2019 has been a year of change at JRNI. We started off as BookingBug, and are entering the new decade as a leading enterprise scheduling platform for personalizing and optimizing the customer journey. We’ve seen tremendous advances in our platform and in our customer base, and we’re living the mantra “one team, one JRNI.”
Moving into 2020, we thought we’d provide some insight into what makes the minds behind JRNI tick. Following are some thoughts on what we’re considering in the new year.
The year that Nordstrom makes Amazon wish they had more physical stores
A few years ago, it would have been an unthinkable notion: Amazon wishing they were anything like the tired, physical department-store model they spoke of obliterating. Today, consumers continue to validate Amazon's model. There's nothing more ubiquitous, or time-saving, than starting their journey online, whether they’re learning about selection, features, price, and brand, and there’s no sign of that behavior waning.
However, if there's one thing we all know about Amazon is that they know how to interpret data better than most. As a result, they appreciate reality like few others. Some products or services simply don't convert as well online as others. Amazon sees it; and, because they show no signs of not doing whatever it takes to be the world's #1 retailer across every product category, they're thinking about what's next.
Service and the human touch matter. Experiences are at the core of Nordstrom's new flagship in New York City. It's a place where personally relevant experiences are designed to envelop the consumer. It drives conversions that are significantly higher than average and is proving to be a powerful new approach to fostering deep brand relationships.
Amazon brought its power to groceries, acknowledging people want to pick their bananas in person. But they may need to rethink what it will take to sell you that great outfit for the company party.
- John Federman, CEO
The year of significant technological developments
2020 will be the year in which accessibility, or rather its absence, will force businesses to deploy solutions that enable all staff to engage effectively and comfortably; that or face the wrath of no-win-no-fee lawyers across the Western hemisphere.
2020 will demonstrate the importance of explainable machine learning, learning that can explain how and why it arrived at a particular conclusion. This will lead to new enterprise products for auditing in the face of autonomous decision-making, in tandem with the emergence of industry-specific compliance frameworks.
For technology and retail, 2020 will be the year during which reasonable people start to question the merits of short-lived, highly disposable, single-use items. In retail, shoppers will be paying greater attention to products' resilience and serviceability, complemented by numerous trading, sharing, and recycling services.
- Simon Copsey, Chief Technology Officer
The year of more Brexit
The uncertainty of the UK's political climate with Brexit looming leaves all businesses in the UK, and many abroad, running with multiple strategies for success, and a readiness to change direction at relatively short notice. It also depends on the public’s daily viewpoint of a parliament that’s turned more into a series of “The Apprentice” or “EastEnders” than a group of people working together for the long-term success of the country.
This is all happening at a time when digital natives are becoming the next set of people with cash to spend. They’re the ones that businesses are trying to focus their energy on as they try to work out how to successfully catch the eye of someone who spends less time focusing on each message than the length of time it’s been proven a goldfish can remember for.
This isn’t great news for the High Street or the big organizations that have always been successful doing what they’re doing. There will also be struggles for the smaller challenger companies that have come to the fore over the last couple of years. Those companies that have the resources to plan for multiple outcomes, yet are agile enough make quick changes whilst focusing relentlessly on their customers, will be successful.
Those who are determined to stick with online-only methods or remain traditional in their working practices will struggle.
- Hayley-Jayne Cone, Chief Customer Officer
The year to look beyond
We'll continue to see an increase in the global distribution of technology teams, with Africa becoming a far more common player in the outsourced technology space.
In Europe, the gap in the cost of the best developers between the major tech hubs (London, Barcelona, and Berlin) and traditionally cheaper regions has closed vastly. With the demand for developers continuing to outpace supply, and as access to the internet increases, Africa sharing a timezone with Europe puts itself in a great place to serve the European market.
The other trend emerging is the demand to understand how everything that contributes to a product is transparent and easy to access. Were the materials sustainably sourced, were the factory workers paid, and the appropriate age, and were the transportation costs net carbon neutral? The building of the product will be transparent, similar to having the ingredients on packaging.
- Joel Sturmfels, Head of Technology
The year to become (way) more personal
In 2020, the retail industry is going to get a little more personal with their consumers.
People want convenience when they shop. They want to use technologies, such as smartphones, shopping apps, and digital coupons, in ways that are tailored to them. Because technology enables individuals to shop whenever they want, retailers must rethink their engagement strategies to put individual customers at the center of them.
And that’s why the new year is going to be all about the individual shopper. Consumers have set the expectation that retailers must connect with them however they demand to help drive foot traffic. It’s no longer about one-size-fits-all approaches; the retailers that engage in such strategies will falter.
The natural evolution of the marketplace has commanded that there will never be one silver bullet to harness the power of omnichannel. However, with the right assortment of digital channels, retailers can successfully deepen their customer relationships and retain profit margins and growth projections.
- Ed Carroll, Vice President of Sales
The year of ethical data collection
In the early dotcom 2.0 days, several short-burn startups operated with the premise of grabbing as much personal data about people as quickly as possible, and then turning around and selling it to bigger companies for marketing.
Over the last decade, we've seen a massive push by companies to gather personal data to target and sell product at people with little regard for the individuals behind the data. Equally, digital rights movements and legislation have pushed back on this trend, and turned from protecting companies to protecting individuals.
We're at a turning point right now, where the next 10 years are going to continue the trend of individuals taking control and visibility over their “digital identities.” Through legislation, such as GDPR and CCPA and their followers, and the awareness that the public will continue to expand, individuals will realize the importance of securing their online data.
My prediction in the upcoming year is that companies will continue to land grab personal data as this is the way. However, the companies that are going to start to shine over the next year will be those that are transparent about how data is being used and that promote ethical use of the information that they have under the spirit of the new legislation.
- Niall Giggins, Head of Engineering
The year of proactivity
Consumers continue to want more choice, more options, more control, and they want it immediately and personally. Over the next year, companies will evolve to leverage customer data - personal preference and history - to drive more proactive service. Service will transform from a traditional Q&A format to a model where predictive assistance and enhanced service is provided proactively.
- Nancy Liberman, Vice President, Marketing