Social media has become a viable sales platform, customer data resource and customer service tool for businesses.
However, over time uses for social media channels will evolve and impact both businesses and their audiences.
New trends have emerged that point towards video as one of the most important channels of the future.
According to Nielsen’s Australian Online Landscape Review, the average adult spends over seven hours per month watching online videos.
Some businesses, like AT&T, have already embraced video to personalise adverting to their customers and have seen increases in their return of investment, for customers that viewed their videos (Social Annex, 2016).
Video has also been embraced by businesses to assist customer service. Tech brands are using the popular app, Snapchat, to help users solve queries with their software, in an interactive and personalised way.
2.Virtual reality technology (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are fast becoming a popular new resource for retailers.VR technology can bring both product and service experiences to life for customers.
Experts predict retailers are going to be the greatest contributors to the VR economy as these types of technologies will play a major role in customer experiences,
“the annual revenue of the VR industry is forecasted to grow from less than $1 billion to $30 billion by 2020” (Social Annex, 2016).
Applications using either technology stand to eliminate customer pain points, elevate customer service, and create a differentiated, personalised customer experience.
In a recent survey, 41% of UK shoppers said they would be interested in a VR or AR experience that would help them see how products would look in their home, while a further 39% were interested in seeing virtual demonstrations (eMarketer, 2016).
The successful incorporation of VR and AR into retail models also has the potential to vastly change the way retailers are thinking about stores of the future (Mckone, Haslehurst, Steingoltz, 2016).
3. Facebook Messenger chatbots
Experts are also predicting that Social media will have a prevalent role in customer service in the near future.
Facebook has recently introduced the launch of an e-commerce and retail customer service through their Facebook Messenger app, Business on messenger.
At the launch, Facebook showed how they could order a shirt with a retailer, receive confirmation of their order and modify their order, all within the Facebook Messenger app.
The communication process was quick, easy and personal. Nearly 50% of UK internet users surveyed in May 2016 by myclever Agency say they would use a chatbot—a sort of virtual assistant—to obtain quick emergency answers if the option were available (eMarketer,2016).
Professor of strategic management Joshua Gans says Facebooks latest development “has the markings of a larger communications movement as corporations become more and more socialised.”(Gans, 2016).
Read more how digital technologies influence the retail sector https://www.azpiral.com/digital-technologies-influence-retail-sector/