Forrester: Companies with great digital experiences perform better amid pandemic and are poised for future growth

Anyone who says that 2020 wasn’t a challenging year for businesses has their head in the sand. From setting up and then managing a remote workforce, to adjusting to an all-digital economy amid a year with uncertainties galore, 2020 tested a company’s ability to survive let alone thrive.

According to new research from Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Adobe, the companies that weathered the 2020 storm best were the ones that were already set up to deliver digital customer experiences when the pandemic hit. Indeed, the research finds that companies with excellent digital customer experiences were more likely to have seen better business performance since the onset of the pandemic, including increased basket/shopping cart sizes and customer lifetime value (CLV). They also are better poised for future growth, and they continue to roll out new features that support customer engagement.

“Companies that were set up to deliver great digital customer experiences were able to pivot quickly when the pandemic hit. The fact that they had already invested in digitally transforming meant they could change course fast,” says Rishabh Daya, head of digital enterprise strategy and solutions, Adobe “Those who were not already digitally mature found themselves in a scramble to keep up with consumer behavior changes that practically happened overnight.”

Forrester conducted two online surveys in North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific. For the first, it surveyed 3,193 consumers who use an Internet-connected device, such as smartphones or tablets, at least weekly. For the second study, Forrester surveyed 1,298 marketing and IT decision-makers responsible for digital customer experience (CX) strategy. Forrester also conducted five interviews with digital experience decision-makers across industries to explore this topic. The research evaluated how companies adapted to the current health crisis, boiling it up into a number of lessons learned:

Companies with better digital experiences have had better business results since the onset of the pandemic

Compared to beginners, digitally mature organizations are 3.8x as likely to have significantly increased basket sizes, 3.3x as likely to have significantly increased CLV, and 1.7x as likely to have significantly increased customer advocacy, according to the research.

The shift from traditional to digital engagement is permanent

Forrester believes that because the shift to digital was present even before the pandemic (albeit at a much slower pace), the new consumer behaviors in this all-digital economy will outlive the pandemic.

When people have a good digital experience, they are more likely to buy online

A majority of consumers say they will recommend a brand to their friends, family, and colleagues as a result of a great digital shopping experience.

Simply having a digital presence isn’t enough to woo today’s consumers

In a digital economy, consumers expect more than a website, they want experiences that are convenient, informative and authentic, the research finds.

Companies are still struggling with data and customer insights

Six out of 10 companies Forrester interviewed find it challenging to gather and analyze up-to-date data and are lacking customer behavior insights as a result. A majority (57 percent) are also challenged with keeping their content up to date.