We’ve picked out some of the best advice out there for brands to consider when looking to improve customer engagement and loyalty in 2018.

 Make 2018 the year of your guests. That means orienting all parts of your company and people to focus on the customer (i.e your guest). Work on aligning training for your front-line employees with your customer loyalty and engagement goals. Rethink your operations to optimize for today’s on-demand and stay-at-home economy. Embrace CX technologies that allow you to deliver a concierge-like experience for every one of your guests.

Blaine Hurts, president and incoming CEO -2018, Panera: 2018 is undoubtedly the “Year of the Guest.” Fast Casual, Dec 14, 2017


Assess and list all the factors that most impacted your brand’s success in the past, and honestly determine if you need to change any of those approaches to remain successful in the future. Here’s how: Imagine that it’s June 2018 or December 2018, and nothing has changed in your company from today. What are the implications for your customers, people, profits and your business? What changes can you make early in 2018 that will make the biggest difference in with your customers and result in tangible business outcomes? Think of it as Situational Awareness.

Jim Sullivan is the author of the bestselling book “Fundamentals.”


Just about everybody has a mobile phone. When a customer grants you access to their phone, by sharing their number with you or installing your app, you are on your way to creating an interactive customer experience that can help you disrupt your competition.

Shep Hyken, customer service and experience expert and bestselling author.



An estimated 8,000 retail store locations will close this year, according to Credit Suisse. In order to stay relevant, retailers must use their physical stores as opportunities to form deeper connections with consumers. Experiential combines entertainment and technology with traditional shopping– such as selfie booths– and it often leverages augmented reality and virtual reality.  It’s becoming a creative way for brick and mortar retailers to compete with the convenience and selection of online shopping. For example, during the recent holiday season, Google’s pop-up store in New York City featured a giant snow globe in which shoppers could jump into squares of foam and pose for pictures taken by Google’s new Pixel 2 smartphone.   Some fashion brands like Calvin Klein are installing Amazon Echo devices in its fitting rooms so shoppers can ask questions about the items.



Technology makes our lives easier, faster and potentially makes us more impatient. We have become consumers who want and expect instant gratification. Speed and convenience have become the competitive advantage. In February 2017, 18 percent of in-home meals included at least one ready-to-eat item from foodservice, an increase from 15.5 percent in 2015, according to NPD data.

Bonnie Riggs, analyst, NPD Group  


CMOs can’t defend underperforming media spend focused on customer acquisition as churn rates escalate or stand idly by as digital platforms threaten to disintermediate their relationship with customers. Instead of plowing money into traditional ad spending, CMOs will increase spend on:

–  Revitalizing CX to drive affinity and stem churn.
–  Synchronizing loyalty programs to customer expectations.
–  Understanding how to decode digital platform algorithms.



If your company is battling culture issues in digital transformation, they will struggle even harder in 2018. As the pace of change continues to increase, it will become even more imperative that companies move fast while moving forward. Companies will realize this year that digital transformation is no joke and those who are unprepared for change will quickly fall to the bottom of the pack.

Futurum Research, Top 10 Digital Transformation Trends for 2018