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What Themes Dominated the CET Market in 2011

In 2011, there were 3 themes that dominated the customer engagement technology (CET) landscape - Mobility, Convergence and Application Development.

The need to take the store (or the checkout environment, in the least) to the customers at the point-of-decision, as opposed to drawing them to siloed touchpoints, is contributing to this growing demand for a seamless & consistent shopping experience across multiple customer-facing technology solutions.

A whole host of retail organizations have announced consumer handheld deployments within their installation environments in order to elevate customer service levels and drive loyalty over the past 12 months. VDC expects to see continued investment by retailers in these devices in 2012, especially given their relatively low upfront costs, intuitive user interface and high consumer appeal. While the verdict is not out yet on the success of these installations, it has become fairly commonplace to read about chain-wide deployments of Apple products.

Enterprise mobile device vendors have also been investing heavily in partnerships with the Independent Software Vendor (ISV) community to offer customized application sets that enable end-users to seamlessly integrate mobile solutions into their installation environments, ensuring consistency in service delivery and customer experience. As adoption of mobile devices scales, development of applications with varying degrees of configuration and control seems to be a very distinct possibility.

Finding Success in 2012

VDC expects the most successful suppliers in 2012 will be those who enable end-users to extend the value of their initial hardware investments and reduce TCO by supporting multiple applications with a single (mobile) device.

At the NRF later this month, we look forward to seeing CET vendors’ product roadmaps for 2012. We expect they will showcase their ability to effectively engage consumers and elevate service levels by way of immersive and interactive technology solutions – in alignment with today’s consumer handhelds featuring highly responsive, intuitive UIs and visually appealing image quality.

Multi-touch displays for kiosks and digital signage solutions anyone?

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