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The Technology Takeover

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I feel really old this week. A friend posted the following on Facebook and I had no idea what he was on about:“Just tried my oculus headset that came with my new phone. I’ve just walked around Bono’s living room with him while U2 played in the background. Mad.”

Ocu what? Who? With a phone? Once again Google was my friend and I found out that it’s all about being immersed in a virtual world – gaming, movies, whatever you fancy really. I still can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that this beauty came with a phone but it got me thinking about how technology is influencing our consumers.

Game on.

We all know that customers are accessing our businesses in a multi-channel way but does technology really go further than that? Do consumers actually want to engage in a virtual reality just to save them a 20 minute bus ride down to their local high street?

Well according to Ericsson ConsumerLab they might just be doing exactly that. According to their report “10 Hot Consumer Trends 2016” all consumer trends – every single one of them – involves the internet. Quite a claim. They also say that even the most futuristic trends hit mass markets before you know it – lab one day, high street the next. And this all means that we should all pay attention to technology, even if we don’t think it’s relevant to our business (does anyone still think that?).

Everyone’s a star.

One of the biggest trends is in internet videos – namely those streaming giants YouTube. Apparently 20% of young adults watch – wait for it – three hours of YouTube videos per day. Three hours! I only used to be allowed 1 hour of TV after homework so feel particularly aggrieved by this. The thing is, whatever your business, you’re an expert in something – and you need to put that expertise out there in a way consumers respond to. And that means videos – how to’s, analyses and product launches. Just get out there and see what happens.

I’m less convinced by ConsumerLab’s prediction that artificial intelligence will take over from screens – smart phones and tablets – in the next few years. I also think it has little to do with the majority of our business right now. But hey, I had to Google ‘oculus headset’ so what do I know? OK, so the latest tech gadgets might not be my own area of expertise but I do know a thing or two about your customers – and unless you’re a technology start-up I know that you can sit back for a while and see how AI unfolds before embracing it with both business hands.

Actual reality.

One thing you might want to watch your competition for is virtual reality – and I’m not just saying that because I now know what it is. Something that made me sit up and take notice is that according to the ConsumerLab report, 64% of consumers said that they’d use virtual reality to see items in real size and form when they shop online. Now that’s big. I’m not suggesting you all go out and get VR-ready tomorrow, but it’s really worth keeping an eye on this one.

The final trend that got me thinking was the rise of the ‘netizen journalist’. It’s like a citizen but online – not the catchiest of new words to hit the street but it’s an important thing for us all to remember. When things go wrong our customers hit the internet – social media in particular – and let their voice be heard. 34% of smartphone owners complain about poor service or a substandard product online – and 27% of people repost these complaints. Ouch!

Even more worrying is the fact that 54% of consumers think that complaining about a corrupt organisation online is more effective than going to the police. The key message here is that 21st century customers see themselves as influencers – they’re not going to hand over their hard-earned readies and then sit back to let you get on with it.

Technology touchpoints.

Consumers have been empowered by technology and we need to meet them where they’re at. Do you know what your business looks like at its technology touchpoints? How do customers really perceive that humorous tweet? How’s intend that slightly sarcastic tone of your website going down? There’s only one way to find out.

I’ve seen a big upturn in the number of clients The Monachie Project have been getting who want us to focus on the emotive user experience of consumers online – whether that be a website or social media. It’s finally starting to be taken seriously. And it should be. Many companies out there have little idea what consumers really think of their online presence – and you can’t afford to be one of them.

There’s a lot at stake online these days – and even a set of the latest oculus headsets won’t help you avoid it the reality of that. Get in touch with The Monachie Project and find out what’s really going for your consumers – before it hits YouTube!!!

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