interfaces will continue to grow and grow in 2017, particularly with the launch of Pixel, Google Home and Alexa’s continuing improvement. </p> <p>Brands that aren’t in some way embracing the different interactions afforded by voice when compared to touch will lose out as it becomes more ingrained in consumer behaviour and starts to dominate specific types of interaction, such as commands, searches and questions.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2428/Echo.JPG" alt="" width="450" height="452"></p> <h3>4. Integrating UX</h3> <p><strong>Steffan Aquarone, author of Econsultancy’s <a href="https://econsultancy.com/reports/mobile-marketing-best-practice-guide/">Mobile Marketing Best Practice Guide</a></strong></p> <p>I think a lot more mobile teams will be better organised to be able to work with user experience in mind.</p> <p>Constantly testing, getting feedback, building better products and then getting stuff out there - rather than trying to just plan and launch like in the late 2000s.</p> <p>I also see many of the principles of good product design becoming increasingly relevant to the way modern organisations organise themselves.</p> <h3>5. Push notifications</h3> <p><strong>Martin Harrison, Huge</strong></p> <p>I think push notifications could be the new pop-ups, with the caveat that some are useful, therefore the ones that are not useful will be even more infuriating.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2429/Push_notification.JPG" alt="" width="650" height="439"></p> tag:www.econsultancy.com,2008:BlogPost/68611 2016-12-19T14:00:00+00:00 2016-12-19T14:00:00+00:00 What were the biggest ecommerce trends in 2016? Nikki Gilliland <p>For more on this topic, check out these training courses from Econsultancy:</p> <ul> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/topics/ecommerce/" target="_blank">Ecommerce and Online Retailing Training</a></li> <li><a href="https://econsultancy.com/training/courses/conversion-optimisation/" target="_blank">Conversion Optimisation - How to Deliver Digital Growth Training</a></li> </ul> <h3>Focus on the 'customer experience'</h3> <p><strong>Paul Rouke, founder &amp; CEO, PRWD:</strong></p> <p>This is extremely healthy, although “being customer-centric” is easier said than done. In 2016, there were only a small number of brands who recognised how crucial it is to speak to their customers (and potential customers) one-to-one.  </p> <p>Only a minority of brands know exactly what motivates their customers, how their customers behaviour is changing, and what they can do to differentiate themselves from their competition (and delight visitors at the same time). </p> <h3>Personalisation and data</h3> <p><strong>James Gurd, Owner of Digital Juggler:</strong></p> <p>The increased used of data to tie-up customer touch points has led to better targeting and personalisation, both in marketing campaigns (e.g. personalised product recommendations) and on websites (e.g. surfacing relevant content and products based on user profiles).</p> <p>A smarter focus on data has also resulted in better use of automation technology, for example building lifecycle email campaigns around customer path to purchase journeys.</p> <p>Similarly, techniques like order gap analysis have helped people to understand when different types of customers are most likely to make a purchase or rebuy, and then allow them to schedule campaigns to target people when they’re most likely to be receptive.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2169/ASOS_recommendations.JPG" alt="" width="780" height="390"></p> <p><strong>Matt Curry, Head of Ecommerce at LoveHoney:</strong></p> <p>Technologies, and ecommerce's employment of them, have matured.</p> <p>I think we've seen personalisation used more intelligently this year. It's no longer considered good enough to stick some product recommendations on a page and call it personalisation, or have a set number of <a href="https://econsultancy.com/blog/68431-how-to-combine-attribution-and-segmentation-data-to-achieve-marketing-success/">segments</a> you're personalising for. </p> <p>We've had technology to change experiences on the fly based on user behaviour for some time, but now it's finally being used.</p> <h3>Fast and flexible delivery</h3> <p><strong>Depesh Mandalia, CMO of ToucanBox:</strong></p> <p>One of the biggest growing trends has pivoted around delivery - providing customers with both flexibility and speed. </p> <p>This is important because not everyone is crying out for the fastest delivery, but you can bet that most will want flexibility. What use is next day, or even same day delivery, if you're not around to receive it? Choosing a time range and day is the most empowering. </p> <p>Food delivery businesses have mastered this – of course they wouldn’t be able to operate without it - but next year ecommerce can really step ahead in nailing the convenience factor.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2168/amazon_delivery.jpg" alt="" width="724" height="483"></p> <h3>Website optimisation</h3> <p><strong>Paul Rouke:</strong></p> <p>This is a clear sign of progression of the slow (but steadily maturing) digital industry and how more brands are now recognising the importance of adopting a test and learn culture to continually enhance their online experience.</p> <p>Steve Webster, Head of Ecommerce at Steinhoff UK, has recently said to me in late 2016, “in 2017 we will be undertaking a full ecommerce platform review, and core to our next platform will be its ability to support continuous, strategic experimentation.”</p> <p><strong>James Gurd:</strong></p> <p>Perhaps the least heralded trend has been greater focus on technical performance optimisation of websites – getting the infrastructural and underlying engineering right to improve the customer experience, speed up sites and minimise outages. </p> <p>I know CX teams who have put much more stringent quality control criteria in place for new developments, so any negative impact on page speed is picked up and resolved before release to live.</p> <p>I think this was demonstrated by the limited number of ‘Shock as Brand X website crashes’ stories over Black Friday weekend – 2014/2015 saw much higher incidents of major downtime.</p> <p><img src="https://assets.econsultancy.com/images/0008/2170/Body_shop_black_friday.JPG" alt="" width="750" height="364"></p>