2016 was another banner year for Connected Consumers, who saw a number of new technologies emerge in a variety of categories across the marketplace. Virtually every industry is adapting to a customer base that is becoming increasingly connected, changing the way they have conversations and relationships with brands. But new connected products and services do not come without their challenges, which typically revolve around user experience and consumer awareness.
Connected consumers of today are changing the existing value system and harnessing technology to reinvent themselves, their lives and their communities. And the three key drivers of these changes are freedom, acceleration and intimacy. It is obvious that trends in technology are growing and expanding rapidly… so, how can you maximize the opportunities that Connected Consumers offer?
In the smart home category, there’s no shortage of offerings available, but the adoption of smart home products has been pedestrian thus far. Our global study indicates that the appeal is there, but the benefits need to be more clearly communicated to consumers, who lack familiarity with the smart home category. To find success, product developers must understand the varying needs in specific markets and communicate how smart home technology can seamlessly enhance the lives of consumers.
The travel and hospitality industry is getting smarter. Invisible analytics, wearables, virtual reality and other technologies are revolutionizing the way that people research, shop for and experience travel. From smart hotels to sporting events and music festivals, the connected traveler is able to unlock the world as they go, providing travel brands with new ways to engage them. But disruptive competition and an overcrowded marketplace remain common roadblocks. In the quest for customer loyalty, the companies that take a holistic view of each step of the purchase journey will be successful in understanding and anticipating market developments.
In the Future of Retail, shopping isn’t all digital. Connected Consumers still embrace the role of the store, shopping as much for an experience as for a product. But online shopping offers another dimension, where Connected Consumers can compare prices and don’t have to wait in line to make a purchase. Successful retailers will combine the positive facets from both channels, streamlining online shopping while also delivering on the promise of the in-store experience.
While retailers experiment with omnichannel shopping, fashion and lifestyle brands are experiencing a revolution of their own. Whether a pure online player, a local hero or a traditional fashion retail chain, it is vital to understand how consumers are changing in order to anticipate and prepare for the next season and beyond. New paths to purchase have opened the door for competition, expanding the fight for customer loyalty to new frontiers. Making sure your brand can be found and amplifying it with social media are ways to take control of the shopper’s purchase journey, but don’t forget the crucial role of the store.
Financial services are another category being revolutionized by Connected Consumers. From mobile payments to digital banking, Connected Consumers demand that their financial institutions are proactive and transparent. Connected devices will play a key role in the future of payments, but players in the market must establish and communicate the importance of data security to build trust before adoption truly takes off.
Broadcast and print media has gone digital too, changing the way that Connected Consumers experience content and the devices they experience it on. Media measurement is now more complicated than ever, with cross-device usage varying between markets and sociodemographics. Programmatic advertising allows brands to deliver messages that resonate by building a single customer view that puts individual consumers at the center of marketing.
From brick and mortar stores to online shopping, and from inside the home to travels abroad, connected devices are changing the way that we see and interact with the world. However, for innovation to truly thrive, Connected Consumers must be put at the heart of the connected revolution.
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