Today’s customers crave interactivity more than any previous generation of consumers. This is partly due to the proliferation of smartphones and the fact that people have information readily available around the clock. But from a business perspective, what are companies doing to ensure they’re engaging customers in the right manner?
4 Technologies Businesses are Using to Interact With Customers
The internet and mobile devices have changed the game. Prior to the explosion of technology in these areas, people were satisfied with simply consuming content. They would watch TV, listen to the radio, and read the newspaper – all without being directly involved. Today, people want to be a part of the content they consume. They want there to be a two-way exchange of ideas and expect more value than words on a screen.
The good news is that technology is improving and businesses are able to satisfy the cravings of their audiences. Here are a few specific ways this is playing out:
1. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality isn’t catching on as much as tech experts projected, but leading retailers around the world are certainly doing their part. Tommy Hilfiger is one good case study. In the past, they’ve let shoppers experience what it’s like to be at a fashion show runway by bringing the experience to a virtual reality headset. Interestingly, there was no promotional content involved – just the streaming video designed to engage customers and build stronger relationships.
2. Interactive Online Content
While virtual reality adoption is still lagging, many businesses are already investing in interactive online content as a cost-effective way to stand out and directly engage customers in practical ways.
This Engagement Ring Style Quiz from Estate Diamond Jewelry is an example of a piece of interactive content. It asks users a handful of questions – from their favorite date night activity to the ideal place for relaxation – and delivers a customized engagement ring suggestion with a call-to-action designed to encourage more browsing. Not only does this engage the user, but it benefits the brand. That’s what it looks like to use interactive technology successfully.
3. Live Streaming Video
In 2017, we’ve seen live streaming technology really take off. Social media users have proven over and over again that they enjoy live video and brands are trying to figure out what it looks like to deliver meaningful content that’s engaging and mutually beneficial.
Some specific uses include Q&A sessions, customer support, special announcements, behind the scenes interviews, and product releases. The beauty of live streaming is that it can be spontaneous. Unlike other forms of content that go through many stages of preparation, a live video can move from ideation to execution in minutes.
4. Apps and Games
While there’s a clear shift away from native applications and towards online content, there’s still some value in mobile games and apps. It can cost a lot to develop these apps, but they can spark some pretty serious engagement if the right strategy is used.
Another related trend is actually the development of in-browser games. This reduces the friction of having to go to the app store to download a game and allows businesses to link to the content from web pages, landing pages, and social media profiles. It turns what is otherwise an isolated piece of content into what industry expert Rob Grossberg calls a “snackable” experience.
Another benefit of in-browser games is that companies can easily monetize products and services inside the game itself. In the app store, purchases can’t be tied in like this. Browser-based alternatives make advertising and upselling easy and practical.
“There’s this whole mentality that the app store is the only place for games, but we’re showing what is possible,” Grossberg explains.
Using Technology the Right Way
Businesses can obviously leverage technology in almost any way they want, but the question should always be: How can we maximize consumer engagement? Today’s leading businesses are discovering that the answer to this question is to invest in interactive technology that involves customers and allows them to use their mind and senses to participate. In the coming years, experts project considerably more growth in this particular niche of the tech sector.