In today’s digital age, consumers are empowered more than ever. With a fast and easy access to social media platforms and websites, people are better informed at making their purchasing decisions based on the reviews from fellow shoppers.
2015 is far from over and there are still so many trends in customer experience that continue to pick up steam, further elevating the standards for brands in order for them to complete globally.
While there are no brand new trends, the outcome of some of these existing trends continue to affect and shape the business landscape. With that being said, here’s a rundown of the 7 consumer trends in 2015 that every leader should take into consideration to be on top of their business.
1. Consumers will demand more
Expectations from customers will continue to soar, and while most customers want to be loyal to certain brands, they will not hesitate to jump ship if they find better option. Customers want 24/7 customer service to feel personally tailored to their needs and if the experience does not live up to their expectation, they are more likely to share them on social media and switch to a competitor. Make sure to know what your customers’ needs are and find ways to deliver them as quickly as possible.
2. Customer loyalty will be driven by emotion
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According to a 2014 study done by Forrester, “emotion has a bigger impact on customer loyalty than either ease or effectiveness”. Before the year ends, expect more companies to use emotion to characterise their customer experience. So, when you’re developing a marketing plan, it’s best to design a customer experience that stimulates customer emotions that drives value for your business.
3. Increasing demand for instant aggregated information
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With the prevalence of mobile computing and smart technology, customers expect to receive personalised information instantly. Consumers today have all the information readily available to them at anytime they need it and expect the information to be integrated seamlessly in one place.
With this in mind, Amazon uses an intuitive recommendation technology that automatically shares recommended products to their customers based on their previous purchases and shopping activity on the site. Advanced smartphones and mobile apps can easily deliver relevant information based on the user’s preference and location.
4. Emphasis on Sustainability
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It used to be that companies embrace sustainability measures to follow government laws and avoid penalties. Now, more companies are adopting the concept of sustainability to have a voice on environmental policy, as well as foster a positive consumer relations and boost brand reputation.
Corporate sustainability is about building a profitable and globally competitive organization that supports zero or negative social and environmental footprints and encourage their suppliers and customers to do the same. DuPont, 3M and Dow Chemical are just a few of the industry leaders who have significantly reduced their costs by implementing policies on zero waste.
5. The integration of offline and online retail
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Customers want nothing but a smooth offline and online experience with their favourite brands, so retailers should be flexible enough to satisfy these expectations. Lululemon, an athletic wear retailer has championed this concept by creating a smartphone app that customised their desktop content for their mobile users. This app features video tutorials, customer feedback, new products with photos and descriptions. Purchases done through their app can be effortlessly returned in-store.
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It’s not enough for companies to have presence on social media, customers expect real time support directly through this channel. Customers find the experience through social media platform faster and more personalised than communicating through traditional channels like the 1-800 hotline or email.
Expect to see more companies like Hootsuite to use Twitter to assist their customers with their concern via a personalised Tweet-to-call links that connects customers to talk to the their agents. Clicking on the link will route you to special phone number or Skype ID to connect to one of their customer reps who can handle your issue.
7. Smart technology is the future
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I’m sure by now you have seen the growing presence of physical products with digital extensions such as the smart home which allows consumers to connect their appliances and devices at home to communicate with one another and with you through your smartphone.
According to a prediction from Gartner, there will be nearly 5 billion connected things by the end of 2015 and will reach 25 billion in 2020. This growing expansion will be generate a huge impact on the Internet of Things as consumers and organisations will find ways to exploit this technology.