In today’s tech-driven world, consumers expect experiences that are convenient, seamless, on-demand, and above all, personalized—from the ads they are served to the products and services they use. After all, we live in a world where we can have just about anything delivered right to our doorstep with the push of a button. Rides are available 24/7, dining recommendations based on recent dining habits, and retail sites offer curated items to consider based on purchase history.
While these tailor-made user journeys were once delivered only to a select few, providing anything less can come across as outdated and impersonal. And where consumers once visited storefronts to get the brand experience, now it’s being delivered to them wherever they are. Businesses that don’t keep up by prioritizing innovation run the risk of being left behind.
So how can businesses ensure relevant and personalized customer experiences? These businesses can’t go into product development blind, and there’s no room for guesswork when it comes to investments. The power is in gathering and utilizing data that is extensive and meaningful enough to drive informed decision-making.
As we prepare for CES 2022, we recognize the power that location-based insights bring to the table when it comes to developing meaningful experiences for consumers. This is particularly relevant for consumer electronics technology as companies are not only building a product but also an engaging experience for their customers.
Foursquare’s independent location data platform helps businesses understand how people move through the real world. Our location data informs where, when, and how to best reach them so brands can build intelligent, location-enabled experiences for consumers, advertisers, app developers, and enterprise organizations.
Like other leading tech companies and consumers in the digital age, our eyes are on the future. Foursquare’s vast team of data science engineers and developers have plenty of insight into emerging technology and best practices, here are the trends we’re on the lookout for at CES and into 2022.
1. Data as the great multiplier
Across the board and around the world, data offers tremendous potential to businesses of all kinds. A staggering amount of data is collected and stored every second, and that volume is growing exponentially — but data is meaningless if it’s not understood well and put to use.
At CES and beyond, we expect to see a significant amount of investment in becoming data-smart and unlocking the full value of data. As businesses leverage the ability to implement scientific approaches, algorithms, and frameworks to extract relevant insights from the noise, companies across industries will be empowered to make smarter decisions based on this data.
Further still, thanks to modern advances in security, encryption, and storage, we expect to see businesses becoming much more comfortable with sharing data with and receiving data from trusted third parties who operate in the cloud.
The more value that businesses can unlock from the data they’re collecting, the more informed their decision-making becomes, and the better positioned they are for success and growth.
2. Improving lives with convenience
Today, the convenience factor is more than a “nice to have”; it’s a “must have.” Consumers expect products and services to deliver a seamless, personalized experience, and — now more than ever — be available to them digitally, on demand, and in real-time. It’s no longer enough for businesses to sit back and hope customers will physically come to them. Today, even mental and physical health care services are available online and on the patient’s schedule.
This new need for high availability sparks a stronger need for businesses to understand their target audiences, then take it a step further by meeting them wherever they are. It’s a digital shift that will have major implications on traditional distribution channels and retail locations.
We expect the following to make a significant impact because of the growing demand for convenience:
- The Internet of Things (IoT) and connected devices: Today’s physical devices can connect to consumers wherever they are located, and connect and exchange data with each other. These capabilities streamline and simplify everything from heating the home to clothes shopping and beyond. Modern devices can be easily controlled by the consumer, AI, or other apps, and consumers have 24/7 access to pretty much everything online whether they’re at home or on the go. This leaves a question mark around the future of physical retail locations.
- Sustainable Delivery and Manufacturing: Revisiting the idea of anything being available pretty well on-demand means reconsidering distribution channels. With the need for physical retail spaces in question, distributors will need to explore direct-to-consumer or other simplified ways of operating at scale, cutting out traditional steps and longstanding ways of operating. Sustainable manufacturing is also on the rise. Significant data and tech will go into the fine-tuning of new distribution chain processes across industries.
- Tailored experiences: Offering your target audience a relevant, personalized experience takes deep knowledge of the customer. This gives digital mediums the upper hand when it comes to creating a customized experience as they are able to understand specific behaviors and preferences and put them behind that particular consumer’s journey. Retailers are at a disadvantage here, as in-store shoppers often get a “one size fits all” experience that appeals to the average shopper, without being unique that shopper in particular. One key step that businesses will need to take to enable better interaction with consumers across all platforms: data unification/the removal of data silos. Removing data silos enables businesses to better understand consumer behavior and needs and provides an all-in-one customer view that will lead to smarter marketing strategies, more personalized consumer experiences and much more.
3. Frictionless consumer experiences
We expect to see a big push toward automation, which will help put convenience even more front and center in the consumer experience. Businesses are relying on IoT and unprecedented connectivity to help remove pain points and increase efficiency in the consumer experience, tackling problems that many consumers may have thought of as necessary evils.
For example, a hotel guest today can skip the check-in desk when the hotel sends a digital key to their phone, and request a ride from a location-sharing app instead of waiting in a taxi line outside. They can reserve a table at a nearby restaurant online and easily navigate a walking route to top attractions in the area, making impromptu purchases with their digital wallet. Technology makes the consumer journey more seamless.
These are powerful capabilities, but we expect things to progress even more, perhaps in the way of digital vaccination records that replace the need to carry physical cards as proof. Autonomous, fully automated cars are also on the horizon. Technology will continue to evolve and allow for streamlined and amplified experiences to prioritize consumer convenience and a truly connected experience like never before.
4. A de-emphasis on the metaverse
Without a doubt, a virtual world has its merits, but according to our intel, consumers want to experience things in the real world for themselves, craving the ability to bring the digital into the physical — not the other way around.
What does this mean? The metaverse is likely overhyped, and technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) are much more important. CES and modern innovation in consumer technology indicate that it will come to maturity in the enterprise space well before it matures in the consumer space. Consider, for example, the possibilites to apply AR in spaces like manufacturing. There are a lot of ways that AR can be used in such settings to have immediate impact by improving safety and streamline processes. Once AR proves itself in the workspace, people will want to bring it into their everyday lives as well.
Consumers are eager to venture in the real world, and companies investing in experiences that enable them to enhance or influence their real-life experience with computer-generated elements will win big.
We look forward to connecting with thought leaders in the tech space at CES to see what else we can expect for our industry, businesses, and consumers worldwide. See you there!