From new normal to new opportunities.
In our research, we wanted to understand how businesses were thinking about the future. Here are the opportunities their answers suggest.
Despite the immense challenges during the pandemic, there is a silver lining. More businesses made much-needed transformations and more people tried — and liked — digital experiences.
Consumers discovered that great digital experiences could recreate the in-person connections they craved — opening up opportunities for businesses to forge even deeper connections going forward. And that, like really good ice cream, will keep their customers coming back for more.
When the pandemic forced Ben & Jerry’s scoop shops to temporarily close, and people limited trips to the grocery story, getting their ice cream got a lot harder. So the company pivoted to home delivery in a very unique way. They quickly created a “Food Pairings” campaign, thoughtfully pairing inventive new flavors with popular delivery meals. But that created a need for an immense amount of authentic and local photography for their 150 flavors and 38 markets — reassuring customers that the ice cream wasn’t traveling far and wouldn’t arrive as “ice cream soup.
They got all that photography without shooting a single scoop of ice cream. Using Adobe Dimension, they were able to create 3D renderings of ice cream that looked stunningly realistic, then with backgrounds from Adobe Stock, composited a 3D pint onto a 2D image. Doing a small photo shoot, they captured enough environmental shots to serve as background images. When combined with the 3D Dimension renderings, the results were astounding. They were able to produce all the assets they needed in a remarkably short time — and gain greater control over them, which will serve them well into the future. Learn more about Ben & Jerry’s story.
“My biggest takeaway is to not write technology off just because you don’t think it’s right for your brand. Because in a year, it could be perfect and save the day.”
Global Digital Design Lead, Ben & Jerry’s
Digital experience, digital success
Of course, digital interactions went beyond just getting ice cream. The research suggests that by and large, many consumers were happy with this transition to digital and that the changes to their behavior will likely stick.
Where challenge meets opportunity.
But a lot of these activities are very transactional — because that’s what consumers needed in the moment. As we move forward, they’ll expect the same kind of responsiveness in all of their experiences online. And that’s where you’ll find the greatest opportunities.
When we asked consumers what features they want in their digital experiences, the most important by far was convenience. Interestingly, brands tend to underestimate that desire, assuming that brand name and brand values are more important. Yet convenience alone isn’t enough. Consumers also want experiences that are informative and authentic.
Businesses reported that consumers also want help from them during uncertain times. And a lot of that comes down to empathy. Jill Steinhour, director of high-tech and B2B strategy at Adobe, says a lot of companies had to retool their messaging during COVID — focusing on really understanding what their customers needed. And then Black Lives Matter hit, and they had to retool messaging around that. “It’s that kind of human experience that matters — understanding what people are going through and being able to react to that through content velocity.”
Michael Grier, former Adobe industry strategy leader for media, entertainment, and communications, agrees, saying the telco industry showed a heightened sense of corporate humanity during the pandemic. They knew their customer community was feeling pain and wanted to make sure that they were able to continue their service in a time of real need. Several companies amped up ways to contact them, gave their customers several months of additional data for free, and offered postponed billing or payment help.
A great digital experience is all about knowing what people want — and then going above and beyond in the experiences you deliver. We spoke to our industry experts to get their insights on how the pandemic has changed the way businesses are successfully doing this. Here’s what they had to say.
New opportunities for every industry
- Financial Services
- High Tech
- Media and Entertainment
Access to doctors and pharmacies has been critical during the pandemic, and technology has been the solution. Telehealth is allowing providers to spend more one-on-one time with their patients and deepen the relationships.
"Telehealth is like the old-fashioned house call. The doctor is coming to you at your convenience, in a place that’s comfortable for you. And I hope the industry never recovers from that.”
Director of Health and Life Sciences Industry Strategy, Adobe
Despite the new digital ways to shop, our desire for an in-person experience is still very strong. To meet that need, many retailers have responded with some form of highly personalized “clienteling,” where they’re gathering rich data to personally guide customers through the purchase process.
“Personalization, a longstanding business necessity, is even more important now as customers sift through infinite choices online for the products they need.”
Global Director, Retail Industry Strategy, Adobe
The pandemic exacerbated supply chain woes, and many tech manufacturers have since made changes to improve resilience. They’re also using cloud technology to be more responsive to changing customer demands and using emerging technologies to reduce friction in their digital experiences.
“As the industry responds to the pandemic, companies and customers are looking for ways to form deep, authentic human connections through technology.”
Director of High-Tech and B2B Strategy, Adobe
Digital wasn’t new to financial institutions, but the pandemic exposed the need to move a lot faster. Education, trust, and communication have become their top priorities, resulting in a 82% digital satisfaction rate — one of the highest industry satisfaction rates during the pandemic.
“Investing in digital helps banks be more proactive and less reactive, strengthening customer trust. And it adds more than convenience — it helps customers make smarter decisions.”
Director Financial Services Industry Strategy, Adobe
Media and Entertainment
With so much of the media and entertainment industry shut down, businesses have responded with innovative solutions. Whether releasing blockbuster movies directly to streaming platforms or creating virtual reality NASCAR races, they’ve found ways to build community and keep fans engaged.
“If you’re in the driver’s seat with them, seeing their expressions and reactions, that adds a little more humanity than being just a tiny fan in a huge stadium.”
Industry Strategy Leader for Media, Entertainment, and Communication, Adobe
The pandemic created opportunities for real, human connections in our digital experiences. Firms that do this well are 3.3 times more likely to have significantly increased customer lifetime value, 1.7 times more likely to have significantly increased customer advocacy, and 3.8 times more likely to have significantly increased basket sizes.
Click here to learn best practices for creating human experiences that lead to better business results.