How Biometric Technology and Analytics are helping retailers bounce back

By Gary Williams, Director of Sales and Consultancy UK and Ireland at Spitch

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the last year has created a lot of new needs for consumers and business owners alike. With the pandemic forcing non-essential retailers to close their doors for the majority of 2020, many were forced to face the realities of e-commerce strategies.

This did create opportunities for creativity, with even the smallest retailers embracing new solutions such as digital wallets, open banking, voice recognition and artificial intelligence. All of these technologies have experienced an adoption boom over the last twelve months as retailers moved their focus almost exclusively online.

E-commerce has changed the way that customers have shopped drastically and as a result, customer expectations have changed. So, what is it that customers are looking for from an e-commerce experience?

  1. Preference for self-service technologies

Customer expectations have been evolving over a number of years but no more so than during the pandemic. While face to face interactions were once the markers of a positive retail experience, the renewed focus on hygiene and a growing familiarity with e-commerce has changed the landscape. Customers are now much more readily engaging with e-commerce sites, a change that is predicted to be permanent, even after the pandemic ends.

The rise in e-commerce has led to an increasing preference for self-service technologies like AI chatbots and agents. Voice technologies are also working to improve customer experiences with automated call centres utilising language processing to service customers. It is even happening in the home, with people turning to their Alexa’s to make snap Amazon purchases. These technologies allow customers to buy products and gain assistance with their enquiries without interacting with another human being. This means that they can get help at any time, improving the customer experience and also reducing costs for businesses.

  1. Positive customer experience

Despite the growing trend towards self-service, the significance of maintaining a positive customer experience is still paramount. As businesses expand their e-commerce offering, they need to be able to balance good customer service by adding new channels and touchpoints to the customer journey for example manned chatbots on websites or an automated helpline for returns or enquiries. Businesses that can do so are much more likely to be secure in the future with buyers willing to pay more for a great customer experience.

Technology such as conversational analytics allows businesses to analyse all the channels of interaction in the omnichannel environment, whether voice, text or even social media. This means that you can infer characteristics such as emotional state and personality from a customer’s tone of voice. In turn, this gives companies the ability to mould their customer service to their customers more effectively, resulting in greater customer satisfaction.

  1. Secure Data

With increased exposure to customer’s financial information, e-commerce comes with greater risk in terms of cybersecurity breaches. Customers looking to carry out a transaction expect the business to be able to keep that information safe. In the same way that many adopt two-factor authentication to secure online purchases, technology such as voice biometrics can also help to identify customers over the phone. This helps to keep their data safe and secure without delaying the process, improving customer experiences and security simultaneously.

Moving forward retailers need to invest in multiple touchpoints, and an omnichannel approach is becoming self-evident for businesses that want to survive long-term. Biometric technology and analytics are helping to make brands more accessible to customers than ever before and giving businesses the tools they need to attract and retain customers now and in the future.

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