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It’s that time of the year again: reflecting on the year that’s past as we prepare for 2019 lurking around the corner. In this article, we have a roundup of some of our fan favorite pieces from 2018 on emerging technology.

From the rise of artificial intelligence to chatbot powered marketing, Magic Leap shaking the AR industry to big name brands snuggling up to blockchain, these were some of our highlights from the past year.

We also have a roundup of our top articles from each of our other three staple categories: marketing technology, digital marketing, and digital transformation.

1. Can artificial intelligence create content as well as a human?

Will robots take over our jobs? Ever the question.

Earlier this year, we received an email from a company that uses artificial intelligence to create content.

They said, “You choose the topic and length, and our algorithm will create your content.”

So in this article, we got some AI to actually write a bit of our article. The result? A piece of content that is surprisingly … normal. A few typos for sure, but with a bit of human editing, it could fare pretty well.

So if you’ve been wondering, “can AI create content as well as a human?” — here’s your answer.

2. How new technologies will affect your marketing strategy

Technology has played an integral role in the growth of marketing over the years.

3. 10 industries utilizing augmented reality

When it comes to augmented reality, we often think of Pokémon Go and other such games.

However, the technology has grown far beyond the gaming and entertainment sectors.

In this article, we look at popular use cases of augmented reality in the business world.

Manufacturing, education, health care, marketing, fashion, travel, navigation, retail, food and beverage, and enterprise — these are all industries using AR.

4. Brands and blockchain: How Walmart, Burger King and De Beers are snuggling up to decentralization

Is Bitcoin the future of money? Has the cryptocurrency bubble already popped?

It depends who you ask. The topic of Bitcoin is just as polarizing as it is hot. But no matter how volatile Bitcoin stocks may be, its underlying technology, blockchain, still has huge potential for digital transformation.

We often talk about blockchain in a speculative way, but brands like Walmart, Amazon and Burger King are already embracing the technology.

Diamond powerhouse De Beers even has plans for its own industry blockchain.

In this article, we look at what six big brands are doing to cozy up to decentralization and apply the power of blockchain to their work.

5. Five brands that prove chatbot-powered marketing is the future

As personal assistants like Siri and Alexa become a normal part of consumers’ digital experiences and our interactions with devices get increasingly more conversational, many companies are working to incorporate chatbots into their marketing strategies.

In this article, we look at five brands who bet on chatbots — with excellent results.

Starbucks, Aeromexico, Sephora, National Geographic, and Taco Bell are among the early adopters of chatbot-powered marketing.

6. Magic Leap shakes the AR industry in 2018. What’s next?

One of the companies that made the biggest splash in the augmented reality industry this year was Magic Leap.

After eight years of hype (a total investment of $2.6 billion), they only recently introduced their first product to their audience in August of this year.

How did their first AR headset goggles affect the AR industry? Did it meet expectations? And why is this company threatening big tech giants that want to succeed in this competitive market?

In this article, we looked at Magic Leap’s big news, what the change meant for marketers, and how would affect our strategies.

Stay tuned for more “Best of 2018” roundups on Monday!

The post Best of 2018: Emerging technology news and trends appeared first on ClickZ.

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This past holiday season, internet sales for Wednesday through Black Friday surged 26.4 percent compared to last year, generating a whopping $12.3 billion in sales. From product browsing to checkout, consumers crave convenience and efficiency when shopping online, and this craving will only intensify as we move into the new year.

Throughout my tenure in the ecommerce, payments and technology space, I’ve seen trends wax and wane over the years but there are a few themes that remain consistent in all of them: innovation and creativity.

Brands need to set themselves apart from competitors in order to build a strong reputation amongst customers and keep them coming back to their online store to shop.

Below are three trends I see coming to 2019 that online sellers need to embrace in order to provide the shopping experiences consumers will be looking for online.

AR/VR technologies will become more integrated in the checkout process

When it comes to the future of checkout, artificial and virtual reality are two technologies that will eventually become more integrated into the process.

In a world dominated by emerging technologies like AR and VR, consumers are becoming more focused on experiences, according to The Guardian. In fact, an ISACA survey notes that 62 percent of US consumers believe that augmented reality enhancements would benefit their shopping experience.

How do these technologies benefit the overall shopping experience? To start, AR and VR could help the seller better showcase what they’re selling, and the end-user visualize what they’re buying.

Remember: convenience and efficiency are the goals for your shopper. This is especially true for digital goods sellers who are offering products that aren’t tangible, like software.

I like to think of the process inevitably beginning with the implementation of artificial and virtual reality, which can then lead to a visually appealing shopping experience for the consumer, and finally ending with a simple checkout process to complete one flawless transaction.

These technologies will eventually create more visually appealing experiences to shop for any type of product and reduce the frustration of a complicated checkout process. The result your business can look forward to gaining is more knowledgeable and satisfied customers coming back time and time again to buy your products online.

While consistent integration of AR and VR within an ecommerce platform is not expected until the distant future, your business can start thinking now about where these types of emerging will play a role in your processes and how your company will adapt accordingly. 

Subscription services will out-perform the traditional business model

With the rise of subscription-based selling and usership, there’s a fundamental shift occurring in the way people purchase, especially when it comes to digital goods.

According to a McKinsey & Company survey, the subscription ecommerce market has grown by more than 100 percent a year over the past five years, with the largest retailers generating more than $2.6B in sales in 2016, up from $57.0M in 2011.

In fact, the same survey revealed 15 percent of online shoppers have subscribed to an e-commerce service over the past year, with 46 percent of respondents subscribed to an online streaming-media service including Netflix.

In order to keep up, online sellers must embrace and understand how this shift in purchase behavior will help or hurt their business model, and know when, if and how to make a change. Once a brand can identify what the customer is looking for, businesses can tailor their approaches to meet these expectations and deliver a quick and easy experience.

2019 will see a transition out of the traditional business model of simply selling a product or service to a customer into a preferred subscription-based service where remembering to pay a bill is taken care of and digital goods are easily delivered.

Dynamic commerce will be required for online sellers to stay afloat

Consumer expectations now require brands and online sellers to deliver a fast, easy, secure and personalized shopping experience from browsing to checkout.

Some consumers are even willing to pay the price for a top-notch experience, too.

According to a recent DataStax ‘Me Culture’ survey, nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) international adults are willing to spend extra to reduce their wait times for services they care about. Those willing to pay more will shell out, on average, 21 percent extra to reduce their wait.

To that point, 2019 will be the year of dynamic commerce, which allows the ability to have your customer-facing pages to dynamically update based on multiple factors, such as browsing history and geolocation.

While this process heightens the overall shopping experience, simultaneously it also allows a brand to showcase forms of innovation and creativity resulting in efficient purchases and satisfied customers. A personalized experience for the shopper is almost guaranteed from content to currency.

Online sellers need to act now to keep up with the changes to come. AR/VR will become more integrated into the shopping experience, particularly the checkout process and subscription services will out-perform the traditional business model.

Dynamic commerce will also be required to ensure a personalized customer experience and keep online sellers on top. 

Get ready for these new and exciting trends to come. Your customers are ready. Are you?

Chris Lueck is CEO of FastSpring.

The post Ecommerce trends 2019: What online sellers should embrace appeared first on ClickZ.