When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world in March 2020, in-store shopping was not an option. For many consumers this meant a switch to online buying – even for large, expensive items that pre-COVID they would have purchased in a brick-and-mortar store, like furniture, laptops or TVs. This shift created a gap in the face-to-face sales process, eliminating a key opportunity to personalize the customer experience. With these changes to customer interactions expected to be permanent, rethinking how your customers want to engage with you is vital.
The stakes are high: A recent consumer survey commissioned by OpenText™ shows that for 59% of respondents, a personalized digital experience was vital to becoming a repeat customer. In a year in which face-to-face interactions have not been possible, being able to deliver an exceptional digital customer experience is now critical to winning customer loyalty.
Survey says: A personalized digital experience is vital to driving retention
Our results show the extent to which the pandemic has changed customers’ expectations of brands, and the increasingly important role of a streamlined digital experience post-COVID. In our survey, 62% of respondents said the way they digitally interact with brands has changed during the pandemic. This represents a substantial transformation to customer interactions that requires brands to adapt to evolving customer needs.
It’s not just customer interactions that have changed. 65% of respondents indicated that their expectations of brands’ digital experience have also changed due to the pandemic. After a year of engaging with brands digitally instead of face-to-face, customers are increasingly expecting more from a company’s digital offerings.
Customers are looking for digital experiences that deliver a frictionless experience and meet their individual, personalized needs: 56% of respondents indicated they only buy from brands that understand and respect their communication preferences, and 53% prefer to buy from brands that remember or auto-fill their details.
Providing an excellent digital customer experience can make or break a sale. 44% of respondents said they will try to only interact with businesses that offer an excellent experience online, and 28% said they won’t use a brand at all if the experience isn’t excellent. This means that for 72% of respondents, having an excellent digital customer experience is a key factor in their purchasing decision.
The good news is that with increasing expectations comes the opportunity to win customer loyalty. In fact, 66% of our survey respondents indicated they were more likely to buy again from brands which treated them like an individual—in other words, brands who offered truly personalized customer experiences.
Investing in a digital experience platform
These responses demonstrate an ongoing trend in customer experience: customer expectations—especially around digital offerings—are continually increasing. Being able to deliver an exceptional digital customer experience is now a key differentiator.
But delivering engaging digital experiences across all channels and devices isn’t easy. Investing in technology to manage the customer journey is quickly becoming a key priority for many organizations. In fact, IDC estimated that companies would spend over $553 billion on customer experience technologies and services in 2020.
A digital experience platform can help your organization develop and deliver rich, personalized communications that map to every critical touchpoint in the customer journey. With digital technologies supporting your digital experience strategy, your organization can create personalized experiences that resonate with audiences on any device, and adapt to changing customer expectations with new ways to sell, engage and assist.
This research was conducted by 3Gem in April 2021, and 27,000 consumers were anonymously surveyed across the UK, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, India, Australia and Singapore.