market intelligence customer journey

Three developments the customer journey is going through since 2020

If you're working off a strategy that doesn't address data privacy concerns, rapid digitization, and your online presence, you're behind the pack.

The customer journey has drastically changed since 2020. New challenges and restrictions have made both companies and customers seek out ways to adapt. This has informed much of the shifts we’ve seen in 2021 thus far, and continues to create a new customer journey with unprecedented speed.

The annual PWC Global Consumer Insights Survey revealed how the past year saw a sudden boost in the pace of consumer changes in behavior and habits. In one of its core insights, more individuals are open to sharing their data if it helps bring about improvements. This is up from the previous year, and very indicative of the new direction that the customer journey is taking.

Consumer accessibility has shifted

The customer purchase journey has now become arguably more convenient, but it also means that access to resources has changed. Even the way companies interact with their target market has seen a palpable change. For instance, part of getting core analytics is being able to get members of selected demographics to share their data, provide key insight, and inform marketability. As individuals become more aware of the impact and security that goes with sharing information, there is a need for smarter market research. Consumers have responded better to surveys via encrypted platforms and have become warier about the reliability of companies they share their information with. With shifting public sentiment and a desire for convenience, consumers seek out reviewable platforms that also provide shorter surveys to cater to their attention.

Currently, over 48% of transactions are done online and over 58% say they will continue to shop online even when restrictions ease. Now, it seems that consumer sentiment simply demands a solid online presence. Be it for shopping goods or reaching out to customer support, customers want to establish that connection quickly and easily from remote bases.

Turnaround time and expectations have shortened due to digitization

The past year saw a sudden acceleration in the adoption of technology. Digitization has suddenly jumped ahead from former projections, and in turn, consumers and workers alike have faced quicker expectations. As companies attempt to be more agile in meeting online consumer needs, they are faced with a public that expects faster turnaround, secure platforms, and efficient processes throughout their purchase journey.

This applies all the way from the UI of a business’s landing page or the user-friendliness of an app, all the way to their payment options and checkout process. This also translates over into the marketing side of things, as consumers respond more to digital advertising than traditional forms. In turn this has led to a huge demand for learned and qualified professionals in the field. In order to keep up with this thriving industry, higher education institutions have increased their offerings of online degrees in marketing, which are now designed to focus more on digital trends, like interactive marketing. Digital marketing skills are consistently listed as in-demand skills from various job analysts in Forbes, HubSpot, and even the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Given that marketing is a crucial part of the customer’s journey, businesses need to strategize how it fits into their customer’s experience.

It seems the biggest concerns have been fuss-free processes and data privacy, so companies have had to get a better grasp of consumers’ preferences based on the various interactions they have with brands, minus any pain points that mar online data gathering. As marketers have relied heavily on automation, smarter keywords, video research, and apps in the past year, we saw results in traffic as platforms like Zoom boomed with 1.7 million users at its peak.

New limitations on customer interactions have sparked a need for business adaptability

Many of the changes mentioned have also come with new limitations. Priorities have been reevaluated and consumers just don’t make the time for companies that seemingly don’t have their best interests at heart anymore. The new consumer is heavily informed by the connection (or lack thereof) that they have with a brand. Some 96% of consumers even say that they are more likely to support a business that values their experiences. This means that in lieu of in-person customer experience executions, brands are relying on their online personas instead. Creating an online platform is not just about creating a resource for information, but also for community.

Constraints on location and accessible executions also mean that brand perception has largely been based on digital presence, online feedback, and viral news over the past year. Because of this, consumers have become more likely to cater to brands that have provided a good story or have a significant amount of genuine feedback to back them up.

Seeing that most experts predict that more changes in digitalization, CX, and market research will come hand-in-hand over the next few years, proactive planning and action will be pillars in future-proofing our industries.

Summary

After the unprecedented challenges of 2020, the field of market research was forced to adopt new procedures and drop old habits. The most apparent changes in this bustling sector are, namely: rapid digitization, new and socially intelligent means to gather data, and the shift in consumer interactions. As the past year witnessed countless consumer attitude fluctuations, market research is expected to become a thriving and dynamic field that all businesses should not neglect.

Author: Romy Jacobs

Source: GreenBook blog