Our modern web of technologies is a complicated one. Brand new innovations come to the forefront, older ones continually evolve, and in many cases, each technology informs others. The one thing that stays the same is that they nearly always change the way that consumers behave, and in turn, the way that marketers and brands go about appealing to them.
With that said, here are three technologies that fall under different categories, but all have an impact on consumer behavior:
One of the mainstays: Mobile devices
The impact of mobile devices goes without saying. In 2019, 56 percent of all website traffic worldwide was generated through mobile devices, and that percentage is only going to continue growing, especially as 5G comes to the mainstream. Research also shows that U.S. adults in particular spend about four hours a day on their mobile devices — which is more time than they spent watching TV. Coinciding with that, smartphone-based retail sales increased by 35 percent from 2018 to 2019.
As mobile devices get faster, more reliable, and generally more powerful, the number of sales and brand interactions that take place through this medium will only continue to increase. E-commerce is already huge, but marketers should specifically consider mobile optimization. How will a website or an ad look on a smaller screen? Sure, it might look nice if you view it on a computer, but how can you make that translate to mobile? Not just that, but more time is spent on apps than web browsers — meaning that developing an engaging app for your brand is paramount to success in this sphere.
A new evolution: Digital modifications to brick-and-mortar retail
Even as mobile sales are growing at a quick pace, brick-and-mortar stores remain the primary way that consumers buy products. In 2019, in-store purchases accounted for nearly 90 percent of all consumer spending — so it’s unlikely that mobile commerce will overtake it anytime soon. That being said, technology and the desire for greater convenience are still fundamentally transforming the in-store experience.
Perhaps the most prominent thus far is cashier-less checkout. Taking that one step further, though, is the development of “walk out” shopping. This combines computer vision, sensor technology, and machine deep learning that allows customers to simply grab their products and walk out, paying via an app. There’s also the trend of buying a product online and picking it up in-store, which helps consumers avoid the wait of having it shipped to their home.
With the convenience and speed of the consumer experience reaching new heights, marketers must find the space to capture people’s attention. I’ve previously written on micro-moments, which deals with this same hurdle. These changes that will begin to define physical stores further emphasizes the challenge that marketers will have in addressing consumers.
Broad strokes and major innovations: Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things is all about connectivity. Information is spread and shared throughout multiple devices, leading to higher levels of personalization and responsiveness. In a sense, it creates an open dialogue between consumers and brands. More information from IoT-connected devices means that brands are able to observe and learn more, and respond to an individual’s needs. For example, say that an IoT-connected refrigerator senses that they are low on food. It can then recommend products, based on previous purchases or based on information from a connected smartphone’s search history.
This gives marketers and brands the chance to interact with consumers on a regular basis, and in a more meaningful way than ever before. A fully-realized IoT system is secure, efficient, and far more effective for consumers looking for products that suit them perfectly. When brands are able to harness IoT technologies, they can truly integrate themselves into consumers’ lives.