Top tech trends for marketers
Advanced technologies are changing the face of marketing. The reality is that consumers are constantly evolving how they interact with brands, with products and with purchasing. And much of this is shaped by new functional technologies, some of which were revealed at the all-important consumer electronics show, CES, earlier this month.
In its 51 year and with 4,000 exhibitors, the annual exhibition in Las Vegas is a great place to spot big and small trends. As expected much of what was on display concerned itself with smart homes, cars, wearables and crucially smart cities to integrate tech within the public space. There were a whole host of Internet of Things (IoT) proposed here – ideas and devices that connect over the internet, talk to us, to applications and one another other. These include retail experience from a small screen, augmented reality-enabled mobile devices and virtual showrooming.
The overriding message is that brands need to adapt to the changing nature of consumption. They need to be flexible and not too rigidly connected to one type of technology. D-commerce (digital-commerce) is the new term to combine e and m-commerce. It seems, shopping purely on-line is no longer the preferred route. Instead, increasingly companies are taking a more multi-channel, holistic approach to include on-line presence, physical shops and advanced technology to allow the transaction to take place anytime, anywhere with as little effort as possible.
This is an argument that has been on the scene for some time. Yet it has become even more evident that the retail space needs to engage more with the consumer, providing excitement, experiences, friendship and a sense of community. Much like social media platforms, they will increasingly become a forum for sharing thoughts and ideas. This could involve experimental retail, spaces that are artistic, pop-ups and temporary structure in unusual locations to excite and create brand awareness.
Amongst the IoTs on display at CES were advanced TV sets. Predicted to remain the centre of the household and the base for connectivity, they appeared in all shapes and sizes. For instance, integrated in fridges for a smart refrigerator that can do your shopping.
Elsewhere, the big players are competing for the smartest smart home virtual butler. Amazon’s Alexa was installed in the bathroom mirror to show how we can pass commands through voice and gesture to our smart home appliances. Meanwhile, Google revealed its competing voice-activated virtual assistant Google Assistant. Top TV brands Sony and LG showed how this device functions within their gadgets as did some of the carmakers in their entertainment systems for hands-free access to Google apps.
What is apparent is that technology is no longer only here to deliver communication. The various ecosystems by Google, Amazon and Apple offer a complex consumer journey. Therefore, it is vital for companies to understand the impact of artificial intelligence and other software in how consumers make decisions, and how new devices impact on behaviour, which is no longer as straightforward as predicted.