Two days to the New Year: analysts agree that 2014 was the year customer experience began a priority on the desk of entrepreneurs and marketing professionals. Overwhelmed by the mobile revolution, companies are still trying to figure out how to break away from competitors and attract empowered customers. What will happen next? Here are 10 digital customer experience predictions for 2015.

Empowered customers, submerged in a digital ecosystem, demand compelling connections and personalized content, and this will be the main priority for the next years. Innovative companies are already integrating this essential asset into their business strategies, and Gartner predicts that "50 percent of consumer product investments will be redirected to customer experience innovations by 2017". As you start shaping your plans for 2015 and beyond, here are 10 key trends that will drive customer experience for years to come.

  1. Retailers will go digital: the only way to survive the mobile shift, for retail brands, will be to embrace the digital transformation, reinventing brick-and-mortar and adapting technologies to their needs (i.e. proximity marketing through iBeacons and push notifications).

  2. Brands will think mobile-first: when you need to connect with clients of the Age of the Customer, mobile is not just an option anymore. It is necessary to build real engagement and enhance loyalty strategies. Mobile is not just an app, it’s a state of mind, a way of thinking and acting.

  3. The journey will be omni-channel: digital customer journey mapping is already the first step for every marketing strategy. Traditional funnels won’t work in the mobile era: companies need to adopt a more complex and multi-touchpoints view, and act across different channels simultaneously and seamlessly.

  4. Location will be the key: brands already exist outside concrete walls, but that doesn’t mean the store won’t be crucial in the next years. Delivering the right message to the right person will still be the ultimate goal, and technologies - just think of Apple's iBeacon - will make that possible in real time.

  5. Content will be tailored right-time: the need to offer a personalized content and experience is the result of the passage from passive consumers to empowered customers. You will need to reach them at the right time in the right place and give them what they want, when they want it, their own way, easy and fast.

  6. Internet will connect Things : the interconnection of different devices and the automation in all fields is destined to change the way customers interact with products and brands. As customers’ expectations grow, business models will need to change, and you can’t ignore the opportunity given by the Internet of Things to deliver amazing digital experiences.

  7. Mobile payment will be the rule: everybody loves the smell of money but, in the near future, we are destined to forget how cash looks like. The launch of Apple Pay has given new lifeblood to NFC and mobile payments. Smartwatches and wearables will show the way: one-touch payments will be the future of purchasing.

  8. China will drive innovation: we know China for its factories, but things are already changing. Fueled by its massive population and well-funded digital giants, China is set to become the world's largest digital market by 2015, with market gains of $315.3 billion just in online sales. You must adapt your customer experience to the rising tiger.

  9. Data will be mandatory: as companies increase investments in customer experience, they will focus their efforts on new metrics to learn more about markets and clients, and to measure ROI and business results. Big Data will become a priority, and analytics dashboards a necessary back-up.

  10. Data protection will be priority: included by Gartner in the top 10 technology trends for 2015, security is crucial for brands of the digital era. People feel uncomfortable when they realize they are being tracked and localized, and even social networks are trying to answer to this demand. Balancing data mining and privacy concerns will become top priority.

One thing is for sure: technology is not going to stop. The wind of digital transformation is already changing priorities, even for traditional industries and brick-and-mortar retailers. Disruptive technologies rewrite the rules of engagement, and competing solely on price or features is more and more risky: to gain a competitive edge and retain loyalty, brands must evolve to offer an innovative and high-quality customer experience.

To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.