Over the past few years, companies have steadily subjected themselves to digitalisation. Internal processes have been automated, collaboration tools have optimised workflows, and sales channels have been expanded by online shops and mobile apps. SEO, SEA, and social media have strengthened the brand image.
Digitalisation has become something common, even standard, among many businesses. This also implies that being digital is no distinguishing feature any more. Inevitably, the question is: What comes next? Accenture CTIO Paul Daugherty refers to this scenario as the »post-digital world«:
» A post-digital world doesn’t mean that digital is over. On the contrary, we’re posing a new question: as all organizations develop their digital competency, what will set YOU apart? «
Customisation through configurators, but also by means of cutting-edge technology like AI, AR, or 3-D printing is gathering pace.
Which companies manage to personalise their products and services, and which approaches are promising in this context?
Expectant fathers were catching virtual monsters in the delivery room when their child was being born. That happened with Pokémon Go. The game that triggered a veritable boom in the summer of 2016 and led the path for AR and even VR to take off in gaming. Although the hype about virtual monsters has somewhat flattened, the technology behind it has not stopped evolving. Three years later, its promising its users impressive experiences.
Looking at a screen and typing seems almost stale. Virtual reality lets us forget about the real world. Augmented reality merges the physical with the digital world. Smartphones and virtual assistants understand what we say. Looking at this development, it was only a matter of time before hearing also receives its own frontend.
It was not so long ago when various scandals came to light about data abuse and fake news on Facebook. The company was taking heavy losses on the stock market and seemed to have lost credibility and charm to many users, stakeholders, and marketers.
But that hasn’t stopped the largest social network: Instagram’s attractiveness keeps growing, the company announced in the same breath with the bad stock market news. Especially among younger generations, the photo network is more popular than ever. Even Facebook itself wants to collect bonus points and drive innovation forward. The focus is on augmented reality.
This technology is also gaining in importance beyond the gaming industry. In fact, some companies are already focusing on this and are developing exciting, everyday use cases. The main focus is to make life easier in different circumstances (at work, when purchasing complex products, or building large machines).
Facebook wants advertisers to benefit from the potential of this cutting-edge technology even on the biggest social network.
Nobody’s gonna buy something online without information about a product. Descriptions, but above all pictures and videos depicting the real goods, are there so that the consumers receive a realistic look at products and then make a purchase. Images are virtually the shop window of a stationary store, but more detailed and specific. The success of an online business, therefore, depends on the quality and accuracy of product images.
Customers are increasingly looking for real and eye-catching product information before making a purchase. Colours, dimensions, ratios, extras, and presentation suggestions must be individually adapted to the different variants and models. The richer the range, the greater the photographic effort.
This represents a significant implementation problem for growing digital companies that have a large product catalogue. So how can retailers and manufacturers mass-produce high-quality images for their online shops? Three letters: CGI (Computer Generated Imagery).
Augmented reality can do more than hide a Pokémon. It enables users to see exciting things that don’t actually exist. A computer-aided expansion of reality will affect our daily lives more and more (and!) make them even easier. Already one or two pioneering companies are relying on AR and are developing exciting products for everyday use cases.
The outstanding performance of the German Olympic team at the Winter Games in the South Korean region of Pyeongchang is what everyone’s been talking about. Another reason for this, however, is the increasing digitisation of the sports industry, which is particularly relevant and present this year.
2018 will be the year of excellent customer experiences. Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will, through immersive and high-value shopping experiences, play a large role in this new chapter. According to Gartner, the focus in the next five years will be on a mixed reality. Since the physical world and online world are beginning to merge, not only in private but at work too, a bridge between them makes a lot of sense.
Many products and services can only be, to a certain extent, translated into the digital world of the internet. Customers would like to touch, try on, smell, and feel before making a purchase decision. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality bring customers the shopping experience to their home, as well as in showrooms and physical stores.
There are already many devices with VR and AR features built in like head mounted displays and the iPhone X. A prerequisite for more of such devices to be accepted on the market is having these features built in more new mobile devices, which is expected to occur in 2018. In this context, new apps are being developed. In fact, Ikea has already launched its augmented reality app Places for iOS in the US, and other companies are sure to join in with similar products.
Nowadays, consumers can order almost everything online: lingerie, shoes, medicin, and glasses. You also can shop beauty and healthcare products, whose online turnover is expected to grow more than 8 per cent, annually between 2009 and 2019.
This means the beauty and healthcare industry is taking the leap into the Internet determinedly by leveraging the potential of this channel with new technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality. The main objectives: deliver great personalised customer experiences and differentiate from the competitors.
How do beauty brands and retailers successfully engage with their customers? How do they answer their customers’ demands? Can brands and retailers of other industries benefit from online cosmetics success stories?
As every year, the information technology research company Gartner releases its “Hyper Cycle” in which the status of every technology trend is analysed. Have any of them already arrived to the productivity phase? Are any of the emerging technologies going to be adopted mainstream in less than two years? Have you already heard about the innovation triggers 4D Printing or Human Augmentation?