5 Top Digital Experience Trends for 2020

What’s in store for this year’s digital landscape? At Voa Labs, we’ve researched and identified the top 5 digital experience trends of 2020. 

This info can help organizations deliver more compelling customer experiences while maximizing the value of digital products and services. Excellence in digital experience design is vital for navigating customers along the increasing span of digital touchpoints.

#1. Smart Stores

In this age of expanding digital commerce, the lines between physical stores and online stores will continue to blur. Brick-and-mortar stores will boost their digital efforts beyond traditional online shops. For instance, they’ll open APIs, offer online-order/offline-pickup options, or take advantage of immersive technologies.

Meanwhile, digital retailers will open physical stores to provide multi-sensory experiences that they simply can’t offer online.

© Farfetch

How physical and virtual stores evolve will culminate in the same thing: smart physical stores that provide rich customer experiences. These next-generation stores will leverage the advantages of the online and digital experience (e.g. wide product range, rich information, and personalization) together with unique physical store experiences that aren’t available online (e.g. multi-sensory experiences, trials and demo, instant gratification, and relationships with sales associates).

#2. Agent Interfaces

Agent interfaces utilize artificial intelligence technologies to predict user intentions by analyzing user inputs and contextual cues. These predictions help users execute their intentions by easing or automating the process. So, users won’t have to spend so much time figuring out how a tool works; instead, they can focus on using it to get the job done.

Chatbots and voice applications, known as conversational user interfaces, are examples of agent interfaces. 

Agent interfaces are ideal for repetitive, low-stake transactions, such as ordering food, checking an account balance, or requesting an Uber ride.

#3. Multiexperience

Hello multiexperience, the evolution of omnichannel. While omnichannel reflects an inside-out mentality that focuses on channels and technologies, multiexperience reflects an outside-in mentality that focuses on the experience itself.

Until now, people have thought of a computer system in a limited fashion: as a single device. But these days, we have the multiexperience. Now, users interact with platforms made up of multiple touchpoints and sensors, such as smartphones, wearables, or voice assistants.

A multiexperience strategy demands a seamless customer experience. Its success depends on a consistent and unified user experience (UX) across web, mobile, wearable, conversational, and immersive touchpoints. Every touchpoint must be rooted in a single thread of communication; that way, customers will feel like they’re having one continuous conversation with an interconnected system. So, no more having to repeat who they are and what their request is.

“By 2023, more than 25% of the mobile apps, progressive web apps and conversational apps at large enterprises will be built and/or run through a multiexperience development platform.”

– Gartner

#4. Emotion-based Personalization 

Gone are the days when customers can be segmented in one bucket. We know that personalized experiences and products boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, and this insight has led to hyper-personalization with a segment of one

As a next step, products will be adjusted to the customer’s emotional state. Using artificial intelligence (AI), organizations will predict the emotions of users to enhance customer experiences and products, even beyond the purchase.

The ability to identify emotions will also be used for targeted advertising. Indeed, real-time mood-based marketing is a growing trend. Gartner predicts that by 2024, AI identification of emotions will influence more than 50% of all online advertisements. 

#5. Interfaceless Machines

Traditionally, most machines have integrated user interfaces operating them. But soon, on-machine interfaces will be abandoned in favor of applications that run on their operators’ mobile devices.

Larger screens, higher resolutions, and numerous built-in sensors — these will enable mobile devices to control machines in ways that exceed what would be possible with on-machine interfaces. These mobile devices connect wirelessly with machines via Bluetooth, WiFi, or the internet. 


The Innovation Sweet Spot – Desirability, Feasibility, Viability

Coming up with innovative products and services that become successful is a challenge. Established companies and startups spend billions of US dollars on product research and development every year. Studies reveal that 40-50% of those investments are wasted on new products and services that get canceled due to poor results.

At Voa Labs, we apply a framework to test the likelihood of innovative solutions becoming successful from the very beginning of the product development phase. In this article, we give insight into this framework.

