3 Consumer Expectations that are Changing Customer/Brand Interactions
Consumers interact with multiple brands every day, but how do brands cut through all the noise? In order to attract and keep customers, brands need to understand their consumers, what they want, and when they want it. Though consumers’ wants and needs are constantly changing, it’s up to brands and marketers to turn those needs into a fulfilling experience.
Consumers expect a lot, but engagement, personalization, and consistency are perhaps the three biggest things influencing consumer/brand interactions.
Consumers Want Engagement
Eighty-two percent of adults say they are loyal to a brand, and 84% say they are loyal to specific retailers. But how do you build that loyalty?
Changes in consumer search behavior mean consumers are engaging with brands before and after they hit “add to cart.”
Social media is perhaps the largest tool available for consumer/brand engagement, but in today’s world, it’s no longer enough to simply upload, publish, and wait. Consumers don’t want to be talked to; they want to be heard.
Today’s consumers want instant communication with their favorite brands. Brands who capitalize on real-time communication and engagement are sure to gain customers for life.
Take Drybar for instance. The brand utilizes Instagram Stories and IGTV to engage with consumers. They create videos on which products are best for certain hair types, how to create hairstyles using their products, and more.
What’s more, Instagram Live has become the perfect tool for Drybar followers to ask questions to the brand, more specifically Drybar Founder Alli Webb. She frequently appears on Instagram Live to host real, authentic conversations with followers and brand loyalists.
Whether it’s on Instagram or elsewhere, consumers will continuously seek ways to engage with brands on social platforms.
Consumers Want Personalization
It used to be that brands could get away with creating an experience that included all of the bells and whistles but had no personalization. As long as it was an awesome experience, it didn’t really matter.
However, modern brands who want to earn long-term consumers need to focus on building a personalized experience. Consumers want choices, but they don’t want to feel overwhelmed. They favor of a simpler experience if it means it’s personalized.
Trunk Club does a great job of this. Trunk Club is a Nordstrom company where users work with a personal stylist to curate pieces that are sent right to their door. Upon signing up, Trunk Club presents different outfits where shoppers have the option to say yes or no if it fits with their style.
The rest of the quiz is followed by simple questions with limited — but relevant — options. The user is then matched with a personal stylist to chat further and build a wardrobe all their own.
Even brands who aren’t in fashion or retail can personalize the experience for their customers. Do so by discovering your customers’ interests and providing them with unique content. Seventy-five percent of consumers say they are willing to provide this information if it means they get a more valuable experience.
Consumers Want Consistency
Omnichannel is no longer just a buzzword; it’s an actual approach to acquiring and maintaining customers. Consumers don’t operate within a single channel and neither should your marketing.
Shoppers conduct research, seek peer reviews, and engage in multiple touchpoints before making a purchasing decision. If and when you’ve captured those consumers, their experience needs to be seamless no matter where they are.
What buyers experience online should be identical to the service they receive at your brick-and-mortar stores. Similarly, what they experience on mobile should be identical to what they experience on desktop, and vice versa.
While consumers hardly do anything without consulting their mobile device, assuming that’s the only place they go would be naive. In fact, chances are they’re researching your product and competitors’ products until they reach the cash register.
Today’s consumers don’t want to be surprised. They expect the same experience every single time they make a purchase.
Despite the ever-changing customer/brand relationship, one thing that remains the same is the need for a customer-centric strategy. Fortunately, brands who understand the need for engagement, personalization, and consistency are at an advantage. They are the ones creating meaningful experiences for customers and turning one-time shoppers into loyal, repeat customers.