We’ve all heard about the Internet of Things (IoT) – the connected sensors embedded in remote machines and devices that are revolutionizing manufacturing processes. But what about consumer markets? Connected sensors are also being embedded in home products, cars, and wearables. And while some of these new products, like smart fridges, might seem like a fad, they are just the start of a trend toward product personalization that is going to change the way businesses engage with their customers.
Accenture has named this move toward personalization “The Internet of Me” and highlights it as one of five key trends in its 2015 Technology Vision report. In this blog I’ll explain why they see it as a game changer.
Personalized products and services
Digital devices embedded in everyday products like watches, running shirts, and security systems are enabling personalized experiences. If an individual’s preferences, habits, and contexts can be woven into a product or service, then his or her experience with it will be more relevant and engaging. For example:
- Why just buy another clothes dryer when you could buy one that allows you to schedule energy-intensive tasks for when electricity rates on your network are lower? Try a new smart dryer from Whirlpool.
- Why just buy any car when you could buy one that enables you to adjust the central heating in your house while you are driving home? Try a new connected car from Mercedes.
The fight to engage customers
It’s the potential to deepen customer engagement that’s making personalization a highly competitive issue. Accenture’s 2015 Vision Survey of business and technology executives confirmed that 81% of their respondents placed personalized customer experience in the top three priorities for their organization. And it’s not hard to see why when, according to an Acquity Group study, two-thirds of consumers are expected to purchase a connected home device within the next five years, and the ownership of consumer wearables is expected to double by 2016.
Providing a digital experience – the challenges and benefits
Now, providing a digital, personalized service to customers is no easy step. It requires a deep understanding of who your core users are and how you can better serve their individual needs, not to mention the investment in personalization technologies. However, the potential benefits could be considerable:
- Personalization leads to greater customer engagement, which in turn will result in stronger sales and customer loyalty.
- A digital connection to your customers will provide you with data about how they are using your product or service – invaluable feedback.
- A digital channel into your customers could open up other opportunities. Facebook and Google are examples of businesses reaping the benefits of control over channels into highly engaged users.
- And finally, new business partnerships that combine channels and services could be lucrative. Read more about this in my earlier blog: “How Digital Ecosystems Will Change Our World.”
Like it or not, digital personalization of products is going to shake up consumer markets. Read the full Accenture’s 2015 Technology Vision report.
The above information is based on the Accenture report Technology Vision 2015 – Copyright © 2015 Accenture
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