3 Tech Innovations Reshaping the Buyer Journey

Advanced technologies are driving innovation in the consumer’s purchase decision journey. Customer-centric companies are offering access to more convenient, immersive and personalized experiences for people to discover and buy their products. We look at how three trends—data-driven personalization, chatbots, and virtual reality—are meeting the needs and lifestyles of today’s digital consumers.

1. Consumers Demand Personalized Experiences

“Customers now expect companies to know who they are, what they like, how they shop, and where they are,” reports Clarabridge.com, an authority on customer experience.1 That requires a sophisticated use of customer data, analytics and automation. As consumers increasingly prefer authentic and conversational engagement with brands, a plethora of social media and mobile platforms are replacing easy-to-track traditional marketing CRMs.

It’s hard to get a 360-degree view of event consumers when dealing with multiple touchpoints and platforms, said Mark Meyerson, VP and GM with Vendini at XLIVE, a data and analytics summit held in L.A. Kyle Burkhardt, business intelligence at the Los Angeles Kings, says they drive sales by collecting data to know when people “are still engaged or likely to buy.” Data mining can also produce affinity models, so “finding fans who are similar to other fans based on data helps us pinpoint who to promote to and how,” said Evan Weinstein, a partner at Steez Promo.2

To meet consumers’ increasing demand for tailored protection of their travel and events, Allianz Partners utilizes a proprietary, intelligent offer personalization platform. We analyze customer booking details, behavioral trends and other predictive data used to generate offers with best-matched insurance benefits in a fraction of a second. Predictive analytics and machine learning play key roles in our increased capabilities to fully customize offers for protection plans that meet the individual needs of consumers and their activities.

2. Chatbots Make Buying Products Easier

Chatbots and virtual agents will be the top consumer application of AI over the next five years, according to TechEmergence, an AI market research firm.3 Tapping into Facebook Messenger’s 1.2 billion monthly users, the Ticketmaster® Assistant chatbot launched in summer 2017 helps fans easily learn about upcoming events, share links with friends, and click through to a seamless mobile purchase path. Ticket sales from social platforms can often have a higher ticket value than other channels.

Travel industry leaders like Priceline.com and Kayak have integrated chatbots into online trip planning via Facebook Messenger, Skype and Alexa. Now Allianz Partners is exploring these virtual assistants to enhance travel protection services. While customers can chat with a live assistant when comparing insurance plans and filing claims online, job seekers may interact with Allie, a chatbot that helps match talent to open positions on the U.S. careers site.

Our company is also developing automated SMS messages to notify customers of claim status updates via their mobile phones. We envision voice-based virtual assistants that enable travelers to purchase custom-tailored protection plans when booking their trips online.

3. Virtual Reality is (Finally) Taking Off

Virtual reality and video streaming technologies are being adopted in sports entertainment and travel at an accelerating rate, as organizations see the potential of new revenue streams, reaching larger audiences, and providing vacation previews.

“You fill your arena with 18,000 people. There are 7.5 billion who might want to watch. Do the math,” stated Peter Guber, chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, on a panel at the VenuesNow conference in July.4

Just as Twitter and Facebook Live streaming have drawn larger online audiences to events, industry adopters at Hashtag Sports, a sports tech innovation festival in NYC, saw VR as a new or enhanced offering to fans for viewing entertainment that generates additional revenue. The NBA offers a subscription-based virtual reality season pass, which includes any eight games for fans that follow a particular team but can’t attend the games. The International Champions Cup has partnered with NextVR since 2015 to stream the first of many live VR broadcasts of major league soccer matches.5

Because of travel’s experiential nature, online travel agencies and many hotels including Best Western are testing or investing in the digital technology. They believe giving potential customers a 360-degree view of properties online will increase their chances of booking. Carnival partnered with AT&T in 2016 to expose American consumers to 360-degree cruise ship simulations in over 100 stores using Samsung’s Gear VR headset.6 BI Intelligence forecasts global shipments of VR headsets to exceed 50 million units annually by 2022.7


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Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company or Jefferson Insurance Company, depending on your state of residence.  Plan(s) only available to U.S. residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are brands of AGA Service Company.  AGA Service Company is the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Non-insurance benefits/products are provided and serviced by AGA Service Company. Consumer is responsible for charges incurred from outside vendors for assistance or concierge services. Contact AGA Service Company at 800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or customerservice@allianzassistance.com.


1. “How to Drive Personalization with Voice of the Customer Data,” Clarabridge.com
2. “Fanalytics Drive Ticket Sales,” Venues Today, 2017
3. “Smart assistants and chatbots will be top consumer applications for AI over next 5 years,” VentureBeat, 2016
4. “The Fan of the Future is Now,” Venues Today, 2017
5. “Five Technology Storylines Impacting ICC Link,” Venues Today, 2017
6. “Carnival Sets Sail With Virtual Reality Vacations,” Fortune, 2016
7. “The Virtual Reality Report,” BussinessInsider.com, 2016