Happy Friday! ‘This week in CX’ brings you the latest roundup of industry news.

This week, we’re looking at AI’s domination in CX trends for this year, and global online retail sales growth predictions.

Key news

  • Consumer group Which? and debt charity StepChange have issued a warning about the potential pitfalls of retail loyalty schemes that encourage shoppers to meet spending targets. These gamified incentives, a recent addition to loyalty programmes being offered by major UK supermarkets, may lead to overspending, they say. In January, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority announced a review of supermarket loyalty pricing to determine if these promotions are genuine or potentially misleading, with an update on its findings expected in July. 
  • Consumer confidence is on the upswing across Europe, with Germany and the UK leading the charge. The latest GfK Consumer Climate survey reveals that Germany’s consumer sentiment continues to recover, buoyed by falling inflation and rising wages. Similarly, UK consumer confidence reached its highest level since December 2021 in May, as households became optimistic about their personal finances compared to the previous years.
  • More than 25,000 current and former BBC employees have had their details exposed in a data breach. The BBC’s pension scheme provider wrote to members on Wednesday to inform them that their information – including name, date of birth, sex, address and national insurance number – had been stolen in a data security incident. 

AI dominates 80% of top customer experience trends in 2024

AI comprises eight out of the ten top trends influencing customer experience in 2024, according to new data. The findings were highlighted by the customer experience experts at CX Network. While AI features several times in the top-10 list, it is also an enabler of other trends, such as automation and self-service. 

Respondents were asked to select the three trends having the greatest influence on their role at present. The most selected responses included AI-powered technologies for operations, automation, generative AI chatbots and virtual assistants, conversational AI chatbots and virtual assistants, and generative AI for marketing/hyper-personalisation.

Only two of the top ten trends, namely employee engagement and customer loyalty, are not directly linked to AI. The findings highlight the pivotal role AI-powered technologies play in revolutionising customer interactions and operational efficiency. 

“Artificial intelligence is critical to meeting the customer’s demand for friction-free and convenient support and is increasingly being recognised as a driver of both operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. With a new generation of tools in the marketplace, CX practitioners are equipping and upskilling their teams to meet more customer demands than ever before, without increasing headcount. 

“However, our research also found customers want transparency around how AI is being used for CX and failure to deliver on this could impact loyalty in the longer term. This means organisations must begin their AI journey to be fully transparent about how they collect and use customer data, train AI models and deal with bias and hallucinations.”

Melanie Mingas, Editor-in-Chief of CX Network

Global Online Retail Sales To Grow 8.9% Annually, Reaching $6.8 Trillion In 2028

Forrester forecasts that total global online retail sales will grow from $4.4 trillion in 2023 to $6.8 trillion by 2028 at an 8.9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). According to the report ‘Global Retail E-Commerce Forecast, 2024 To 2028‘, which provides a five-year forecast for total, online, and offline retail sales for 40 countries globally, despite the growth in e-commerce, 76% (or $21.9 trillion) of global retail sales will still occur offline in 2028. As a result, retailers must continue to invest in omnichannel strategies that provide a seamless shopping experience, both online and offline.

Europe findings:

  • In Western European countries — including Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the UK — online retail sales are expected to grow from $508 billion in 2023 to $773 billion in 2028, with online retail penetration increasing from 15% to 20%. The UK will continue to be the biggest market for retail e-commerce, followed by Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.
  • In Eastern Europe, online retail penetration is half that of Western Europe. Forrester forecasts that online retail sales for the top five Eastern European countries — Russia, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary — will increase from $72 billion in 2023 to $126 billion in 2028, with Russia and Poland leading the region.

Thanks for tuning into CXM’s weekly roundup of industry news. Check back next Friday for the latest updates of the week!

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