According to consumer research, The Digital Consumer: Shifting Expectations and Digital Readiness, consumers’ expectations are fundamentally changing, spurred on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The heightened reliance on online interactions means that consumers expect brands to deliver experiences that are personalized and uniquely relevant – right now. The digital consumer has arrived. Brands have the opportunity to meet these new consumer needs through long-term, consumer-first strategies rooted in the right combination of technology, design, and experience.
Appnovation’s research measured Canadian consumers’ digital readiness and consumer expectations of the brands they interact with, uncovering four overarching consumer expectations across all verticals:
• Canadian consumers expect and prefer to do more brand interactions online in the future. 56% of Canadians prefer to do more online interactions increasingly in the near future - including in industries like automotive and grocery where interactions have traditionally been in-person.
• There’s an expectation that the in-person consumer experience gets more digital, too. While many consumers are still concerned about safety, they’re looking for hybrid in-person and digital experiences, with more than 60% of Canadian consumers comfortable with touchless technologies (devices with sensor or gesture recognition, tap and go payments), especially in places like hospitals, airports and hotels.
• Millennials have the highest expectations for a seamless digital experience.Though Gen Z is not far behind, 89% of millennials expect brands to use technology to shape their customer experiences, no matter the type of business they’re dealing with.
• There’s an appetite for touchless technologies, though brands need to address concerns like security to make consumers feel comfortable. More than 85% of all consumers agree that touchless technologies will become more popular as people begin interacting with brands outside the home. Brands will walk a fine line in leveraging the right technology while ensuring the technology is not intrusive to the experience, focusing on delivering personalized experiences.
"While 2020 accelerated digital in pretty much every aspect of life, brands still need to look ahead in 2021 and focus on the basics - creating and delivering personalized customer experiences based on fundamental long-term strategies,” said Scott Wassmer, General Manager of Americas for Appnovation. “Today's customers have endless choices, and they expect amazing, share-worthy digital experiences from brands now more than ever, and that's not going to change.”
Other interesting findings include:
• 73% of Millennials believe that online consumer experiences are now more important than in-person experiences.
• Apart from heightened perceptions on being modern and futuristic, 68% of Canadian consumers feel companies using touchless technologies are empathetic towards consumers.
• 56% of Canadian consumers agree that touchless technologies will become more popular as people begin interacting with brands outside the home.
As lockdowns begin to ease, retailers are focused on fast-tracking their innovation efforts to draw customers back in, the first brick in rebuilding brick and mortar. The in-person experience will become more immersive, entertaining and integrated with digital, incorporating sensor & gesture recognition and touchless technology. According to our research, over half (65%) of Canadian consumers are more comfortable using devices with sensor or gesture recognition and touchless technology, while they have mixed feelings about voice and facial recognition (less than 30%).
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