Pushing the boundaries with the latest digital trends
The digital world never stays still for long; being online today means you have to continually prove your worth – and 2020 is more competitive than ever before. The way in which we interact has fundamentally changed, pushing technology further up the agenda and placing more emphasis than ever on our digital ‘shop window’: the website. So, with over 2 billion websites across the world, how can B2B marketers maintain an edge and set their sites apart from the rest?
Keeping updated with the latest trends and features can not only help enhance the user experience but drive customer loyalty, to keep them clicking back for more. With this in mind, here’s our top three trends to look out for in 2020 and beyond:
1. AI-driven design
Using AI-driven design can really help to take the B2B buyer journey to a new level. The technology works by continually learning from online interactions to deliver a better user experience. Already, AI is used to form automatic and intuitive responses to user requests, and now it’s taking it one step further. Think about how successful Netflix has been in adapting the content you see on your profile to best suit your needs. It’s a tactic that could work elsewhere too: by adopting a user-centric approach and tailoring content, we’re more likely to meet customer expectations and ultimately, improve engagement.
And in the future? Expect to see AI being used to improve a site’s accessibility – a growing priority for many organisations. Reviewing websites for accessibility compliance is time-consuming and costly, but we could see AI being more readily used to scan sites at regular intervals to make sure it meets requirements for motor, cognitive and visual impairments.
2. Conversational marketing
Marketing is no longer one-sided – users expect their opinion to be heard, too. For websites, this means they want an immediate response to any queries, rather than waiting days for an email or phone call. Although conversational marketing has been around for a while with feedback forms and social media, expect to see AI being used to provide an even more personalised user experience. So, how can we achieve this? Companies like Drift are leading the way in using conversational AI to engage customers and prospects, thanks to their ‘advanced personalisation’ offering – and it’s really exciting. Their chatbot technology is evolving to be able to recognise existing customers and deliver more tailored messages, rather than just a predefined text. Users can even be directed to their account manager to keep the conversation going.
Again, this all links back to UX and knowing how your users move through the sales funnel so you can personalise their journey as much as possible. The more data you have at your fingertips, the more relevant the content and the more likely the B2B buyer is to revisit.
3. Progressive web apps
While native apps have been around since the dawn of the smartphone, they can be difficult and expensive to build. But what other options are there? Progressive web apps (PWAs) are a growing trend in the digital space, offering enhanced functionality with all the features we’ve come to love from native apps. B2B e-commerce company, Alibaba, is a great example of a website using PWAs to encourage customers to re-engage. In fact, results showed a 76% increase in their conversions across all browsers.
The new ‘smart’ look and feel means any website can be turned into a PWA – without the high development costs. Users can be prompted to add a PWA to their home screen and expect the same behaviour as a native app, like push notifications and offline support. PWAs are a great way to engage with users across a wide range of different platforms, and they look here to stay.
Meeting their needs, not yours
These are just three trends that can help B2B marketers raise their game and develop cutting-edge, user-friendly website journeys that resonate with their target audience. It’s important to remember that ultimately, websites need to meet the complex and wide-ranging needs of users rather than simply being a platform to tell your brand’s story. There’ll be plenty of time for storytelling, but it always comes back to the user, after all.
Explore more site considerations and best practice by reading our latest issue of The Knowledge – available now for ungated and free download here.
Continue the winning websites conversation with the B2B NAV podcast. In this episode, we discuss the role of a website and whether it is still a brand’s ‘shop window’? As well as how web design is evolving with smarter tech at our finger tips. Watch the video version here.