Once every couple of months at ‘Your Favourite Story’, we gather together for an interactive discussion and a dose of inspiration. From designers and developers to directors, we look at trends about the digital world, and then re-evaluate the best solutions for our clients, so that we can provide the most innovative ideas, at the best possible speed and value. It’s easy to get lost in everyday routines of emails, presentations and client calls, but at ‘Your Favourite Story’ we make sure we stay on top of the trends, so we can stay at the top of the rankings.
TrenDose is a deep-dive session on one key trend – one session, one topic. This month, we focused on the shopping journey of the future: we analysed the current landscape; the consumer of 2018; the trends that no ones talking about yet, thinking about what this means for us as a digital agency and the wider creative industry.
How has the technology storm redefined the customer experience?
In 2018 the consumer journey has never been more complex. Technology has changed the way we communicate, the way we consume entertainment and ultimately the way we buy things. We are always connected, living through our phones. This means that we can shop anywhere and everywhere, from the bus stop in the morning to our favourite bar at the end of the day.
The customer experience has drastically changed over the past 10 years. Since Amazon revolutionised the way we shop, it’s been sure to adapt to customer needs, meaning it consistently gives it’s customers the best experience possible. Each time an e-commerce giant like this sets a standard, customer expectations rise a little bit more. However, consumer feedback is an opportunity for brands to redefine themselves, and focus on what really matters to people
Who is the modern consumer and how does it affect brands?
In 2018, time is the scarcest resource for modern consumers, and has quite literally never been more valuable – just take a look at Nike’s new slogan, ‘Time is Precious’. This value most likely stems from the fact that our attention spans are now no more than 8 seconds (incidentally less than a goldfish.)
This pursuit of time has a massive impact on our current world, from consumer behaviour to business strategies. This loss of focus means that consumers, most of the time, are looking for the quickest option when it comes to buying things. With higher expectations, they expect to find a product fast. Same-day delivery is not luxury anymore; it’s an expectation. An online ordering process that takes more than five minutes is unacceptable, and no one has time to linger in such a fast moving world.
Expectations are even higher from Gen Z, who are disrupting the shopping experience and will account for 20% of working adults by 2020. Thanks to digital, consumers are more powerful than ever, and they can leave reviews anywhere. It may therefore seem like brands are losing control to those who buy from them, but the feedback culture also means that brands have a first hand understanding of what consumers really think and feel
But what does that mean for brands?
- Derek Sivers, founder of CD baby, says “Customer service is the new marketing” which goes hand in hand with the fact that user experience is becoming increasingly the most important part of a journey
- Brands need to go where consumers spend most of their time: Social media. People are likely to abandon a website that they don’t find compelling and easy to use, but will invest time easily in their Instagram feed. This could be the beginning of Social commerce.
- Finally, even in this digital-first world, consumers still want to have a physical experience where they can have a taste of the brand. Online brands such as Amazon or Google are going ‘clicks to bricks’ to provide a unified, seamless experience between digital and stores – in this day an age its not about online or offline – its about a medium between the two, or for a more familiar term, ‘phygital.’
Moore’s law describes how digital electronic growth and innovations have a significant impact on marketing in the 21st century. Technology is developing so fast that the digital space needs constant change and improvements. Everything will move and change faster in the next few years and brands will continue to find ways to make the consumer journey shorter.
Shoppers will embrace the automation of their buying experience: from browsing, to purchasing to delivery, everything will be automated. Your fridge will do the food shopping for you and your wardrobe will recommend you the best outfit of the day, just because they will know your habits and needs more than anyone else.
In addition to this, could websites be losing their value? Websites are there to convince online visitors that the business they represent is credible, but in a world where consumers are relying on peer advice more and more, is a website all as reliable as it once was? Additionally, shopping could be turning into ‘conversational commerce’ where it’s easier to buy items. Here, we see the rise of voice search. Ideally, we will see brands using the Shazam model ‘discover and shop seamlessly’, so consumers can buy what they see immediately wherever they have image recognition. In a nutshell, the shopping journey of the future will be seamless, hyper-personalised and quicker than ever.
What does it mean for us?
- We can’t just build websites anymore – we have to consider the whole digital ecosystem.
- We can’t ignore physical stores and we need to think about ways to create a unified experience through phygital spaces.
- Last but not least, we should never forget to put ourselves into our consumer’s shoes, and think about ways to make their life simpler. At Your Favourite Story, we always dare to be innovative.