Top Customer Experience Trends for 2020

How has your customer experience changed over the past couple years? While some areas of your customer experience strategy may have remained the same, others have surely changed as technology advances and expectations shift.

In 2020, it will be more critical than ever to deliver exceptional experiences. According to Walker, customer experience will continue to reign supreme, overtaking product and price as the key brand differentiator in the new year. As you look to hone your customer experience strategy, here are some emerging trends to consider.

Brands will invest more in omnichannel experiences.

In PricewaterhouseCooper’s 2020 report, the number of companies investing in the omnichannel experience has jumped from 20 percent to more than 80 percent. From your website and mobile apps to social media and email, customer experiences will need to be consistent across all of the channels where your brand is present.

Ikea serves as a great example for brands looking to provide a consistent omnichannel customer experience. In 2019 alone, Ikea opened more stores, invested in a home delivery network, and launched a new app. Brands who achieve this level of omnichannel execution typically enjoy 10 percent year-over-year growth. For Ikea, the furniture retailer was able to reach an annual revenue of more than $40 billion worldwide.

Personalization will be held to higher standards.

Personalization is a customer experience trend that has been around for some time and will continue to be important for brands looking to retain customers in the coming years. Moving beyond using a customer’s name in email newsletters and placing product suggestions on websites, personalization will be raised to even greater standards in 2020.

One way brands can achieve this level of personalization is to leverage real-time customer data when making recommendations. Walgreens, for example, uses digital screens, cameras, and sensors in cooler doors to recommend specific refrigerated options to customers based on their age, gender, and the day’s weather. The coolers, then, might recommend ice cream on a hot summer day or beer to a customer 21 or older in age.

Chatbots will automate routine tasks.

Artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to play larger roles in customer experience for many brands. AI chatbots, specifically, will be more widely used in 2020. According to a Salesforce study, 23 percent of organizations used chatbots in 2019, with 53 expecting to do so by 2020—that’s 136 percent year-over-year growth.

Bots can help automate tasks for businesses, such as answering customer questions, processing payments, and even ordering food. This can help businesses provide the fast responses and 24/7 availability customers will expect in the coming years.

Customers will shop using voice assistants.

What started as answers to “Siri, what’s the temperature outside?” and commands like “Alexa, play country music” has grown into a trend that is seeping into the purchasing process. Voice commerce (also referred to as conversational commerce) will be a customer experience trend to watch in 2020.

Already, businesses such as Best Buy, Domino’s, and Uber have created their own Alexa skills to allow customers to make purchases via voice assistant devices. Retailers, such as Walmart and Target, are also teaming up with Google Assistant to let customers hear about sales, learn more about products, and find nearby stores. These are just a few examples of businesses leveraging voice shopping, but you can expect more brands to adopt this trend moving forward.

Augmented reality will optimize shopping experiences.

Augmented reality (AR) is another customer experience trend that will become more prominent. According to Gartner, 100 million consumers will shop using AR online and in-store by 2020, with nearly half of retailers planning to deploy AR solutions to meet customer experience requirements. According to a Retail Perceptions report, 61 percent of shoppers prefer to shop with brands that offer AR over ones that don’t.

Home Depot’s app, for example, allows customers to virtually see what products, such as doors, patio furniture, and faucets, will look like in their house after they’ve been installed. Similarly, Uniqlo’s dressing room mirrors allow customers to try on their clothes in different variations or colors.

Brands will create emotional connections with customers.

Soft skills like empathy, communication, and listening, have always been considered “nice to have.” However, as you continue to implement technology into your business operations and interactions, it will be even more important to bring human emotion into your customer experience.

According to Forrester, emotion remains the biggest driver of a great customer experience, outpacing ease and effectiveness. Brands can foster these emotional connections by practicing empathetic customer service skills by listening, being optimistic, and communicating clearly and effectively.

Measuring success will be critical for improvement.

The customer experience trends mentioned above can help put your company on the right track to acquiring and retaining customers in the new year. However, it will be critical to understand how customers perceive your brand and measure ROI as you continue to hone your customer experience strategy.

IntelliShop has the customer experience solutions to bring you unparalleled insight into how customers experience your brand. When you partner with us, we’ll take the time to understand the areas of your business you wish to measure and validate and use our findings to create a real and effective plan of action to improve your customer experience and provide a positive ROI. Contact IntelliShop today to request a consultation.

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