A Clarion Call for Retailers to Deliver More to Digital Customers

As leaders in retail and technology, we must all do a better job of embracing and serving the digital consumer. This is especially true in eCommerce, where major changes continue to affect the space. I was reminded of this in the Shop.org keynote session featuring Kit Yarrow, Consumer Psychologist and professor at Golden Gate University.

We have heard a lot of talk about personalization. The word is being liberally used to describe almost any technology associated with eCommerce right now. However from what I experience as an online consumer, not much true personalization is actually out there. Walking the floor at Shop.org, I was once again taken aback by the use, or more appropriately abuse, of the term.

Leveraging a customer’s name or saying that customers who bought this also bought that is not personalization. As a consumer, my patience is running out. It turns out my sentiments are shared by others.

In her Keynote at Shop.org, Professor Yarrow presented an overview of the new digital consumer and what they expect from brands. Her outline incredibly well informed. It also served as a clarion call to retailers: companies that fully meet the needs and expectations of the new digital consumer will be rewarded. Those that continue to ignore them will fail.

Professor Yarrow showed the audience interview clips of individual buyers candidly sharing their evolving feelings towards eCommerce. I noted three revealing trends:

  • Wired brains: The digital consumer has a shorter attention span
  • Individualistic behavior: They don’t want to just be part of the crowd or follow the next big fashion trend
  • Emotional intensity: They feel betrayed and played when poorly targeted by brands 

 

It was also interesting for me to learn that this new digital consumer has more confidence in their own research (typically online), than what a sales associate at a store has to say.

Today’s consumer loves to “score” a cherished product when shopping and tell the tale to friends. However, they get very frustrated when they get no value after sharing information about themselves, or even worse – a ham fisted response.

In my opinion, consumer frustration is an opportunity for retailers to stand out in the crowd by getting it right. By truly mastering one-to-one digital experiences, we have the chance to delight consumers, earn their trust, and simplify a part of their lives.

Retailers who crack the code will be rewarded for their efforts. Expect more purchases, greater lifetime value and in the most successful cases, brand advocacy in return for embracing and serving the digital consumer.

Cameron Conaway
Cameron Conaway

Cameron is the Director of Content at Reflektion. His work as a journalist and content marketer has appeared in Forbes, Newsweek, and The Guardian, among other outlets. Connect with him here on LinkedIn and on Twitter @CameronConaway.