It takes more than promotional offers and discounts to build a loyal customer base. Often, brands focus solely on offering consumers what they need without giving as much thought to what irks them. While understanding the consumers’ preferences boosts businesses, knowing what not to do is far more crucial - especially if brands are looking to retain and grow loyal customers.
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MoEngage surveyed 1,000 consumers across North America and Europe to capture the consumer’s pulse. We wanted to understand the change in consumer shopping habits and preferences post COVID-19. This article includes a summary of the key findings from our report. We have also covered the top myths around customer engagement, upcoming trends, and more to help you craft memorable experiences for consumers in the digital world. You can read the Personalisation Pulse Check Report 2021 here.
Gauging the Consumer Pulse
Consumer expectations and preferences have evolved significantly, and consumers’ interactions with brands have undergone a remarkable change. Brands leading the way in customer engagement are able to anticipate their customers’ needs and offer highly relevant recommendations and products to fulfill these expectations. Identifying consumer shopping patterns and their psychology while making decisions is valuable information when developing new products or marketing campaigns.
1. Growth in Online Shopping, New Brand Engagement
We asked consumers about the changes in their shopping experience with brands. We received a mixed response ranging from increased online shopping to cutbacks due to pay cuts and job loss. Board members (22%) and C-suite (24%) consumers have engaged with a new brand during this period.
2. SMS and Push Notifications Emerging as the Preferred Channels, Email Continues to Lead
21% of North American and European consumers prefer mobile apps and email as the go-to digital channels while engaging with brands. While millennials have embraced social media to interact with brands, mobile apps have become popular amongst Gen X. Also, SMS and push notifications are emerging as the consumers’ preferred digital engagement channel. Meanwhile, chatbots and social messaging services have seen the lowest adoption among men and women across different organisational roles.
3. Product Quality and Good Service Key Differentiators
According to MoEngage’s Personalisation Pulse Check Report, quality of product and excellent customer service is essential to offer a delightful experience. Consumers above 35 years are more receptive to offers and prefer a manual intervention to resolve their challenges.
4. Shipping Notifications, Easy Returns Are The Most Preferred Value-Added Services
When we asked consumers about the kind of value-added services they would like a brand to offer, the following insights emerged. 32% of consumers in NA and EU expect order confirmation, shipping notice, delivery confirmation, etc. In comparison, 24% of them want the ease to make a return or exchange at any point as a value-added service.
5. Shift Towards Hybrid Model of Shopping Post-pandemic
The business disruption caused by COVID-19 is here to stay as consumers get accustomed to more convenient ways of shopping. To understand the shift, we asked consumers how their expectations with retail brands would change once the restrictions were lifted. Consumers across all age groups in both geos agreed that they would continue with online shopping and shop from brick-and-mortar stores.
Debunking the Myths Around Consumer Preferences
The trends mentioned above indicate how consumer preferences are continually evolving. However, before brands start pivoting their strategies to stay abreast with the transition, it is essential not to be influenced by some popular misconceptions.
Consumers are not willing to share personal information with brands.
Consumers have no qualms about sharing personal details if brands use the information to note their previous purchase history, interests, communication frequency, product preferences, geographical location, and personalise their shopping experience.
Consumers get annoyed with frequent communication.
Our survey found that most respondents wish to receive weekly followed by daily communication from retail brands. Overall, consumers are not specific about the frequency of communication as long as the information sent is relevant.
Consumers don’t want brands to track their app/web activity.
The Personalization Pulse Check Report 2021 reveals that 16% of consumers get frustrated when brands fail to remember their preferences based on previous purchase history. This leads brands to send irrelevant content and product recommendations that serve no purpose to consumers, thereby hampering a good customer experience.
The Way Forward
Accelerate Digital Adoption
Today, digital transformation is not just good to have. It is a lifeline between the brand and customers. Brands that have not made advances on their digital channels front are missing out on significant revenue opportunities. Marketers and customer service teams must work closely with IT and technology vendors to innovate new ways to move customer transactions to digital.
According to a recent Forrester study, 88% of E-commerce brands believe that focussing on hyper-personalisation should be a high or top priority. However, our survey found that customers still think that brands are missing the mark.
The Yelp app allows customers to list their likes, dislikes, lifestyle, favourite food, preferences, etc., before matching them with a business. The mobile app sends recommendations based on customer preferences.
Implement Omnichannel Marketing
Omnichannel strategy is the future of marketing focused on customer engagement. Modern-day consumers demand a consistent, personalised experience across channels, with content presented in context. To meet these expectations, brands need to understand the series of moments that make up each individual’s journey and create a frictionless experience just for them.
Starbucks emerges as one of the forerunners of implementing an omnichannel marketing strategy. Starbucks Rewards incentivises repeat visits with a loyalty program managed seamlessly via multiple platforms such as mobile app, phone, in-store, or website.
Leverage Artificial Intelligence
Marketers can predict consumer behaviour by using advanced analytics and machine learning techniques to know exactly what they want and need to do when they can. With Artificial Intelligence (AI), you can understand customers' preferences, the devices they use, budget, etc. This information informs your ad campaigns and enables you to create tailored, targeted offers and cross-sell products across all channels. Based on data-driven insights, brands can leverage optimised AI to deliver relevant messages in the right place at the right time.
Lifestyle overcame user app inactivity and drop-offs during the purchase stage by performing RFM analysis to identify the right segments and created personalised smart-triggered campaigns to drive conversion.
With a personalised shopping experience that translates into customising a customer's E-commerce journey, brands can learn more about their customers and give them exactly what they want.
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