This survey, PwC’s seventh annual study in a series tracking changes in global consumers’ shopping preferences, is our biggest one yet: 15,000 online users representing 15 countries. Among the expectations that global consumers now have are: 24/7 retailer availability, real-time insight into the retailer’s stock, compelling in-store technology, and consistent prices and offerings across all the retailer’s assets.
Today’s consumers have raised the bar for retailers. Multichannel shopping is a given — the price of admission into the conversation. Within our data we’ve unearthed eight customer expectations that transcend geography and product category, and will require that retailers evaluate their business model from top to bottom.
- A compelling brand story that promises a distinctive experience
- Customised offers based on totally protected, personal preferences and information
- An enhanced and consistent experience across all devices
- Transparency, real-time, into a retailer’s inventory
- My favourite retailers are everywhere
- To maximise the value of mobile shopping, both store apps and mobile sites must improve
- Two-way social media engagement
- “Brands” act like retailers, and we’ll treat them that way
Take a closer look at the main takeaways and feel free to discuss and share them! Please, don’t hesitate to contact me for any doubt and follow the hashtag #TotalRetail!
You can find all the contents, video, and much more on www.PwC.com/TotalRetail
1. “Trust the brand” is the #1 reason people shop at their favorite retailers, so retailers should change how that brand is communicated, both internally and externally.
2. Retailers need to strike a balance between customization and security because online shoppers demand customized offers based on totally protected, personal preferences and information.
3. Consumers expect a consistent experience across all devices, so companies need to ensure that customer information “travels” securely with each device.
4. The back-office of retailers needs to move at the speed of the customer because shoppers want real time, transparency into a retailer’s inventory.
5. Favorite retailers are everywhere, so retailers should examine their store portfolio taking into account how consumers want to shop.
6. To maximize the value of mobile shopping, both store apps and mobile sites must improve. Businesses should focus on the mobile browser experience first, and then ramp up apps.
7. Online shoppers seek two-way social media engagement, so retailers need to listen to customer’s comments and turn that commentary into actionable data.
8. Shoppers don’t see the difference between manufacturers and retailers, so both sides need to work together to share consumer insights and collaborate to enlarge the pie and drive more success for both.
[Source: Social Media Today]
In this post, I round-up some of the significant stats from 2013 which show the big trends in consumer behaviour across different digital platforms and channels that will help you question your priorities in 2014.
Social media marketing
Q. Which social networks should we focus on?
With limited time you need to focus your participation on the social networks which are growing fastest and have the most participation amongst your audience. This data from Global WebIndex shows the growth in the main networks across different age groups. You need to check how you’re performing compared to competitors too.
Q. Which social networks encourage sharing?
Our post asking which social network drives the most visits used social sharing data from Gigya to help answer this question. These are the top sources of sharing at a top-level.
Of course, sharing will vary by market, so check your sharing against your direct competitors. Here we can see that Ecommerce sharing is quite different – with Pinterest very popular, particularly in the US.
Q. Should we offer social sign-in?
The same data source also shows the relative popularity of the social networks for social sign-in. Data is available specifically for Ecommerce companies and publishers too.
Q. How popular is mobile search and how effective is our mobile SEO?
With the increase in consumer adoption of mobile, you should focus more on visits from mobile SEO. See how the proportion of mobile visits vary in importance compared to other traffic sources to see whether you potentially have a problem.
Despite the growth in popularity of social media many of us still turn first to a search engine, although this new data from Google’s new Mobile Path to Purchase guide shows us that mobile apps and brand sites are important sources too according to consumers.
Q. How do I review the effectiveness of my SEO given the growth in Not Provided?
We have alerted readers to how Google has progessively removed referring keywords in its reports during 2013, so making reporting on SEO more challenging, although we have shown there are decent alternatives.
As if you needed a reminder, this is how significant Not Provided is now…
Ecommerce and conversion rate optimisation
Q. What is our potential improvement in conversion rates?
Although overall conversion rates for Ecommerce can help us benchmark, as Dan Barker said in this post average conversion rates are near-meaningless.
So what you need to review is the variation in conversion. This will vary by device, country, referrer and of course product category on the site as suggested by this benchmark from Monetate. Only by analysing variation and understanding which interactions on category and product pages and customer online shopping concerns which affect conversion will you be able to improve conversion.
Q. Which channels drive conversion and value – beyond last click to assists
We’ve regularly written on the importance of channel attribution to understand which media influence sales over the increasingly complex customer journey. This new data from Adobe shows, for example that social media and search can be more valuable when assists are taken into account. It also highlights the importance of comparing channels on revenue per visit.
Q. How seriously should I treat mobile email?
You probably know the answer to this already! The answer is “very seriously”. Litmus does an excellent job in in documenting the growing rise of mobile email.
Within email opened on mobile devices, checking your iPhone and iPad rendering is most important, although Android is rising fast.
[Source: Smart Insights]
In 2012, Google along with Jim Lecinski published a fantastic book that explored how digital customers made decisions in what Google refers to as “The Zero Moment of Truth.” The ZMOT as it’s abbreviated, helps strategists discover relevant strategies and tactics on how to show up at the right place, at the right time and with the right content in a digital ecosystem.
In a world where consumers “Google it” to begin their digital journey, ZMOT revealed that brands need to re-think the connected experience and the resulting click path. But what happens when the web sites that appear in traditional Google search results no longer suffice for someone so connected that impatience becomes a virtue? This is after all someone who begins the journey on a smart phone or tablet tapping review sites and social networks to make information come to them before conducting formal research. Some call it the lazy web. Others refer to it as the social web. In the end, it’s just how people make information come to them. Once they do, it becomes the norm.
