BCG Henderson Institute

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Apple launched the iPod in 2001 with the mission of “putting 1,000 songs in your pocket.” Fast forward two decades, and L’Oreal is taking a step toward transforming cosmetics by enabling women to carry 1,000 shades of lipstick in their purse. The key is a connected device that prints lipstick for its Yves Saint Laurent line. Customers upload a photo of their outfit to the YSL app, which generates a few colors to match. After using augmented reality to finetune the colors to get exactly the shade they desire, the customer presses a button, and the device prints a few drops of the lipstick.

What L’Oreal accomplished reflects more than engineering prowess. It reflects a deeper understanding of how the intersections of advanced technologies and customer touchpoints are creating powerful customer experiences (CX) that boost satisfaction in ways that were either unimaginable or unfeasible for most companies a decade ago.

Rethinking Customer Touchpoints

Despite all the buzz around the concept of omnichannel, most companies still view customer journeys as a linear sequence of standardized touchpoints within a given channel. But the future of customer engagement transforms touchpoints from nodes along a predefined distribution path to full-blown portals that can serve as points of sale or pathways to many other digital and virtual interactions. They link to chatbots, kiosks, robo-advisors, and other tools that customers — especially younger ones — want to engage with.

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