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EMEA

Chatbots and VR to take over brand interactions by 2020…

Research by Oracle suggests the relationship between customers and brands is set to undergo a “technological revolution” which will cause the number of human-to-human interactions to fall.

A total of 800 senior marketing and sales professionals across EMEA were polled for the ‘Can Virtual Experiences Replace Reality?’ report and found 78 per cent of brands expect to provide customer experiences through virtual reality in the next four years. Meanwhile, 80 per cent expect to serve customers through chatbots. 

Despite brands willing to embrace new technologies for the customer journey, many are struggling to make use of the valuable customer and prospect data, with 60 per cent not currently including social or CRM data in their customer analytics.

42 per cent already collect a great deal of data from multiple sources, but are unable to extract customer insights from it; and 41 per cent agree smarter analysis of customer data will have the biggest impact on the experience they deliver to their customers.

Daryn Mason, senior director, CX Applications at Oracle said: “While virtual reality may be seen as a passing craze by some, the commitment of some of the world’s biggest companies to develop VR products for consumers suggests otherwise.  Brands will always look to experiment with new technologies as they try to find ways of delivering innovative and memorable experiences for their customers.

“Brands are at a crossroads. There’s an early-mover advantage to experimenting and launching innovative services while others wait and see, but they need to walk before they can run.”

The report indicates brands are looking to implement innovative technologies that allow their customers to continue interacting with brands on their own terms. 80 per cent of brands will be using chatbots for customer interactions by 2020; 78 per cent of brands expect to be using VR for CX by the same year; and 48 per cent have implemented automation technologies in sales, marketing and customer service.

Mason adds: “The reality is that many brands are still unable to get a complete view of each individual customer so the immediate priority needs to be to organise and get value from the data they already have.  Customers will value a quick, helpful, personalised interaction regardless of how it’s delivered so there’s hope for us humans yet.”

Access the full report here

Guest Blog, Gregory Gazagne: Appy Shoppers – creating the desired in-app experience…

Take a look at your phone’s home screen. There’s a strong chance that at least one of the apps you’re looking at exists primarily to help you buy things.

If you’re a loyalty card customer, it’s likely you have the corresponding retailers’ app installed, like Boots or Tesco. Whereas, if you fall into the ‘millennial’ category then you probably have something like Etsy or Deliveroo; Net-a-Porter for the fashionistas; eBay for the bargain-hunters. Nowadays, when it comes to the retail industry, the old adage ‘there’s an app for that’ rings truer than ever.

Consumers are becoming increasingly fond of making purchases through mobile apps. In the first half of 2016, according to Criteo’s latest Mobile Commerce Report, retailers with a sophisticated mobile app presence saw up to 54 per cent of their mobile transactions generated in-app; an increase from 47 per cent in 2015.

As well as being three times more likely to buy something through a mobile app than mobile web, consumers also spend more this way: this quarter saw mobile apps generate higher order values than desktop and mobile web; with an average of $127 spent in-app versus $100 on desktop and $91 on mobile web.

To stay in line with increasing consumer demand, top retailers are building savvy, intuitive and useful shopping apps that give consumers a seamless way to buy on mobile devices.

But, of course, rolling out a successful mobile commerce app isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, with retailers facing two major obstacles to driving in-app sales: usability, and adoption.

Usability

It might sound obvious, but the most successful mobile apps are the ones that prioritise user experience above all else. People need to enjoy using the app if they’re going to keep coming back to it.

Capabilities like home screen presence, instant loading, offline content, push notifications, personalisation and access to native functionality make the mobile shopping experience richer and more immersive for consumers.

Brands that can deliver this feature-rich environment and create a unified, consistent and relevant experience for shoppers, regardless of device, will succeed in driving retention and conversion rates.

Adoption

The explosive growth in mobile app usage has created a hugely competitive marketplace, with a staggering 2.2 million apps now available in leading app stores. In this environment, retailers face a difficult challenge as they battle their market competitors as well as other apps for user attention.

As a retailer, it’s no use having a fantastic mobile app if people aren’t downloading and using it. But with so many apps to choose from, how do retailers ensure that once their app makes it onto devices, it doesn’t become unused and forgotten?

App advertising is one route that is being explored to bring users back to an app to browse and purchase. Inspiring interaction along the entire path to purchase with relevant, personalised content, app advertising targets shoppers with mobile ads showcasing products relevant to their interests and recent browsing activity.

With this approach, we’ve found that once engaged, shoppers are 30 per cent more likely return and shop within the app – without further encouragement.

Mobile apps do require significant investment to get it just right, and indeed to make it onto consumer’s smartphone screens at all. But, as our research indicates, not only do consumers want to buy through mobile apps, they’re willing to spend more than they would through other channels.

In conclusion, this means that in the world of mobile commerce, apps are rapidly moving from being a ‘nice-to-have’ to a business-critical method. Therefore, retailers need to move quickly, or risk losing out.

 

Gregory Gazagne joined Criteo in January 2010 as sales vice president in charge of international development. His success in opening 12 new markets in only 12 months saw him appointed managing director for France, southern Europe and Latin America in January 2011. Grégory went on to hold the role of managing director for Europe from January 2013 to December 2014, and is currently managing director for EMEA.

Geometry Global Intelligence extends consultancy service to EMEA region…

The international brand activation agency, Geometry Global, has rolled out plans to extend its bespoke marketing consultancy service, Geometry Global Intelligence to the Europe, Middle East and Africa region (EMEA).

Designed to support and advise marketers on a number of key areas including; the customer journey, market analysis and new product development, the service will launch in France, Italy, Russia, Germany, United Arab Emirates and South Africa after a successful piloted 12 months in the UK. Chief executive of the EMEA region at Geometry Global Intelligence, Pietro Leone, commented: “Media fragmentation has significantly increased the complexity of brands’ ability to invest marketing budget exactly where it is needed to drive growth. Geometry Global Intelligence works with clients to help transform their business performance by identifying efficient and effective solutions using a unique methodology.”