The past several years have brought about sweeping changes in business technologies from main stream adoption of AI and voice activated devices to AR and VR solutions. Personal assistants power multiple devices and the internet of things push companies to keep up or get left behind. As emerging technologies push forward, consumers are getting use to a level of service, unimaginable just a few years ago. Millennials and Gen Z’ers have grown accustomed to being able to customize everything, get it the next day, and return it with no ramifications.
All of these technological advances are changing the way business is conducted at a base level and automation is finding its way into everything from marketing to warehousing. To cap it all off SEO is becoming increasing qualitative. Since quantitative factors can be gamed to beat the system, giants like Google and Amazon have decided that just because your company has an excellent keyword and schema strategy, doesn’t mean your business is the best at what it does. Both are relying more on qualitative factors like customer conversions, customer reviews, and even the amount of foot traffic you have at your physical locations. Amazon and Google get set to square off as the Ecomm arms race continues to escalate and Zero Click ECommerce becomes ground zero for these platforms to gain your business. Zero Click Ecomm allows you to book a service or buy a product from your home speaker or phone without leaving the Google or Amazon platform or going through a traditional checkout process.
In order to succeed, businesses need to be flexible, adapt to a changing landscape and meet consumer expectations. What often is not addressed, however, is whether a business should adopt these technologies and how to decide which ones make sense. With development costs for custom built consumer-based apps starting at 100k and lead times over 3 months, todays CITOs and CEOs need to drive innovation, protect it, and capitalize on it just to stay ahead of the competition. Three technologies or revolutions that every business needs to consider right now are Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and Zero Click Ecomm.
- Artificial Intelligence (AI): No matter what generation you are from, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has impacted you in some way. The old chess playing robot Deep Blue project, with origins dating back to the 80’s, has evolved into the advanced systems like IBM Watson and Amazon Lex. Once highly guarded proprietary systems, AI platforms have become open and friendly to developers with systems capable of learning and driving results. Today Artificial Intelligence drives consumer interactions through website and texting platforms. Many automated marketing platforms are incorporating AI to make sure that your advertisements reach the people most likely to purchase your product.
AI is an emerging tech that all businesses need to put on their short list. PWC predicted that AI will help marketing solutions based on Big Data and we already see business systems like Buxton incorporating AI into their mapping models. AI is advancing science, marketing, and business management, AI has the power to predict results, improve ROI, and save money.
- Augmented Reality (AR): Augmented Reality is becoming a game changer for many industries, however, what exactly is it and how does it benefit modern business? Many people I talk with still confuse Augmented Reality with Virtual Reality (VR). Virtual Reality is a 3D environment, a complete virtual world that is immersive where the consumer is fully rendered inside a digital space and requires somewhat cumbersome electronics like headsets and haptics to complete the experience, (á la Ready Player One).
Augmented Reality (AR) is much more practical and prevalent. AR allows the consumer to change things about their real environment with the assistance of technology, usually a phone app or integrated web tech. The beauty space has flocked to AR to allow consumers to virtually try on make up or change their hair color such as the YouCam Makeup – Magic Selfie Cam showcased at the 2019 CES show. These are practical solutions to consumer pain points, allowing them to try before they buy. AR can help a consumer choose furniture, car accessories, and more, as they look in real life on themselves or in their own house as opposed to how they think they will look be online images. Wayfair has been leading the charge in this space and revealed at Shoptalk that they are digitizing much of their online inventory and converting them into interactive images.
- Zero Click Ecomm: Zero Click Ecomm isn’t tech, but it is a revolution. Powerhouses Google and Amazon are going head to head for your business and it is a two-pony race. According to an Adeptmind Survery, 46% of product searches originated on Amazon compared to 34% originating on Google. Amazon has been dominating the global Ecomm market, proving a long tail strategy can be immensely successful. As they grow, Amazon is bringing that level of innovation into the brick and mortar world with automated checkout and account based transactions. Google however has not given up. They may be behind in product search originations, but according to Statista.com 63% of all searches still start with Google. Google’s goal over the next couple of years will be to have you never leave the Google Platform. Google’s technology investments in Google Business, Google Merchant, Google Manufacturer, Google Reserve, and Google Analytics, allows business to list their location, sell their products, book their services, advertise their wares, and track their ROI, all without ever leaving the Google Suite.
As business tech evolves and progresses, business need to keep pace to avoid becoming obsolete. The good news is that as the tech advances so do the solutions, and many software companies are building out of the box solutions for various industries to bring you up to date. There are AI solutions for customer service, marketing, and management. There are AR app builders who can help you utilize the technology for your consumer solutions, even if your company hasn’t been keeping up to date. It will be every CEOs responsibility to provide the vision of how the tech fits into their organization and CITOs and CMOs will be integrating the technology and pushing it even further. If we embrace the change, we will be able to do more and achieve higher ROIs with deeply satisfying consumer experiences. Artificial Intelligence will make sense of Big Data, Augmented Reality will provide the ultimate customer experience, and Zero Click Ecomm will make the transaction process easier and simpler, bringing more ROI to companies with the vision to utilize the technology and avoid digital irrelevance.
About the Author
Greg Forsythe is the Senior Director of Branding and Innovation for Deka Lash and serves as a marketing consultant and advisor for the beauty and wellness industries. Greg has directed commercial projects for Fortune 100 clients such as Wal-Mart, CVS, Verizon, Kroger, Walgreens, Johnson and Johnson, and UPS. Greg studied Operations Management at Penn State before obtaining his Marketing Certification from The Wharton School.