By Greg Gatherer, Account Manager, Liferay Africa

Over the past two years, companies around the world learned just how important digital experiences are. For many organisations, those digital experiences were simply the only kind they could provide their customers. And while the world’s opened back up and COVID-19 restrictions have fallen by the wayside, many customers have stuck with those digital experiences, preferring them to their in-person equivalents.

But even as the organisations that successfully built great digital experiences revel in their achievements, it’s easy to forget just how much effort had to go into building those digital experiences so quickly. And if organisations aren’t careful, they may find themselves on the wrong end of the next black swan event.

It’s therefore critical that they do everything in their power to future-proof their digital experiences.

Adaptable outside the hype
It’s important to note, however, that there’s a big difference between future-proofing your digital experiences and jumping on the next hype train. For example, if you’re a manufacturer, you probably don’t need to claim space in the metaverse just yet. Nor do you need to be integrating NFTs into your sales processes.

Of course, there will always be new technologies that become more useful down the line than they initially appear. Take virtual reality (VR) for example. Much of the early hype around it concerned its potential for gaming and entertainment. And while those use cases still exist, it’s proving incredibly valuable in the manufacturing, mining, and construction spaces. Manufacturers can demonstrate new pieces of equipment to customers around the globe as long as they have a VR headset and a stable internet connection. They can also easily train those customers’ employees on the equipment at a fraction of the cost.

Greg Gatherer

Greg Gatherer: Account Manager, Liferay Africa

But it’s important to remember that those kinds of features are supplements to the overall digital experience. Digital journeys and experiences only work when you achieve a high level of user engagement. Equally critical, it’s important to remember that your digital experiences should form a seamless journey that makes it as easy as possible for someone to go from being a potential customer to being a fully-fledged, loyal, repeat buyer.

That means building experiences that can easily be adapted to individual customers’ changing wants and needs.

The power of DXPs, self-service
Getting to that point requires the ability to pull in data from a number of disparate sources. That, in turn, makes digital experience platforms (DXPs) critical.  DXPs connect disparate data sources into one user experience – for example, a web portal or mobile app.

Digital self-service tools, meanwhile, can also be helpful. By streamlining ordering through a self-service portal, for example, you eliminate the need for customers to take time to speak with a customer service representative.

Remember, the foremost goal of digital experiences is to reduce friction throughout the customer journey. That not only means meeting customers where they are but doing so in a way which makes it as easy as possible for them to take the customer journey they want on those channels. No matter what new customer-facing technologies become available, connecting data from across the organisation and self-service tools will always be important.

Ultimately, no matter how much technology changes, the fundamentals of a good digital experience will remain the same.

Always be adaptable
Over the last two or so years, organisations have learned just how vital good digital experiences are. But the last thing they should do is assume that they’ve now cracked the code and can once again leave things as they are. Taking that route once again leaves them open to shocks.

Instead, they need to constantly adapt to the changing customer environment. Digital experience, like digital transformation,  isn’t a static concept. It’s evolving all the time and organisations need to understand that to remain competitive. The right tools can make doing so a lot simpler.

The only thing we know for certain about the future is that it’s uncertain. But that doesn’t mean organisations are powerless. By taking an approach that centres on rapid adaptability, organisations of all kinds give themselves the best chance of ensuring that their digital experiences are future ready.

Submitted by Irvine Partners