What does the future hold for the digital customer experience? Part 2

Sarah Beams

April 1, 2015

For the past fifteen years, the eRetail Benchmark from eDigitalResearch has been tracking and measuring every innovation and enhancement to the digital customer experience – from the introduction of mobile sites and apps to the growing use of responsive design.

The latest results reveal how continued development to digital touch points is having a positive effect on satisfaction – in the twelve months to January 2015, we saw a three per cent increase in overall multichannel customer satisfaction.

Leaders in the digital customer experience sphere are continually setting the bar higher and higher – but what does the future hold for the future of the digital customer experience?

We’ve already explored how service and fulfilment will become vital in the years to come but how will the inevitable increase in new technology effect the digital customer experience?

Predicting the future

Having benchmarked the digital arena for such a considerable timeframe (the first eRetail Benchmark was launched during the dawn of the eCommerce revolution back in 1999) makes identifying emerging trends within the retail sphere easier – we’re able to keep a finger on the pulse of consumer behaviour and advise the industry on what consumers like (and perhaps more importantly, what they don’t).

The digital revolution shows no signs of slowing down – and with new innovations continually around the corner, consumer use and confidence with digital channels is only going to grow.

Responsive design leading the mobile uprising

The uptake of responsive design by retailers means one thing – mobile sites are improving.

As smartphone penetration has grown in the UK (our quarterly tracking study shows that over 70% of the UK population now own a smartphone), mobile channels have become increasingly important. These days, with just as much traffic generated from mobile devices as desktops, brands are moving towards more responsive web design built around their mobile customers – mobile first if you will.

Retailers are now able to better manage their web and mobile experiences. It means that everything – from offers and deals to product pages – are consistent at all times. For perhaps the first time, retailers are now able to offer a truly seamless digital customer experience.

With the uptake of responsive design set to increase, we believe that web and mobile satisfaction will become more aligned with one another. In fact, we’re likely to see the day soon when the mobile customer experience outstrips its more established web counterpart.

Understanding customers to personalise experiences

Never before have brands known so much about their customers – from feedback and reviews to advanced digital analytics. Brands can (and should) be optimising their digital experience to each and every one of their customers.

Personalisation is becoming key. Amazon have been ahead of the curve in this arena for a number of years now, offering customers recommendations based on site browsing history, along with the introduction of their one click purchase – where Amazon mobile channels are able to store preferred payment and delivery options.

But this is just the beginning.

Spurred on by new innovations, such as beacon technology, the opportunity now exists for retailers to personalise everything – from deals and offers to advertising. Too often consumers are still bombarded with blanket marketing messages or sent special offers to products which they’ve shown no previous interest in.

Instead, with a growing amount of customer data at retailers fingertips, brands will start to offer users a shopping journey designed around their needs and preferences.

Instant gratification, instant delivery

For too long, retailers have been relying on their old logistics processes – processes that were put into place at the very beginning of the dotcom boom. Processes that are now under increased strain from the growing number of online orders and demand. Existing processes just don’t fit with that instant gratification that consumers now expect – they want what they want, when they want it.

But delivery is perhaps the one area where the majority of future developments lie. Innovations, such as 3D printing and drone deliveries, have the ability to revolutionise the delivery experience.

We can now see a day (although it’s still a bit hazy) when placing an order from your mobile will mean that retailers can pinpoint your exact location and send your package via drone to you within minutes. As crazy as it might sound, we’re already seeing companies and retailers push the boundaries of traditional delivery process – timed delivery slots or 90 minute deliveries are growing in popularity as consumers become increasingly demanding. We’re entering the age of instant delivery.

For more information on the digital customer experience, visit eDigitalResearch.com/eretail.