The way consumers interact with brands has undergone a major change over the past few years.
Consumers now expect personalized service and rigorous protection of their privacy.
Customer experience is becoming the primary differentiator between brands, so it’s more important than ever to provide a smooth experience.
With that in mind, here are the areas where CTOs need to focus in 2018.
1. Secure Transactions
83% of senior executives in a Cisco security survey were more concerned about digital security now than they were 3 years ago, and for good reason.
Increased global connectivity has created more opportunities for digital theft. The average cost of a single data breach is $3.62 million this year.
By 2019 global data breaches will cause $2.1 trillion in losses.
With expanded personal data sharing due to the growing Internet of Things trend, experts have warned that could rise sharply if transaction security isn’t made a priority.
That means focusing on PCI compliance, using AI-powered fraud detection and antivirus software, and using security-conscious features like SSL.
CTOs also need to resist the urge to take shortcuts on development; many security weaknesses can be traced to poorly-done programming shortcuts.
2. Expanded Payment Options
Technology has created a flood of new payment methods designed to make payments convenient and secure.
Shoppers can check out with PayPal both online and at a growing number of brick and mortar locations.
Phone-based mobile wallets like Apple Pay, Android Pay, and Samsung Pay have seen a rise in usage as well.
Consumers are responding favorably: as many as 54% of Americans have used a digital payment method of some kind.
They enjoy the convenience and security offered by using a trusted service instead of carrying around credit cards.
Offering a selection of payment methods helps prevent churn, as well: a fifth of customers fall out of the buying cycle at the checkout because they don’t see a payment option they trust.
3. Multi-channel Presence
Impulse-buying beyond the small-ticket stage is becoming a thing of the past.
Customers generally browse using different devices and platforms before making a purchase.
Because customers trust each other and online influencers more than ads, this could means asking for advice on social media.
Other times it involves checking online reviews, even when shopping in person.
42% of customers read reviews on products using a mobile device while in a physical store.
CTOs can take advantage of this trend by building a strong, consistent multi-channel presence across their website, social media pages, and mobile apps.
Encouraging user-generated content (like reviews and photos) is key. It has two main benefits:
- Improved customer trust: When a company welcomes and responds to feedback- even criticism- it creates an impression of transparency and reliability.
- Higher sales: Customers are much more likely to buy after interacting with user-generated content.
4. Enhanced Mobile Experience
Mobile is becoming a huge part of how customers shop. It accounts for a fifth of e-commerce, and the mobile e-sales growth rate is double that of desktop rates (59% vs 17%).
CTOs need to ensure a smooth, reliable shopping and buying experience.
That means skipping complex interfaces for easy-to-navigate menus and optimizing for mobile performance and security.
Another option to consider is a storefront app.
Storefront apps have 40% higher conversion rates than mobile websites.
They offer better performance, too. The improved experience leads to longer shopping sessions and higher customer satisfaction rates.
5. Artificial Intelligence
Customers want customized service, and AI is the tool that will help CTOs provide that service in 2018.
Bring AI into customer-facing technology stack through:
- Chatbots: 56% of customers would rather resolve an issue through chat than over the phone. Using chatbots, companies can be responsive to customer needs around the clock in the format they prefer.
- Personalized upsells: AI algorithms review an online shopping cart and suggest related items at the checkout. Intelligent upsells increase a customer’s potential value by 10-30%.
- Relevant push notifications: Targeted push notifications have four times the response rate of mass notifications.
Are you ready to revamp your company’s digital presence? Concepta can show you how to take advantage of these trends to make 2018 your most profitable year. Contact us for your free consultation!