I had the opportunity to attend Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain on February 25-28th 2019.

What is the Mobile World Congress?

MWC is the largest mobile event in the world that brings the latest technologies and innovation from more than 2,400 companies. Each year more than 100,000 people attend to learn more about the latest technologies through private tours and breakout sessions.
Some of the topics include: artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, 5G telephony, machine learning, Internet of Things (IoT), and edge computing, but the main event theme this year was “Intelligent Connectivity”, the term used to describe the combination of high-speed 5G, the IoT, AI and big data.

Being a part of the technology industry for years, I have a lot of knowledge and passion on a variety of these topics and was honored to lead and participate in a few sessions during the four-day event. My tours and sessions had attendees from Samsung, 4YFN (Four Years From Now – Innovation Incubation Team) and Tracy Locke agency, among others. I spoke about the latest in 5G mobile technology, AI, facial recognition, IoT, robotics, e-commerce and analytics.

Key Technologies at MWC

Overall, the show focused on customer service, utilizing technology to improve digital consumer experience. In particular, there were two technologies that I found very interesting at this year’s show, the evolution of chatbots and guided purchasing sessions in e-commerce.
Many companies are looking to chatbots and human hybrid responses to improve online customer chat, and Microsoft has developed a way to analyze and color code these chat conversations with a new dashboard. Imagine 500 chatbot conversations going on simultaneously: Of the 500 chatbot conversations with customers, 100 conversations are going poorly. With the Microsoft dashboard, the 100 poor conversations are coded red, and a human customer service team is notified. Now that these conversations have reached “code red,” a physical human can intervene and re-tailor the messaging to better the customer needs, ideally creating a better consumer experience. As companies continue to find ways to implement chatbots on e-commerce sites, they will continue to look for ways to create a healthy balance between consumers interacting with chatbots and customer service representatives.

Another digital commerce customer experience focus that I found interesting: guided purchasing sessions. A company called Zooma has developed a questionnaire to better understand what the consumer is looking for when they land on your site. For example, a shopper is looking to buy wine on Amazon.com but is overwhelmed with choices. Zooma navigates through a quick series of six to seven questions to help the shopper figure out what they are looking for based on their responses – think of it as a “choose your own adventure” of sorts. This concept has received positive feedback and has helped e-commerce sites lift sales 33% from the first touch to last.

Takeaways

It’s easy to see how attendees could be overwhelmed at Mobile World Congress; MWC covers so many emerging technologies impacting businesses. With so many choices, some attendees decide to focus on a single tech trend and incorporate it into their business strategy; however, I’d advise companies that are looking to innovate to focus on a few technologies to transformation both their business and the consumer experience.

Combining a few of these technologies will also help create a more significant value proposition. For example, big data analytics stems from combining and using multiple technologies to collect feedback on user behavior. You also need to identify the key audience demographics through market research.

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Perhaps your shopper likes to use their mobile phone in the physical retail store, scanning QR codes on packages to learn more about the product. Or maybe they like interacting with chatbots on your e-commerce site to get more product information. It’s important to you do your research to understand what your ideal target consumer wants from their buying experience, so you can further tailor the appropriate technologies to assist them. The right blend of technologies will help lift sales and create a more personalized experience for the consumer.

How These Trends at MWC Impact Packaging

From what I saw at the show, I believe there are two technologies that will impact both packaging and the retail experience. Analyzing a customer’s mood through facial recognition and what their eyes focus on when in the store through eye-tracking technology contextualizes shopper behavior. These shopper insights enable consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies to design more compelling packaging designs and advertising, while retailers can adjust product placement on the shelf, store layouts, etc.

When a man enters a sporting goods store, for example, the eye-tracking technology identifies that he is looking for menswear (based on the department signs that his eyes are scanning), but he appears to be disgruntled (facial recognition) while wandering the ladies section at the front of the store. With this knowledge, the sporting goods store may decide to place more menswear near the front in the future, making it easier to find. Blending these leading-edge technologies can help create higher lift for retailers. (There are other virtual reality tools available that can help CPG companies and retailers with product packaging and placement on the shelf, check out this post here.)

Conclusion

As the latest technologies evolve, both companies and consumers will see a better, more customized buying journey that can potentially equate to improved consumer experience and increased purchasing loyalty. The companies who focus on identifying their key demographic and implementing a combination of technologies their demographic enjoys using will find the most success. I’m glad I had the opportunity to attend MWC and am looking forward to next year’s event.

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