By Arjun Sondhi Managing Director BMC Global Services Digital
With the new year rapidly approaching us, many business owners and marketers are trying to predict the new trends that will become prevalent in the next year.
Every year new technologies come out and existing technologies become more advanced.
We have compiled the trends that we think all business owners need to invest in, in order to ensure they are one step ahead of the competition.
2018 was a big year for chatbots but businesses have been slower to adopt chatbots than expected. However, by 2022 it is estimated that chatbots will help businesses save over $8 Bn per year.
Chatbots are an extremely effective tool for brands to communicate with their customers on a daily basis. In today’s age, customers typically want a quick answer, or want to resolve an issue within that instant. Bots provide a platform to make this happen.
Bots are also very effective at warming up prospects, scheduling sales appointments and assisting customers with purchasing products.
Brands can programme the bots to answer the questions that will be typically asked by customers. Thus enabling brands to sell their products/services on a large scale, without having to invest in a large number of sales people.
Before investing in a bot, it is important to be clear on what the main objective of the bot is. Is it to drive sales or is it to improve customer sales?
Voice has become very important for marketers over the last couple of years and within the next few years, marketers should expect half of all searches will be done by voice. Consumers will be using their smartphones, Amazon devices or even Google Homes to use voice to find out information. For instance, if someone searches ‘best Indian restaurant’, the device will use their location to provide a suitable suggestion.
Virtual/ Augmented reality
Brands that are ahead of the curve are now beginning to leverage mobile camera to improve their customer experience. Both augmented and virtual reality provide brands with an opportunity to improve brand engagement and enhance customer experience by bringing new products to life.
For instance, Amazon recently used Oculus Rift VR booths to provide shoppers with an experience of wide range products. Virtual reality addresses several needs and pain points by allowing consumers to experience products before purchasing them.
By utilising virtual and augmented reality, brands can showcase the capabilities of their products and provide customers with an unforgettable experience.
Local influencer marketing
Influencer marketing is not a new trend. However, the type of influencers that brands will work with, is set to dramatically change in 2019. More brands will work closely with local or nano influencers, with smaller followings that are more engaged with a smaller audience. Brands should be partnering with local influencers- or individuals with a strong local network- to scale their brand.