As we enter a “new normal” after the Covid Crisis, we have analyzed the new CX expectations of customers through an exclusive study in partnership with Google in 4 countries (USA, China, UK and France) with 2,000 people.
Here are some lessons we learned.
Digitization has taken another step forward:
It no longer needs to be demonstrated, the period we went through was a period of intense digitization for people, of all ages. People have discovered that their digital connection is essential because it is their connection to the world, and to those who matter the most to them.
And it’s also true when it comes to shopping online: people plan to shop more online vs in store for clothing (63%), electronic products (61%), banking (55%), or even food (46 %). The Chinese are going even further, willing to purchase 73% of electronic products online and 61% of food.
The era of digital Darwinism:
This desire being unanimous, the consequence for brands is very clear: we are entering the era of “digital Darwinism”. 76% of consumers worldwide, 73% in France and 88% in China say that they will now prefer to buy from retailers who offer an effective digital experience first and foremost. We have already seen the concrete consequences of this: some retailers like Lidl in France, for example, did not take advantage of the crisis because their digital drive-related capacities were not performing sufficiently.
Efficiency first, the new rule of the game:
What do customers understand behind the notion of efficiency?
- Speed: 92% of them expect that the branded sites they use are fast and easy to navigate. It may seem completely obvious and yet, we know that half of French internet users expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, while the average French site loads in 4.5 seconds (source: Littledata)
- Usability: 89% worldwide and 93% in France expect to easily find the answer to their questions. This is why caring for Customer Experience and making it as user-friendly as possible has become so important.
- Personalization: 73% of consumers worldwide and 88% of Chinese consumers expect their experience to be personalized, according to their expectations and needs. Again, this seems obvious but it’s a rising expectation not all brands can claim to meet today.
Make digital more than a place of commerce, a human and lively place.
Behind efficiency, there is also a demand for more “human vibes” in digital technology. For 59% of consumers surveyed, and 77% of Chinese consumers, it will be essential tomorrow that brands humanize their relationship on the web.
Humanize through more video consultations / interactions with the brand’s employees for 55% of consumers. Brands, you should get ready to turn your employees into “vloggers” or V-employees!
Humanize also through the possibility of online “community shopping”: 54% of consumers globally and 72% of Chinese expect brands to facilitate “online community shopping”. After sharing Netflix with friends, after attending concerts in Fortnite, customers want to be able to share the fun of shopping with their friends.
“Make stores great again”
Are we doomed to spend our lives online? Certainly not, because there is a strong desire to go back to stores: 31% of Americans and 40% of Chinese want to go back to shopping “offline” because it is a hobby they missed.
Obviously, returning to the stores can be tedious because the essential safety and hygiene measures lengthen the waiting times. But digital can help make the experience more enjoyable: 81% of consumers surveyed expect brands to facilitate the visit through “digital queues” or personalized meetings options.
Once these irritants of the journey have been dealt with, the pleasure of visiting the store has several dimensions:
- It is the pleasure of being surprised again, of finding things that we had not looked for, for 55% of consumers
- The pleasure of rediscovering human interaction for 46% of consumers
- And obviously the pleasure of living unique experiences for 43% of customers
The period that we have gone through has profoundly changed customer expectations. Customers will demand more efficiency, more immediacy and speed in online journeys. It’s a matter of survival for brands: digital Darwinism spares only brands that adapt quickly.
But it is also a strong demand for humanization. In digital, efficiency is combined with the desire for a more human and lively relationship. And in stores, it is even stronger, which raises the question of their role: places to sell, or places to meet, gather and live together?
Finally, last point and not the least: expect to have an even greater demand for listening and participation from your customers: they are 35% of Chinese consumers and 31% of French consumers wanting to make their voice heard in business decisions. After “protecting” consumers during the crisis, brands may have to offer them a seat on their boards tomorrow.
About the author
Oliver Vigneaux is an experienced Chief Executive Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the marketing and advertising industry. He is strongly skilled in the business development areas such as Digital Strategy, Advertising, Integrated Marketing, Brand Architecture, and Management.