Ernst & Young survey of current consumers reveals following trends:
- Traditional market segmentation no longer holds true. The ‘chameleon’ consumer has conflicting preferences and facets, which need to be accommodated.
- Brands are increasingly likely to influence purchasing decisions within emerging markets, unlike the mature markets where lower loyalty is challenging companies.
- Personalized communication and service is a priority. There are huge opportunities for organizations that can harness digital consumers through closer ‘community’ vehicles, such as social media and other digital channels.
- Consumers are now equipped with all possible product, price and stock information and can simply bypass retailers that don’t compete.
- These new empowered customers want a greater say in how they experience service and to be active ‘co-creators’, not passive consumers.
Five recommendations for companies looking to capitalize on this new ‘type consumer”:
- Engage in dialogue with the consumer.
Organizations must go back to basics and get to know their consumers to develop strong, profitable customer relationships by engaging in a different type of dialogue. Government authorities must also shift, as citizens become used to the swift and informal communications traffic of social media rather, than the remote formality of traditional bureaucracy.
- Make service personal
The entire value chain must be aligned to provide a personalized customer journey from bespoke product and service variants and flexible delivery, to adaptable payment and communication options.
- Provide an end-to-end brand experience
Customer experience is the new brand and only by delivering an all-round positive customer experience can companies build the strong, loyal brand communities.
- Deliver consistent multi-channel service
Seamless service across all channels is essential and organizations need to develop their online capability. However they must be wary of neglecting the face-to-face experience as physical outlets will remain core to consumers’ preferred retail experience.
- Make consumers business partners
Organizations must focus on developing collaborative relationships with consumers by opening up the research and development funnel. This will help suppliers ensure that they are building a genuine brand affinity with their target audience.