Home Strategy Businesses deliver improved digital shopping experiences for consumers: report

Businesses deliver improved digital shopping experiences for consumers: report

Australian businesses have significantly improved the digital experience they provide, closing the gap to what consumers expect, according to a new report that also reveals that while performance has improved, consumers are still more likely to be unsatisfied with digital experiences than delighted by them.

And for the second year running, Netflix was singled out by Australians as having the best digital experience among all brands, with other leaders including online retailer Kogan, Vodafone and Suncorp Bank.

The report, by SAP Australia, based on results from more than 4,000 Australians who rated more than 11,000 interactions against 14 attributes, found overall digital experience has improved from last year.

According to SAP, for the first time since the survey was conducted in 2015, five industries posted positive results, with retail grocery brands leading the way, improving their combined digital experience score from -4 to 10 over the past 12 months.

Banking (7), media and entertainment (6) and retail consumer (4) also returned positive digital experience scores, the report reveals.

And overall, the proportion of consumers unsatisfied with their digital experiences dropped from 40% to 35%, while the number who are “delighted” has increased from 26% to 31%.

“This highlights that brands have actively improved the digital experiences they provide, but there’s still much room for improvement,” SAP notes.

“The digital performance of brands in Australia has significantly improved since we first launched the study in 2015. When we look at industry-specific scores, retailers are clearly equipping themselves with innovative digital capabilities to prepare themselves for future disruption, such as the impending local launch of Amazon,” says Colin Brookes, president and managing director, SAP Australia and New Zealand.

“Banks also face intense competition and are looking to improve customer experience, increasing engagement and responsiveness as a result.

“While brands have improved overall, this is still very much grounded on getting the basics right along with a greater focus on the emotional attributes that consumers demand. In order to become a digital experience leader, brands should look to new technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning to help integrate and deliver personalised experiences across channels, which delight customers.”

For the first time this year, the SAP research highlighted how brands can improve their digital experience scores by enabling customers to interact across multiple channels.

And the research revealed that brands delivering an omni-channel experience saw a lift in Net Promotor Score] (8% versus -1%) and customer loyalty (43% would remain loyal versus 38%), versus those that offer a single channel.

SAP says that close to half (43%) of consumers use at least five channels to engage with brands, including physical stores, contact centres, mail, websites, live chat, social media and mobile apps.

“With more consumers now expecting omni-channel interactions, brands need to ensure integrated and cohesive consumer experiences or risk losing customers,” SAP cautions.

SAP also notes that the research reveals that while 33% of consumers are delighted with the digital experience in multi-channel environments, compared to 22% in single-channel engagements, the number of unsatisfied consumers demonstrates the complexity brands face managing experiences across multiple channels.

Omni-channel experiences disappointed 29% of consumers compared to just 16% in single channel.

Head of SAP Hybris Australia and New Zealand, Stuart O’Neill, said: “Consumers no longer view each brand interaction in isolation – they want a consistent experience at every touch-point. The best performing brands across industries are looking outside the box and ensuring each consumer interaction is optimised, personalised and, above all, delightful.

“A great example of brands looking critically at the experience they provide and making a change can be seen in the grocery sector, where these brands are under a lot of pressure from digital native competitors looking to take market share. This report is proof that the changes the industry has made over the last year are having a big impact on customer loyalty and NPS.”

“We need to remember consumers are individuals with preferred methods of engagement. Providing an optimised experience across all channels ensures that, no matter where they choose to reach you, they have an experience that meets their expectations.

“This is increasingly important with the number of international brands launching in Australia, many of which are defined by robust omni-channel experiences.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).