Defining digital – what consumers want from a “Digital Experience”

Defining digital – what consumers want from a “Digital Experience”

This from Sonja Kotrotsos, Head of GTM and Alliances, Europe, Contentstack…

Digital experiences make up the entire range of interactions consumers have with businesses across digital channels, devices, and platforms. These experiences don’t just provide a whole new way to consume marketing, content, products, and services—they allow businesses to collect unique consumer data that can help further dial-in each person’s digital experience.

How well companies can use the tools and information at their disposal to deliver these digital experiences is a measure of how successful they’ll be as omnichannel consumption becomes the norm. The killer question is what customers want that experience to be.

Early insight

To get an early insight, we asked over 500 U.S. consumers about what they expected from their digital experiences. The essence of what we found was this:

– Consumers want brands to use personal data
– Younger consumers are looking for consistent omnichannel experiences, but all consumers expect a consistent digital presence
– One bad brand experience can ruin the relationship with a consumer.

Consumers want businesses to act on their data

According to our survey, 87.3 percent, do not expect content on a brand’s channels (be they website, mobile application or social media) to be personalized to their specific location, device, search history, and so on.

However, 32.3 percent do expect content and products to be personalized based on their past interactions with the business. Similarly, 17.4 percent also expect a company’s marketing materials, such as ads and emails, to be customized to them.

This is the defining (and dividing) line between what consumers will and won’t accept as the basis of the data a business keeps when it comes to customer details.

Consumers are fine sharing SOME personal data with brands—as long as they’re getting customization in return.

Consumers have a decent enough understanding of how personalization works to expect it when it’s reasonable. And, they’re willing to give a business the information needed to get started with personalizing their digital experiences — as long as it is worthwhile for them.

Newer generations expect consistent digital experiences across channels

Just over 38 percent (38.2%) of respondents overall said they expect to be able to start a session on one device and finish it on another when using an application. For example, a person expects that when opening up the Spotify app on their laptop, it plays the same song that they were jamming to on their phone during their run.

When broken down by age, over half of the respondents aged 18-34 expect to be able to start something on one device and continue seamlessly on another. However, fewer than 34 percent of people above the age of 35 have the same expectation.

For businesses, this means it’s essential for a business’ app to be able to save a user’s sessions across multiple devices if their ideal audience is Millennials and Gen Zers. This is critical – our research shows that it could mean the difference between retaining or losing that user.

Everyone expects a consistent digital presence

The majority of content consumers (59.2 percent) expect a company to have consistent information on every channel (website, app, email, etc.). And, about half of respondents expect a company’s mobile app to have the same features as their desktop website.

When product or service content does need to change, 60 percent of respondents said they expected the company’s websites, emails, text messages, and other communications to all reflect these changes on the very same day.

As the majority opinion shows, it isn’t an option to roll out changes to a single channel, product, or piece of content at a time.

One poor digital experience may cut the relationship short

Over 60 percent of our survey respondents said they’re “never” or “not likely” to continue shopping with a company after a single poor experience on their website, mobile app, or other platforms.

Luckily, there are some essential digital experiences that are proven to keep consumers coming back for more — using personal data to provide personalized products and messages, implementing seamless sessions across channels, and producing an all-around consistent digital presence.

The question then becomes how businesses can provide all of this without maxing out technology or staff budget?

How to give consumers the digital experiences they expect

To prepare to deliver a world-class digital experience, the first place to start is to answer the following world class questions.

Do you need to gather and act on personalized consumer data? And if so, within what boundaries and for what specific purposes?

How are you providing a seamless digital experience and brand presence across channels and sessions? How intuitive is that experience and journey?

Does your digital experience strategy take steps to avoid poor digital experiences that can damage your relationships with consumers?

Has the experience been thoroughly stress tested in term sof quality and scale?

Setting up a digital experience platform

A crucial first step to providing digital experiences is to set up a digital experience platform with a user-friendly headless CMS that includes all the content management and collaboration tools of a traditional CMS but employs a decoupled architecture. A decoupled, headless CMS enables businesses to take advantage of best-in-class integrations from CRM to AI to personalization engines and more.

The pay off is a series of compelling digital experiences that will establish a brand not only at the forefront of current commercial success, but also aligns them for future success with the critical Gen Z and Millenial markets (and beyond). Make no mistake, the ‘digital experience’ will soon become simply the ‘customer experience’ and businesses will fly or fail based on it.

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