Digital trends to watch: personalization, AI, metaverse and more

By Acclaro
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Digital trends to watch: personalization, AI, metaverse and more

Change is inevitable in business. Best practices, regulations, customer demands, and technology are all constantly evolving. The COVID-19 pandemic caused sudden, seismic shifts in how businesses need to operate. Your company’s ability to recognize and embrace digital innovation is key to remain competitive and open new opportunities in a continually changing business landscape.

Here are 4 digital trends that can help give your company the edge in 2022.

1. Personalization is a must-have

Creating an engaging customer experience has long been critical to success, and today companies can tap into enormous amounts of customer data to help them do it. Knowing locations, interests, language preferences, search and purchase histories allows your global brand to create a highly personalized digital experience for all of your customers, across languages and cultures.

This is important because customer expectations have never been higher. According to SmarterHQ, 72% of consumers say they only engage with personalized messaging. That makes personalization crucial to your company’s ability to compete and thrive in the global marketplace.

“To take personalization to the next level, marketers have to apply personal context to dynamic content. It’s not just related products—but applying the context that the customer purchased it as a gift. It’s not just my name, but applying the context of when it’s right to call me by my first name versus my surname,” says Robert Rose, Chief Strategy Advisor for Content Marketing Institute.

“You need data that’s assembled carefully and thoughtfully, and used judiciously. If we start to really know the customer, we can start to have better contextual information and use technology to deliver better and more personal experiences for them,” continues Rose.

Done right, personalization can be a powerful tool for creating customer loyalty. The UK-based travel company Skyscanner, for example, made itself indispensable to its customer base of over 100 million people speaking 30 languages during the travel disruptions caused by COVID-19.

Using their robust data infrastructure, they sent a daily personalized email to each customer with updates on travel restrictions specific to their travel patterns and interests. The initiative created high levels of engagement, with email open rates 3 to 4 times higher than average and extremely positive customer feedback.

Truly meaningful personalization is only possible with the right localization capabilities in place. Knowing a customer’s name, buying history, interests, and other relevant information can help you determine the right messages to deliver. Communicating those messages in the customer’s preferred language and with an understanding of their culture can help those messages resonate and drive action.

2. AI is the future of talent recruitment and retention

We’ve all seen the headlines about “The Great Resignation.” While some people are retiring early or temporarily leaving the workforce, many are simply moving on to bigger and better things. According to Gloat, a leader in AI-based talent solutions, 48% of employees are currently looking for a new job or will be in the next 90 days. Of these job-seekers, more than 65% are motivated by the promise of a better opportunity.

This isn’t simply a US-based phenomenon, either. Job vacancies have surged in Canada, the UK, Australia, and parts of the European Union, as well. The trend will continue through 2022.

The tight global labor market has made hiring and retaining top talent a prime focus for most companies—and in some cases, a major hurdle to clear. Among respondents to Zywave’s 2021 Human Resources Benchmarking Overview, 67% of employers consider employee attraction and retention somewhat challenging. In 2022, organizations will increasingly turn to artificial intelligence (AI) and automation to meet staffing goals while also taking some of the burden off their HR teams. Here’s how:

Screening applicants

High-performing AI solutions can quickly and efficiently screen applicants, using data from previous job placements along with other defined parameters to find highly qualified candidates. These solutions decrease both time-to-fill and cost-per-hire, two key talent-acquisition metrics.

Onboarding new employees

AI-driven chatbots can walk new hires through company policies, collect employee information, and streamline submission of documents—relieving HR staff of a repetitive, time-consuming activity.

Upskilling existing employees

Companies with strong learning cultures have retention rates 30-50% higher than other companies, according to education solutions provider Lorman. AI-powered solutions can deliver upskilling programs more effectively, connecting learners with the right content and creating online mentor-mentee relationships based on data gathered from employee reviews.

3. The value of data lies in what you do with it

If we think of data as a raw material, then business intelligence (BI) is the process of turning that raw material into an actionable asset. It provides meaningful information you can use to optimize business decisions and improve performance over time. This can include:

  • Increasing sales and revenue
  • Improving customer satisfaction and promoting loyalty
  • Easing entry into new markets

While most companies agree that BI has clear benefits, it’s also true that these solutions are often not fully operationalized throughout the organization. This may be changing in the wake of the pandemic. As companies move more of their business activities online, they have also invested more in business intelligence and analytics. A survey conducted by research firm Dresner Advisory Services found that about half of respondents increased spending on these solutions in 2020 and 2021.

For global companies or those looking to expand internationally, robust BI capabilities are especially critical. Effectively assimilating data from around the world can provide insights into pricing, supply chain, marketing, and other key business decisions—all of which can translate into a competitive advantage.

Within global organizations, there can be a misperception of localization programs as a cost center rather than as an investment that will drive revenue. The right approaches to business intelligence can help localization teams quantify the return on investment (ROI) of translation and localization and prove their value to the organization:

Translation management systems (TMS)

Reporting from translation management systems (TMSs) allows your localization team to pinpoint key data points to demonstrate how localization contributes to your organization’s larger business goals, such as expanding market share, increasing revenue, and speeding up time to market.

Strategy-driven localization

The more localization acts as a strategic function in your organization, the greater chance you have of gaining support and funding for your programs. By aligning your efforts with the company’s strategic directives, you can measure ROI and demonstrate the importance of localization in achieving the organization’s overall business goals.

4. The metaverse is where the opportunity is

One of the most talked-about trends for 2022 is the emergence of the metaverse, but what is the metaverse exactly? Broadly speaking, the term refers to 3D virtual worlds—think cyberspace, but transformed into a richer experience with virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) capabilities.

Immersive technologies are rapidly being adopted by global enterprises. VR and AR are separate but complementary capabilities. They can deliver significant ROI for your organization and have a wide variety of applications, from improving internal training programs to creating more engaging customer experiences.

The potential of VR and AR extends across industries and markets. According to 2021 Shopify retail data, products with AR content showed a 94% higher conversion rate than products without AR. In entertainment and media, VR and AR are transforming everything from video games to TV shows to live music performances.

Cybersecurity companies are using VR to train specialists, and medical companies are turning to these capabilities to deliver remote healthcare for patients. VR and AR are revolutionizing the way financial institutions connect with customers, creating more accessible and personalized experiences.

In EdTech, VR and AR are being used to create immersive learning environments at every level of education—from virtual field trips for schoolchildren to hands-on training programs for professionals such as firefighters.

“Having been involved in AR and VR for thirty years, I’ve seen many false starts where enthusiasm surges and fades away,” says Louis Rosenberg, a pioneer in immersive technologies, and founder of Unanimous AI, a company that combines real-time human insights and AI algorithms modeled after natural swarms.

“That’s not what is happening right now. The surge in activity we saw in 2021 will accelerate in 2022 as companies race against each other to get to meaningful consumer applications first,” continues Rosenberg.

Exactly how big an opportunity is immersive technology? PricewaterhouseCoopers predicts that VR and AR will increase global GDP by $1.5 trillion by 2030. Companies that can fully realize the promise of the metaverse are set to gain a powerful competitive advantage—boosting revenue in existing markets and fueling expansion into new markets.

Moving forward confidently

Digital innovation can help your company deepen insights, optimize business decisions, and expand your reach internationally. Partnering with a professional localization and translation company is another way to ensure global success. Contact us today to learn how we can tailor a strategic localization program that allows your organization to capitalize on opportunities anywhere in the world.

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