Consumer Brand Engagement
The gap between consumer expectations and brand delivery is especially striking when looking at preference vs. current engagement.
There is a clear disparity between what people’s favourite brands are doing to interact with them and what they like/ would like them to do. Consumers want feedback, reward and attention for engaging with brands.
Currently the most common way for brands to interact with customers is to provoke a response or prompt engagement rather than react to or to proactively reward or respond to them; around 4 in 10 consumers affirm that their favourite brand/shop/site asks them to write reviews and asks them for feedback on service.
While not insignificant proportions of consumers are indeed willing to give such feedback to brands – 39% have given feedback to their favourite retailer, 42% have written a review for a product/item for them.
How Can Brands Empower Consumers?
There is a palpable appetite for consumer brand engagement. Consumers would like brands to open up into a genuine two-way dialogue with them, and for brands to engage and respond to proactive comments they willingly offer.
Eleven percent of respondents say that their favourite brand follows them back on social media; however, 24% like this. Almost 1 in 4 would like to be asked to contribute ideas on how the brand could improve. Brands can empower customers through co-creation innovation by allowing them to feel that they can have a tangible impact on their favourite retailers.
The biggest gap between how brands are engaging and what consumers would like is in brands individually rewarding and surprising through special gifts.
Just 11% receive surprises/free gifts from their favourite retailer, but almost half of the sample like/would like this. There is real opportunity for brands to tap into this latent demand for pockets of spontaneous reward and engage in consumer brand engagement.
Getting this right would seem to be the pinnacle of contemporary marketing, the epitome of the principle of right message, right time, and right place
Chart 7 | Thinking about your favourite brand/shop/site, which of the following do they do to try to interact with you? What do you like them doing?
What people are willing to receive from brands
When asked more generally about what they would like to receive from brands either before or after a purchase, consumers show a willingness to receive tailored offers that are focused on them. This reinforces the need for consumer brand engagement to be more individualised and built on careful use of customer data.
68% are interested in receiving exclusive access to items/deals before buying a product
67% are interested in receiving time-sensitive discounts before buying a product
63% are interested in receiving offers tailored to what they had bought after a purchase
53% are interested in receiving recommendations tailored to what they like or have bought before – rising to 68% among Gen Y (consumers born between 1980 – 2000)
Such appetite for tailored and targeted offers suggests brands can engage with customers most effectively when they use purchase cycle or purchase history to position messaging and offers as uniquely relevant to customers.
Lastly loyalty rewards/schemes were what 77% of consumers across age and income breaks showed interest in receiving after buying a product, of which 40% showed strong interest. A brand-consumer interaction that harbours a palpable return for consumers will be well received due to their sense of entitlement to rewards.
The criteria for online and offline
As well as asking consumers about their preferred engagement, we also sought to understand what creates an engaging shopping experience both online and in-store. Brands that can focus on optimising purchasing experiences will ultimately create better customer experiences and ultimately stronger consumer and brand engagement.
But how can brands achieve this?
When asked which factors make for a good experience online, consumers’ stated their preference for brands to focus on their functional needs. Online these are prioritised as low prices, quality deals, convenience and efficiency of processes.
Perhaps unsurprisingly when shopping in-store being able to touch and feel the product is also important to consumers, as well as the knowledge and friendliness of staff.
Through personalisation and careful use of customer data, brands can create more engaging shopping experiences that focus on key needs: convenience, low prices and ease.
Other data-driven ways of delivering best-practice customer experience include highlighting the most relevant search results, alerts for price drops for products people want, more precise delivery options, etc. Indeed many consumers, especially those in younger age groups, show keen interest in highly personalised offers from brands:
72% are interested in receiving reminders about a delivery status after buying a product
62% are interested in receiving reminders of deals/offers I might be interested in based on what I have bought from them before
53% are interested in using/continuing to use a price alert service that alerts when items they like reduce in price
It is also safe to assume that consumers value consistency across the online and offline/in-store experiences, including how experiences are tailored to them individually.
Marketers need to understand what the consumer values most in each area but also must be able to provide a smooth and consistent experience across channels.
4 Key Customer Engagement Best Practices
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