Even though web sites technically work on smaller screens thanks to adaptive and responsive design, they’re still web sites. In the very least, they go against the very nature of how someone interacts with the screen and what it’s designed to make possible. Here, it’s less about clicks and scrolls and more about pinching and swipes. That’s not all of course. The intention of a web page is called into question, or should be, in a time of connected consumerism. Step back and think about it for a moment. The information included on web sites isn’t written for you and me, it’s written for the person approving it. When you consider context in addition to the screen in the Zero Moment of Truth, you learn that people aren’t seeking marketing copy, they’re seeking the experiences of others to help humanize information and apply it to their state of mind, needs, and aspirations. Let that sink in because I’ll wager it’s not where a majority of your investments are allocated right now.
So, the truth unfolds…
In my latest book, “What’s the Future of Business”, I introduced the Ultimate Moment of Truth, that moment where people who convert an experience into discoverable content in any one of the countless social platforms people use to stay connected these days. And in this connected economy, the Ultimate Moment of Truth, or UMOT, becomes the next person’s Zero Moment of Truth, over and over again.
In addition to web sites, landing pages and corresponding SEO and SEM strategies, businesses now must consider how to create experiences in every moment of truth that aren’t just meaningful or remarkable, but also shareable. The future of brands now lies in how UMOT meets ZMOT throughout the customer life cycle. See, without design, these experiences are left to chance. Instead, marketers must begin to architect, foster and optimize positive experiences in each moment that’s native to each screen, efficient in steps, and tied to desirable outcomes.
When Google learned of my work around UMOT, the team reached out to consider how me might work together to help marketers better connect the dots to enhance the ZMOT. Our first collaboration resulted in a whitepaper that’s free to download, “Give Them Something to Talk About: Brian Solis on the Art of Engagement.” I’ve included parts of our discussion below.
Give Them Something to Talk About
What does engagement mean for you?
Engagement is really about Actions, Reactions and Transactions; something that I refer to as A.R.T. Engagement, for me, is something that locks in an interaction or exchange. Thinking about engagement in that way inspires a different approach for content creation; you want somebody to feel something, not just see it.
If you think about engagement in this way, is it measurable?
Absolutely. You define your desired outcome and that outcome becomes what you measure. It’s the relationship between cause and effect. Unfortunately, most marketers don’t consider the outcome to be more than some low-level engagement measure — a ‘Like’, a ‘Share,’ a comment — when in fact you could introduce an emotion. If you love something, you share it. This isn’t just about impressions; this is about expressions. You want people to share it and do something and that should be designed into your engagement strategy.
How can you enlist ‘shares’ to support a campaign objective?
No content should be designed today that isn’t inherently shareable. Take the Jeff Gordon Pepsi MAX commercial on YouTube. It comes from that same thinking that goes into Super Bowl commercials, where you stop and go, ‘Oh my god, that is the best commercial I’ve ever seen!’ For some reason marketers only get that creative once a year, but YouTube and the social web are unlocking that type of thinking. Everything you introduce to the social web should have the same caliber of creativity that goes into a Super Bowl commercial.
Is there a tendency for marketers to feel so overwhelmed by technology that they lose sight of their basic instinct for how consumers behave?
Look, I’m a consumer, you’re a consumer. When we talk about the brands we love, it’s very human and natural. But when we try to talk to people like us, we blank out and turn into ‘Marketing Man.’ We lose that human nature, that empathy. If you take a technology perspective, you are forever reacting. The minute you take a step back and say, “What’s the bigger mission?” you start to realize what you are trying to do is change behavior. This relationship between cause and effect is very human. Once you articulate that vision, technology becomes an enabler. It starts to work for you.
Consumers share brand experiences, whether the brand is listening or not. Do brands listen enough to those conversations?
Author Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Take Twitter, Facebook, YouTube — what is shared is experiences. Somebody is eating a delicious dinner; that picture is published and shared. Somebody spots a product that makes them feel fantastic; it too becomes a shared experience. There are shared experiences that represent every step of the customer journey. These conversations existed before technology, but now they are searchable, retrievable and building on each other. Shared experiences, in aggregate, become the brand.
What happens when a brand’s marketing doesn’t reflect its image among consumers?
You may say: “This is our brand, this is what it represents, this is what we want you to feel, say, share.” But always ask yourself: “What is the collective experience that is published across the social web?” If you compare the two, many times there’s a disconnect between promise and real world experiences. I refer to this as the ‘experience divide.’ In many experiments I’ve found the brand promise and the experiences that are felt and shared are not even close to being aligned. That’s a problem.
How can brands close that gap?
If we spent less time ‘talking’ about our brand and brand promise and more time designing how we bring it to life, the experience divide would naturally narrow.
What can brands do when online consumers’ first impressions are being shaped by other consumers’ experiences?
These conversations — these shared experiences — they don’t self destruct. They build upon each other, creating a collective index. Search engines plug into this cloud of shared experiences and that Ultimate Moment of Truth, or UMOT for short, of shared experiences becomes the next person’s ZMOT. Experiences form impressions. Impressions become expressions as they’re shared. Expressions form new impressions. The link between UMOT and ZMOT is the future of branding and relationships.
This is a new way of thinking. As a brand you have to create the experiences you want people to have and share, and reinforce that through positive conditioning, so those are the things people find — over and over again. To get people to share more positive things, you have to first make sure they have a positive experience. This is a renaissance opportunity for brands to look back: ‘Why did we start this company? What are we trying to do?’ Because in the social web, it is those experiences that become your brand.