The View for 2020
With contributions from Dom Baker, CX Consultant, Catherine Jordan, Commercial Director, Remy Brooks, Strategy Consultant and Claire Barrett, UX/UI Designer, we share our predictions for 2020.
Consumer Augmented Reality becomes an established content format
Is this the year AR becomes mainstream? Adobe Aero, Torch, Spark Studio, 8th Wall, Threedium, Google Lens etc, like it or not, AR is getting pushed hard as the new experience, content, e- commerce format. Brands like Nike, Asos, AT&T (you name it) are elegantly incorporating AR mobile experiences into their apps and stores. This is not just to solve customer challenges but also to create deeper, more joyous experiences to the physical. AR is really coming of age and bringing with it delighters to creatives, technologists and of course, customers. The addition of affordable and easy to use AR production platforms adds an invaluable new tool to our creative box of tricks- meaning we can create ever more brilliant experiences across media and devices, with new ways of bringing amazing things to life.
Have a look at an example of this in this recent Forbes article. Dominic Baker, CX Consultant
Collaborative partnerships will be required for success
2020 success will stem from increasingly collaborative partnerships. Businesses build partnerships to do things better, smarter and differently. They facilitate all kinds of outcomes such as greater reach, new services, better intelligence/understanding and improved delivery of a brand mission. The ability to work effectively with partners – whether they be suppliers, sister businesses, brand collaborators or even competitors – will prove to be an effective way of accelerating digital initiatives and sustaining long term value from this year’s investment. For decades, businesses have invested heavily in the disciplines of vendor management, channel strategies and affiliates but in a digital world, the need for flexing quickly to adapt to change is essential for survival … and the two don’t always go hand-in-hand. Identifying strategic relationships isn’t just about price or convenience or “the now” – it requires roadmaps to be aligned, ways of working to be harmonious, idioms to be understood and should always consider the exit strategy for when a particular partnership is no longer the best route to success. Catherine Jordan, Commercial Director
‘The ability to work effectively with partners – whether they be suppliers, sister businesses or even competitors – will be vital to accelerating digital initiatives and sustaining long term value from this year’s investment.’
Necessity of Customer Experience at board level- stay loved and stay relevant
If we said this is the year that your CX (or customer experience) shifted from “another thing we should probably think about, maybe” to one of the fundamental pillars of your organisation/ brand/ products, you would be in the great company of Adobe, Gov.Uk, Amazon, JD sports, Patagonia, Netflix, Disney (they actually said it in 1957), Nike, Ikea, Facebook, etc, etc.
Having an evidenced, flexible and elegantly connected customer experience is a necessity, rather than a “nice to have” for all clients, big and small, as your CX becomes an integral part of your now and is integral in creating your next and possibly the future of your products, all through having a dialogue with all your key players. As the number of opportunities and ways of engaging customers grows and the overwhelming amount of competing demands on their attention grows too, architecting and implementing the leanest, most rewarding flow of moving folks (customers, staff, suppliers, stakeholders) from “see thing”, “transact”, “use and love” and “keep coming back” is fundamental to the happiness and success of your brand, organisation and your customers. Luckily, it’s not rocket science. Depending on the nature and scale of your challenge, focussing your ambitions on your customers’ needs, whilst bringing together a combination of efficiency, evolving insight, plenty of dialogue as well as great tech and design, will keep you in tune customer experience for the long haul. Dominic Baker, CX Consultant
We’ve seen an increasing number of companies dedicate themselves to large-scale digital transformation projects in recent years. In some cases these projects are global and include multiple brands, platforms and media channels which all have to retain design standards and consistency to drive a cohesive brand. It’s vital for brands to be able to provide a framework for regional teams and govern standards within this framework. Design systems are a solution that allow brands to create stringent frameworks that prevent the misuse of brand, whilst being flexible enough to scale and evolve across channels. Having a central design system allows brands to innovate and evolve without degrading their most valuable asset – the brand itself. Claire Barrett, UX/UI Designer
‘Design systems are a solution that allow brands to create stringent frameworks that prevent the misuse of brand.’
The ever-evolving baseline of customer expectation
Even a few years ago the idea of same day delivery was but a dream, now it comes as standard. While browsing clothes online, there is a need for right here, right now with the likes of ASOS and Nike offering standard next day delivery. Buying anything, anywhere for that matter, yep, the need to have the item instantly is always hovering: Instagram checkouts, Tik Tok and Shopify are all on board.
Leading retailers are now setting ever higher customer expectations, in an age of online shopping, with a demographic who need now, all retailers are expected to follow suit. Brands who are learning and adapting from those who go first are having to keep up with customer expectations, or risk being lost to poor customer service. For example, the new basic rule of speedy delivery has been set by Amazon with their next day, and even same- day, delivery options. We now all expect our goods the next day from all retailers. The potential results for brands is positive and significant. Those who can integrate those relevant expectations to suit themselves presents opportunity… if they have the ability. In 2020 we will see many retailers following the likes of Amazon and feeding the new age population’s need for now. Dominic Baker, CX Consultant
Direct to consumer is what matters
Nike has left Amazon. Disney has left Netflix. For brands that matter, direct-to-consumer (DTC) is the channel that matters in 2020. To be a truly customer centric brand, you must understand your customers. This means building direct relationships with customers, often transactional, and having data on customer behaviour, that often existed trapped behind walled gardens of traditional retailers through to the Facebooks, Googles, and Amazons of the world. Building this new muscle means building new skills, and new capabilities to deliver D2C experiences that compete with the best-of-the-internet, alongside media that is intrinsically tied to the product, service and destination; moving beyond silos to a truly connected customer experience.
‘For brands that matter, direct-to-consumer (DTC) is the channel that matters in 2020.’
Privacy by Design
We’re living in a post GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation – where have you been?) digital landscape where users and consumers expect a certain level of consideration and protection when it comes to how we handle their data. Digital products should empower users by helping them make informed decisions about their privacy and give them intuitive, accessible ways to control their data. This new approach will require us to rethink the UX and UI of interfaces. The focus should be on fostering a relationship based on trust, where we’re explicit about why and how we collect data whilst helping users understand how it will benefit their experience. In essence, user-centred design practices will extend into the realm of data collection and that can only be a positive thing for both digital products and the people that use them. Claire Barrett, UX/UI Designer
It’s time for Design to have a seat at the table
This is probably predicted each and every year by designers (wishful thinking huh?), but 2020 really IS the year that we’ll see design getting a seat at the table. In fact the most successful brands have been design led for years; think Google, Airbnb, Spotify, Apple, Netflix etc. To reach the same level of innovation, brands need to evolve a mindset where it’s understood that designers = problem solvers. The best companies empower their designers to look at everything through a design lens and let them define the best way to solve a problem. These designers are creating and improving not only the visual design and user experience of products, but also end to end consumer experiences, customer services, conversational UI and even internal systems and processes. Claire Barrett, UX/UI Designer
‘To reach the same level of innovation as Google and Airbnb, brands need to evolve a mindset where it’s understood that designers = problem solvers.’