The likelihood of an innovative product or service becoming successful can be significantly increased if it meets three criteria. First, customers need to desire a solution. Second, it must be feasible to implement the solution. Third, the solution needs to have a viable business case that works out financially. The innovation sweet spot sits at the intersection of the three. Let’s dive into the details.


The product development process starts with putting customers at the center. Products or services need to be desirable to end users by having a positive impact on their life. To find out if people desire a product or service requires empathy, particularly the capability to understand the hopes, desires, and aspirations of those you are designing for. There are a handful of methods to capture the mindsets and needs of the people you are building a solution for, such as interviews or immersion.

When we identify a need for a product or service, we first have to figure out if it is a “vitamin” or “painkiller”. “Vitamins” are solutions that customers consider as „nice to have“, while “painkillers” are “need to have.“ With “vitamin” products or services, you have to explain to potential customers some non-urgent problem and convince them that your pill is the solution. Compare this with a “painkiller”, which customers seek when they face an issue. A good place to start when coming up with a painkiller is to look for a pain that people experience. Once this is discovered, we design a relieving solution. To use an analogy, look for people holding their forehead and build a remedy for it. Do not create a pill and then look for an illness that the pill can cure. Although you might get lucky, the chances of landing a hit are small.

Here are some key questions that help to determine if a solution is highly desirable: 

  • Does the solution fill a need? 
  • Is the solution a “vitamin” or a “painkiller”? 

Desirability is only one lens through which we look at potential solutions.


A solution needs to be technically and organizationally feasible. Even though a product or service is highly desirable, it may not be possible to build it within time and budget constraints. If the requirement is to have a project done in three months, yet our solution is projected to take seven months to complete, it is not a feasible solution. For example, without question curing cancer is highly desirable. But unless an immensely long project duration and a massive budget are provided, the solution is unlikely to be feasible.

A solution is not only required to be technically feasible, but it also needs to match organizational capabilities. A startup may have the ability to build a product quickly in an extremely agile way. While an established corporation may have the human resources, expertise and financial resources to work on a complex solution over a longer period. Besides having the ability to build a solution, it must also be feasible to operate it. We also ask ourselves if the solution can be managed and kept alive after deployment. An organization needs to have the capabilities to run a solution sustainably and stably in the long run. Of course, there may be the possibility to make organizational changes so that operating the solution becomes feasible.

Here are the key questions that help us test if a solution is feasible:

  • Is it feasible to build the solution within the given time and budget constraints? 
  • Do we and our client have the technical capabilities to build and operate the solution? 
  • Do we and our client have the organizational capabilities to build and operate the solution?


The final test for a solution focuses on its economic viability. A profitable business model needs to be built around a product or service. Oftentimes, startups and teams of corporates make the mistake of working on new solutions that customers desire, and even find a way to implement and run those solutions. However, they miss assessing if there is a viable business model until the first version is implemented.

The cost of a solution must be covered by the revenue it generates. It is quite possible that a solution’s business model may not be profitable initially. But it must be determined how and when the business model becomes profitable. If no path to profitability can be found, the business model must be revised. A startup likely needs to break even faster than a large corporation, which can cross-subsidize a new solution over a longer period.

After a viable business model for a solution is found, it makes sense to question whether there are ways to make it even more profitable.

Some products and services pursue other goals than achieving monetary benefits. In this case, the alternative aim needs to be clearly defined in the form of some quantitative outcome. If the benefits of the desired outcome do not outweigh the investment, it might be a good idea to reiterate the solution idea.

Here are the key questions that help us test the viability of a solution:

  • How can we build a sustainable business around the solution? 
  • How much will we charge for the solution? 
  • What are the costs to develop and operate the solution? 
  • How can we make the solution even more profitable (e.g. by lowering cost and/or increasing price)?

Finding the innovation sweet spot is a balancing act

Coming up with a solution that is desirable, feasible, and viable is a balancing act, but one that is crucial to master when designing successful products and services. The key is to iterate product and service ideas, and assess and reassess them for these three core criteria. A solution has a high chance of being successful if it is desirable, feasible, and viable in the context of a specific organization.