The digital revolution has a major impact in changing market landscapes and brands now face various challenges when planning their strategy due to the shifting shopping behavior of their customers. As contemporary customers are becoming more sophisticated and demanding the identification of the path to purchase has become a rather complicated process. Companies need to keep pace with this intensively shifting behaviors and adapt strategies able to cater to these new habits:
- As omnichannel marketing is emerging on the forefront of marketers’ strategy, a report from MasterCard and the European Business Summit examined the impact of innovative technologies on consumers’ shopping habits and behavior. In 2007, there were 41 million smartphones in Europe. In 2015, this figure was 305 million. 60% per cent of people have made a mobile online purchase at least once. These findings remark the need for companies to change their business model so as to offer an omnichannel purchasing experience that seamlessly converges multiple touchpoints anytime, anywhere with mobile at the center.
- According to the same report, 84% of the surveyed expect to see ‘personalised offers’. Low prices, coupons and discounts are being used as incentives to attract new customer and accelerate their buying decisions. Shoppers still want to save money when they go shopping, enhance their shopping experience, and they want something that is convenient and saves time. Moreover, they will expect all data stored about them to be targeted precisely to their needs or used to personalize what they experience.
- Consumers are choosing a channel that is right for them at the time they’re making a purchase. Changing environments changes which channel they will use. “84% of the global respondents and 65% of US-based respondents currently shop across at least two channels, while 25% of global respondents and 21% of US respondents are using four or five channels to shop.” (PriceWaterhouse Coopers survey)
- A research conducted for Zendesk revealed that globally, 67% of customers admit to using more than one platform before deciding on a purchase. But only 7% were extremely satisfied with the omnichannel customer service offered to them by brands, with the 87% believing that brands must work harder to create a seamless customer service. Customers will increasingly demand stores to have apps that will enrich their shopping path and push them relevant content. In addition to that, a recent report by Mozu indicates that the majority of retailers are struggling to implement new omnichannel technologies now regularly expected by consumers, which prevents them from exploring future retail opportunities. Consumers clearly indicate in those surveys that bridging the online and in-store experience is a top priority for them, thus underlying the need for marketers to work towards that direction.
- Today's customers are evolving in a socially trained ecosystem that empowers them to influence directly the brand value of a company. They expect to interact with a brand actively and positively and to be engaged relevantly and conveniently. Customer engagement actions, generate positive feelings that impact the overall customer experience. Innovation and digital technologies have made product information ubiquitous and social media encourage consumers to share, compare and rate experiences.
- Loyalty is no longer ensured: brands may continue to play a pivotal role in the purchase process but yet commitment to individual brands has reportedly decreased as shoppers are more thoughtful before a purchase and constantly choose different brands incentivizing on convenience offered. Only brands that invest on the customer relationship currency, focus on relevant engagement and added value of the shopper’s experience can reinforce their loyalty status. Apparently, the leverage of digital technologies and innovation into their services is vital for customer retention and customer lifetime value.
- A Millward Brown study titled ‘Identifying the care gap in business-to-consumer engagement: A study of perceptions, reality and consumer preferences in mobile communications’, indicates that a 20% point gap exists between how businesses and consumers rate customer care. Also, according to the same study, 86% of consumers are open to communication from brands through their mobile device, yet only 58 percent of businesses use mobile to engage. These findings amplify the fact that an omnichannel approach to customer care is imperative.