Enabling Experience-Driven Commerce Anytime, Anywhere

In the past few years the online retail world has been transformed through channels that would have been hard to imagine even a decade ago. This shift is undoubtedly due to evolving customer expectations and behaviors in the age of great user experience.  Riding the tidal wave of social commerce, advanced analytics, and AI technology, the digitally savvy customer and innovator alike have brought each other to new heights, reigning in an unprecedented level of personalization and tailor-made consumer experience in the retail world.

To cut to the chase and hear straight from the consumer what exactly they want in an online retail experience, Avionos recently surveyed 1,409 consumers about their online shopping habits, preferences, and expectations in the year ahead. The results provide insight into online consumer trends and offer strategic advice for how commerce specialists can utilize digital transformation to not only stay relevant, but to gain and maintain a competitive edge with customers in the shopping cart.

For starters, search is replacing traditional browse and navigation methods. According to the survey, when browsing online without a specific intent to buy, about a third (33%) of consumers begin their search with Amazon, and a third (32%) begin with Google. These numbers stand against the mere 17% of surveyed consumers who  for their specific needs, rather than browsing – even without a specific intent to buy. Retailers can capitalize on this behavior by prioritizing both paid and organic search, and by embracing new partnerships with companies like Amazon that already utilize personalized cloud capabilities to drive even more sales.

Social media has also taken a seat at the table as an active commerce channel and a major opportunity for revenue growth. Over half (55%) of surveyed consumers have made purchases through social media, mostly influenced by personalized recommendations such as user-generated recommendations (27%), products people typically purchase together (23%), trending products (20%), products that shoppers have considered (18%), and products that are gift ideas (11%). Leveraging these social channels to expand upon consumer touch points will allow brands to pivot offerings based on direct customer feedback, performance, and analytics.

The broad influence of social commerce highlights the importance of tailor-made user experiences in the online marketplace. Modern consumers have come to expect a personalized experience – but not too personal.  According to the Avionos survey, 32% of online shoppers would be willing to share personal information online if it meant brands and retailers could better anticipate their needs. However, there are limitations to this willingness. Of those surveyed, 72% of consumers are willing to share their email addresses, 69% are willing to share their first names, and 67% are willing to share their age. Beyond basic personal information, these numbers drop significantly. In light of recent personal information breaches, the entire digital ecosystem is experiencing a crisis of trust. In fact, according to a 2017 PwC survey, customers are more likely to trust banks than marketing or advertising companies.

Brands and retailers need to build trust and transparency in order to create engaging and personalized experiences for customers. Simply put, the better the content, the more confidence consumers have in a brand.  According to the 2017 survey, when asked what makes them feel most confident in an online purchase decision, more than half (54%) of consumers feel more confident if the retailer offers detailed product specifications, 53% said a user-friendly policy, and 49% feel more confident if a product listing has extra content available. Detailed and appropriate content creates a relationship with the consumer, leaving them feeling more informed and committed to purchasing. Cloud-based tools allow brands to push relevant, contextual content that reach the right customer at the right moment, resulting in more confident and loyal consumers. What more could you ask for?

The retail industry is facing new changes that will continue to revolutionize the way consumers shop. The normalization of AI and voice-controlled commerce devices like Amazon’s Alexa are already raising customer expectations for the quality of their shopping experiences. The new age of eCommerce is here. Brands and retailers that want to stay in the ring have to meet dynamic customer needs by creating shoppable moments on any channel. This experience-driven commerce can only be done effectively through the use of modern, cloud-based platforms that support quick and agile innovation.  Fortunately, embracing digital transformation to empower your customers and drive revenue is exactly what we do best at Avionos.

To download the full Consumer Expectations Report, please visit  https://www.avionos.com/consumer-expectations/

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