Latest Report Finds Personalisation is Key to Brand Utility

In today’s data-driven economy, brands are awash with information about what customers are doing, what they like and dislike and so much more. While numbers and data points are the means in which we learn about our customers, they’re only half the equation when it comes to acting on what they have to tell us.

Listening, by definition, is hearing what others are saying and trying to understand what it means. It’s that last bit — interpretation — that is critical in shaping a standout customer experience journey.

Here at Adobe, we’ve taken a deep dive into customer experience with our 2019 Listen: A Magento ‘Meaningful CX’ Series report. We partnered with YouGov and surveyed over 7000 consumers in the JAPAC region, which includes Japan, Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, to see how listening to and interpreting what customers want can result in better brand engagement.

Take a look at some of the key takeaways.

Brand utility lays foundation for top-tier CXM

As in any relationship, mutual respect and shared values factor into customer experience in a big way and the best way to establish them is through listening.

It’s important to remember that a relationship with your customers doesn’t start with a transaction; the best brands find meaningful ways to connect with consumers well before the point-of-sale, at multiple touchpoints in the customer journey.

At Adobe, we define these meaningful relationships as ‘brand utility’, a concept rooted in brand purpose. Brand utility is the bottom line in terms of the why, how and what you do for your customers and is also what will keep them coming back.

Data provides a sound basis for brands to build brand utility. With data, we can learn more about our customers, how they respond to your business and what they value or don’t. Insights like these provide clarity around purpose and thereby help us to create customer experiences that puts customer needs, behaviours and values at the centre.

While data collection can sometimes sound a bit ‘Big Brother’ in nature, consumer perceptions around it are not as cynical as you might think. Half (50%) of the customers we surveyed said that while they insist brands safeguard their data, they’re also fine with them using it to create a better customer experience.

Case in point: artificial intelligence. Our research shows that if AI is used to create a great brand experience, customers are quite open to brands using these emerging technologies. Sixty per cent of respondents told us they felt positive about the use of AI, while a further twenty per cent were fine with getting product recommendations based on their purchase history.

External values shape the customer experience

When looking at what your customers value, brands should note they don’t only care about themselves; external factors are important too. Our research shows customers expect companies to strongly consider issues like environmental impact when creating a customer experience.

For instance, a quarter of the people we spoke to said they preferred shopping online as it’s a more environmentally friendly experience, while 44 per cent said it’s important for retailers to be transparent about where their products are sourced. Packaging and plastic are also significant concerns. Thirty-four per cent of respondents told us they’re more receptive to retailers who minimise packaging, while a third said they’re more open to retailers who donate to an environmental cause.

Pivot to customer needs and behaviour

The 7000 people we spoke to were loud and clear about what matters to them when they’re shopping. For online retailers, it’s not just about bricks versus clicks anymore. While customers remain very price sensitive, they also demand a seamless and enriching experience to keep them engaged.

One global company providing this seamless experience really effectively is footwear conglomerate Accent Group, who has taken the data around how customers engage with the brand and pivoted their business model accordingly.

Accent Group realised the majority of its online customers come via mobile, and so catering to this group was a big consideration when re-platforming its ecommerce offering. Getting the mobile component right meant building something that was fast, flexible and focused on handheld devices. Alongside this mobile-first focus has been a deep Instagram integration (to bridge the boundaries between social and commerce), and a mobile-app-like theme to create an engaging experience for customers.

For Accent, the approach has paid off. The group has also reimagined its retail outlets, repurposing them as distribution centres and – using Magento Commerce – it implemented Click and Collect, which lets customers pick up their online purchases from its stores. Since launching this feature, Click and Collect has driven 20 percent of total digital sales across Accent Group, while direct ecommerce (delivering the goods to the customer) now accounts for between 30 and 50 percent of digital sales.

What all these factors come back to, however, is the importance of listening, understanding learning and responding. When we listen to our customers, we have the opportunity to serve them better. When we understand what our customers are saying, we can improve our systems, processes, policies and products to create a brand experience customers will want to return to – and will tell their friends about.