NEW YORK: Consumer expectations rise across every industry as innovation increases in any industry, according to a new report which suggests that brands have tremendous opportunities for growth and differentiation.

In The era of living services, consulting firm Accenture predicted that organisations will soon be creating a new wave of transformative digital services driven by the convergence of the Internet of Things and shifting consumer expectations.

This view is based on changing consumer expectations and the emergence of technology that will finally allow brands to create and deliver at scale "living services" that can learn and tailor themselves in real-time to meet the changing needs of consumers, workers, patients and citizens.

"Living services breathe life into what is rapidly becoming a vast network of connected machines and objects, enabling branded services to flow through and utilise this connected environment," said Brian Whipple, senior managing director, Accenture Interactive.

The "liquid expectations" of consumers are another significant factor, according to his colleague Mark Curtis, chief client officer at Fjord, Design and Innovation from Accenture Interactive.

He explained that when consumers engaged with an airline or a bank, they compared their experience not only with other airlines or banks but also with any service company. 

So. for example, when they benefited from seamless and largely invisible payment systems at airlines and banks, "now consumers want payment experiences like this in every industry, consciously or subconsciously".

The report suggested that marketers, as well as strengthening their understanding of customers through data and analytics, concentrate on one or two aspects of user experience delivery and make these as "living" as possible.

In retail, for example, it said that living services would allow retailers to offer less intrusive experiences and to move away from bombarding shoppers with offers on arrival at a location.

It noted how fashion retailer Nordstrom has been working with Pinterest to determine store merchandising on a weekly basis, at the same time as providing staff with an iPad app to make it easy to show customers trending products and merchandise live.

In the financial arena it foresaw a possible future where a bank could proactively negotiate better currency rates from ATM providers for a travelling customer or seek and negotiate the best fuel prices as a customer is driving and prepay the bill.

Data sourced from Accenture; additional content by Warc staff