1creatingDigital commerce is becoming an essential part of the new economy and the digital customer journey more important due to COVID-19. Particularly the retail sector has undergone a major change and been catapulted more than expected into the e-commerce world. In future, this will be accompanied by the challenges of mastering the latest technologies and unleashing the creativity of digital retail to use them in the individual customer journey. Hyper-personalization and micro-moment techniques are therefore considered top priorities for brands in the future of digital commerce.

Technology as the answer to a changing world

New technologies and techniques such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR / VR), the Internet of Things (IoT), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and data-driven processes are the key players in transforming shopping applications into emotional shopping experiences. Businesses need to make use of all these new innovations to create unique online experiences that excite and retain customers.

Customer emancipation is increasing

Voice commerce, digital shopping assistants, digital twins, social commerce, data-driven e-commerce, and interactive shop windows are raising todays’ shopping behavior to a new level. With the use of hyper-personalization, the customer benefits from exclusive, customized shopping experiences. Driven by the increasing demands of customers, marketing tries to give each customer the feeling of being unique and not just one of many.

Today’s customers know exactly what they want and how they want it: they prefer transparency, want to have control over their data and be part of a community This growing customer emancipation is reorganizing consumer behavior as we know it.

Companies under pressure

The megatrend of customer emancipation requires individual consideration of more and more specific needs. This creates many small target group segments that must all be considered and taken into account. Treating each and every customer as an individual requires highly personalized content and offers. This confronts businesses with a special challenge: to harmonize the expectations of customers and their own internal processes. Online shops can only attract consumers in a creative way and with a precisely tailored approach. At the same time, complex processes must be managed efficiently. This creates a matrix of dependencies that can only work with the right use of technology.

Data-driven services and process automation

With increasing micro-segmentation, the volume, speed, and diversity of data are growing, and efficient data management is becoming crucial. To increase the added value of the data, stable and tailor-made algorithms and predictions must be used. Therefore, data-driven technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning are at the top of any company's priority list - as are technologies with the potential to automate processes. In addition to data processing, targeted technical use should facilitate direct communication with customers, addressing them in surprising and individually different ways. Only brands that accommodate individual customers at every level - both in terms of content and the medium - will survive in the long term. It is therefore important to combine both worlds, as well as the latest technologies, for the optimal management of complex processes.

In a nutshell, it is obvious that the pandemic is further boosting digital trade and intensifying the megatrends of hyper-personalization, data-driven commerce, and emotional digital shopping. The challenges of the future will be to address users creatively and use innovative technologies ably.

The individual approach is paramount: customers want to be treated as individuals, which requires personalization of content and offers, not to mention that efficient data management and the use of clever algorithms for forecast models are the key to success. Hence, the future belongs to intelligent digital shopping assistants that close the gap between “attraction” and “conversion” in the customer journey.

By Daniela La Marca