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Forget personalised experiences – here's why individualised experiences are the next big thing in tech

Forget the term personalisation, that is old hat. Cue in individualised experiences instead. Country managing director of Accenture Interactive New Zealand Justin Gray says this is the shift happening in the relationship between companies and their customers in the post digital era, in which new technologies are rapidly evolving people’s expectations and behaviour. Companies are moving from personalised products to individualised experiences, creating an ongoing, one-to-one relationship with each customer where technology is the key enabler.

This trend towards individualisation was unearthed in Accenture’s Technology Vision 2019.

As everything becomes digital – becoming core to the way we shop, work, learn, communicate, decide, respond and even elect our leaders – a new generation of advanced technologies will drive the next level of growth and innovation and companies are required to master this new set of technologies to differentiate themselves.

An interesting example of how companies are crafting individualised experiences can be found with lending platform, SlicePay who found a way to serve students without a bank account in India.

SlicePay runs 'credit' checks by examining applicants use of technology and how often they post photos of themselves on holiday or check in to restaurants on social media.

This may seem like an unorthodox measure of financial viability, but they offer useful insight into spending patterns. Combined with other tech-derived metrics, SlicePay uses these insights to build applicant profiles that replace traditional financial histories.

New technologies allow consumers to access personalised products and services on demand, and they also enable businesses to produce products more quickly and inexpensively.

For example, Cotton On personalise some of its range; customers can put their initials on leggings and tops and order this online.

Of course, with this individualising of experiences there are challenges. There are times when consumers want more technology in their lives, and times they don’t. How far can you go with individualisation? There’s a line between ‘useful’ and ‘creepy’ and what’s more, it varies for each person.

By understanding the technology people choose to use and how they use it, businesses—like technology—can become engrained in a person’s life and deliver the experiences consumers truly want.

A key element of this move to individualisation is the ability of the company to capture a moment. What do we mean by that? It’s about being able to deliver goods or services to a customer at their moment of need.

Mastering momentary markets will be both an art and a science. The art lies in picking the right opportunities to be both effective and welcomed by consumers, while the science is in building a company that can create context-aware, customised products and services on demand.

Take Californian-based Zume Pizzas. It has an app that forwards custom orders directly to an assembly line of pizza making robots. The machines roll dough, add sauce and cook, letting the company deliver just what the customer wants up to 20 minutes faster than the competition.

These pushes toward momentary markets are the natural evolution of a digitally maturing world. Since businesses and consumers have increasingly turned to online interactions, on-demand services and customisable products have become cheaper and easier to execute. Netflix and Spotify, for example, brought entertainment out of stores and directly into people’s homes.

Companies that weave a technology strategy to meet and even exceed these growing customer expectations will find themselves far ahead of the competition—and ready for a post-digital future.

What’s more, when businesses become capable of delivering for the moment, and capable of delivering individualised experiences the customer wants, they can adapt their granular demand forecasting to look even further into the future.

The next step for businesses will be getting ahead of larger trends, giving themselves ample time to develop their market strategies and prepare the business for where it needs to be in the future.

This ability to remain continuously relevant—a living business in the face of constantly changing customer, partner, or employee needs—will set the successful apart in a way not possible before.

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