How Digital Disruption Is Transforming The Customer Experience.

  • By Andy Fox

If you do a quick search on the definition of ‘digital disruption’ on the internet, you’ll get a myriad of answers in relation to how it impacts organisations and individuals… 

It could mean redefining a business model, or using digital tools to create an advantage over competitors. It could also indicate a new technology that’s making other technologies obsolete, or a phenomenon that has the capacity to disrupt, transform or evolve the status quo, and many more. 

The most immediate and tangible impact of this ‘disruption’ is the way it’s radically transforming the ‘customer experience’ through various digital channels, technology, tools and initiatives. 

The Disrupters: Airbnb & Uber

When talking about ‘digital disruption’, Airbnb immediately jumps to mind. Now who would have thought that an idea of three (broke) guys to rent mattresses on the floor of their rooms, would eventually turn out to become a huge business within a decade, disrupting the entire hotel industry, with an impressive valuation at $31 billion? 

Today Airbnb is much more than just a ‘room-letting’ website, as it is active in 191 countries and more than 65000 thousand cities worldwide. It has allowed for every person around the world with a spare room, a couch or any property, to play ‘host’ to thousands of customers/travelers around the world. An absolute ‘game-changer’, which has redefined the concept of ‘collaborative consumption’ and transformed the way people experience and view the hotel and travel industry. 

Another similar story is that of Uber. This disrupter revolutionised the way you ordered a taxi  about six years ago and now is a $62 billion company spanning throughout 58 countries around the world. The idea was not too far away from Airbnb, except here you share your ride instead of your home, or basically use an app to give rides for hire in your personal cars.

Today Uber operates in 450 cities around the world with 40 million monthly active users and 160,000 Uber riders. Drivers who use the app to give rides-for-hire in their personal cars, are making more money as chauffeurs than professional taxi drivers do — as much as $17 an hour in the District and Los Angeles, $23 in San Francisco and $30 in New York.

The Need For Personalised Experience

The innovation in sophisticated CRM softwares and data analytical tools has opened up the race to provide a much personalised buyers’ journey for the consumers. Today, with ‘big data’ and ‘machine learning’, brands can even customise the shopping experience to match their consumers’ behaviour. 

Such advanced digital technologies allow for the ability to collect, integrate, and analyse customer data and to activate that data in real-time by providing customer messages in context, across any multiple digital channels and devices. Personalisation seems to be the key and brands have become highly effective in engaging the customers in every crucial points in the buyers’ journey. 

As giants like Amazon, Apple, and Uber are already reinventing themselves by delivering immediate and individualised experiences to their consumers with seamless omni-channel flexibility, more are following the trend. 

Below is an example of an ecommerce retailer Bombfell, which leverages data to provide personalised men’s clothing selections:

How Digital Disruption Is Transforming The Custome



Bombfell’s customers are asked to fill out a style survey, which is then compared with other subscribers and then personal stylists add their expert input, to showcase a package of outfits that’s customised to the buyers’ preferences, shape and size.

Augmented Reality

AR or Augmented Reality is the new digital trend that’s providing more value and engaging consumers with creative and innovative ways. From shop-able windows to products that you can virtually ‘try on’ to those that come alive in your hand, AR is rapidly disrupting the traditional marketing methods and engaging more consumers by blurring the lines between physical and digital worlds. 

For instance, you can now use the IKEA catalogue App on your smart phone to point at a place in your room to virtually place your choice of furniture at your preferred spot.


 Please click here to view the video

Or take the ‘style my hair’ app of beauty brand L’Oréal, which allows customers to virtually try hairstyles and hair colours, before they visit a salon.


The brand’s ‘Makeup Genius’ virtual makeup app (as shown above), allows customers to explore and try out various cosmetic products and help purchase the ones they’re satisfied with. 

Gartner predicts that by 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in Augmented reality. Such immersive technology is increasingly changing the way consumers engage in a shopping experience, and is simultaneously changing their consumption behaviour. 

Bitcoins and BLOCKCHAIN

The Blockchain Technology has ushered in a new wave of revolution in transaction or event recording. The concept of generating a blockchain ledger with an immutable, shared view of every transaction amongst engaged parties in a distributed, decentralised network, opens up new avenues in security, authenticity and cost effectiveness of any value generated and exchanged. 

The involved parties are able to swiftly act within minutes, (not days), on a committed blockchain record, assured with the knowledge that it cannot be changed. Such blockchain applications will be able to minimise the ‘middle men’, including banks, reduce cost and accelerate business processes. 

We are already seeing one of such blockchain phenomenon, in the form of bitcoins and other alternatives like Ethereum. Gartner predicts that by 2022, a blockchain-based business will be worth $10 billion. These new businesses and business models based on smart contracts and blockchain efficiencies are expected to automate at a reliability, customisation level and speed that are not achievable with current traditional business systems. 


In which ways has ‘digital disruption’ reshaped and transformed the customer experience and consumer behaviours in your industry? If you'd like further assistance or would like to discuss anything covered today, we'd love to hear from you.

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Andy Fox - Author

I have a firm belief there is only one great challenge in life… And that is… To be the best version of you possible. I have lived my whole life to this tune. I love that I am not perfect and I love that every day I get up and make at least one change in my life that makes it better, one change that takes me closer to my life’s goals.

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