Consumers want it all but are brands ready?

Happy mature woman looking at product at grocery store. Smiling hispanic woman shopping in supermarket and reading product information. Costumer buying food at the market.

SUMMARY: According to Deloitte marketer’s optimism is growing as the pandemic gets under control but that optimism could be short-lived. Consumers are still buying private label products in huge numbers and they want higher product quality with lower prices.

Via Deloitte…Marketers report that customer experience, product quality, and a trusting relationship will be prioritized by customers in the next year. Comparing these priorities to pre-pandemic levels, we see a 34.8% increase in product quality and a 20.4% decrease in trusting relationships even though it remains important. When asked to gauge the importance of customer experience, it emerges as most important with over one-third of marketers rating it their customers’ key priority. Although low price is the least important priority, it has increased in importance by 62.5% during the pandemic, reflecting household and company belt-tightening, especially in the last six months.

Customers increasingly demand a superior product and excellent service across all industries. June 2020 highlighted trusting relationship as the most important priority. Moving forward and out of the pandemic, product quality emerges as most important.

This could be a huge problem for some brands as they find ways to increase profitability and get back in Wall Street’s good graces.

Just what is the brand experience anyway?

According to Columbia Business school, the brand experience is conceptualized as sensations, feelings, cognitions, and behavioral responses evoked by brand-related stimuli that are part of a brand’s design and identity, packaging, communications, and environments. Huh?

Let’s try and put it in simpler terms. The brand experience for a lot of consumers is opening a package and getting exactly what they expected. That means pasta that tastes like pasta and ice cream that tastes like a treat but for hard goods there are differences. Makers of tech products, for example, need to provide a level of support that makes people feel good about their purchase. Let them down and they’ll go all over social media to share their frustrations.

With recent advantages in digital and communication technologies, such as customer service CRM, customer service has been changing quickly. Social media interactions between customers and businesses are driving engagement to new levels. Attitudes and expectations are changing, driven by millennials who are placing higher demands on customer service.

According to Microsoft “globally, 54% of all consumers say that they have higher customer service expectations than they did just one year ago and 52% of people around the globe believe that companies need to take action on feedback provided by their customers”.

How bad can a negative post on social media affect a brand? 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company (Source: Microsoft). What this means is that you had better invest in retaining customers as well as obtaining new ones.

I believe that one thing brands will have to decide whether they can obtain an increase in market share without sacrificing profitability. For a long time, it was all about market share and damn how much it costs but with consumer preferences changing, that could come to an end.

Consumers want it all but are brands ready?