Technological advances are clearly having a major impact on the way your consumers live and work.
Your typical consumer may be connected to a smartphone throughout the day, and increasingly demands fast results with communications, shopping experiences and many other aspects of daily life.
Smart technology even enables people to connect to their house and car, such as to monitor, activate or deactivate various systems and components.
How prevalent is this technology?
Some sources estimate that between 30 million to 50 million connected devices will be in use by 2020.
From a business perspective, the Internet of Things has created an engagement economy.
Essentially, the connectedness of everyone and everything has altered the traditional relationship between consumers and businesses.
Consumers expect to have access to your company in various ways at their fingertips. Your business must be positioned to thrive in the new engagement economy or risk being left behind.
With this in mind, consider if your business is taking all reasonable steps to function effectively in the new business landscape.
Behind the Scenes: Gathering and Using Consumer Data
Devices connected to the Internet of Things enable businesses to gather more consumer data than they previously had access to. This includes data about consumer behavior, geographic location, product preferences and more.
While your business has likely already been reviewing and utilizing consumer data on a general basis, the engagement economy enables you to gather more specific data about individual consumers.
You can then use customer data for various applications:
- Refine your products and services
- Strategically adjust pricing strategically
- Personalize customer service
- Improve your cycle in other critical ways at all stages
Increasingly, data is gathered about individual consumers by tracking website activity, through a customized app and through smart tech.
If your business is not already gathering data in these and other ways, this is an important starting point.
A Major Shift: From Marketing to Engaging
While the connectedness of smart devices has depersonalized some aspects of personal communication, such as when people text rather the communicate verbally over the phone, the connectedness also creates a feeling of the customer being in direct contact with a company.
Today’s consumers expect businesses to tailor marketing messages to them. They are increasingly turned off by widescale marketing campaigns that lack personalization. Engaging marketing appeals to a specific consumer’s values, needs, goals and other individualized factors.
There are many ways to accomplish this depending on your business model.
For example, an e-retailer can welcome a shopper by name to their website and offer a personalized suggestion based on previous viewing and shopping activities.
In addition, the e-retailer can send updates when items that the consumer has shown interest in go on sale. For your business, identify how you can personalize your customer experience by utilizing technology effectively.
Walk in Their Shoes: Anticipating the Consumer’s Needs
To successfully run your business in the new engagement economy, place yourself in your customers’ shoes to determine what they will expect in the near future.
For example, if you run a plumbing company, it stands to reason that your customers desire easy online scheduling and perhaps the ability to track where they are in the plumber’s schedule for the day.
In the engagement economy, consumers expect the entire sales experience to be convenient and streamlined. Your goal, therefore, is to make the customer experience as effortless as possible while meeting their needs.
Look for ways to adapt technology so that your consumers benefit from being more connected to your business.
Moving to On-Demand Production and Shipping
If your current business model includes maintaining a huge inventory in a warehouse and shipping products when online orders are placed, rethink this model to prepare for success in the engagement economy.
On-demand production enables your products to be customized.
For example, low investment business ideas include print-on-demand clothing, personalized engraving services, customized paper products and more.
Through on-demand production, consumers can order unique products tailored to them. For items that cannot be personalized, you can modernize your operations by using drop-shipping.
Drop-shipping enables you to offer more unique or specialty items to your customers because you are essentially a liaison between the supplier and the customer.
By analyzing ways to modernize your production and shipping processes, you can provide tailored products that more closely meet your consumers’ needs.
The engagement economy is already here.
Businesses that are not actively modernizing all aspects of their operation to connect to their consumers thoughtfully are falling behind.
How you prepare for this new trend? Speaking about trends.. Do you know the top 10 tech trends of 2019?