The future will be digital, but we must make it truly experiential: Prasad Shejale
Marketers will need to think, design and implement truly Omnichannel consumer experience writes Prasad Shejale, Founder & CEO, Logicserve Digital.
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We, as consumers, have changed a lot of changes over the last 3-4 months. So, it's imperative that we, as marketers, also need to change the way we understand and cater to consumers’ needs. COVID-19 has drastically changed consumer behavior. We always knew that digital touchpoint(s) were prominent in the consumer journey in the case of many industries and products. Still, the level of importance has become more evident and essential. COVID-19 accentuated the trend of digital being the most critical touchpoint since it satisfies the three most important characteristics of the buying process i.e. Convenience, Safety and Value. We also saw choice taking a back seat since we were just happy to get the basic necessities satisfied first.
‘Contactless and Safe’ are very important
The importance of "Contactless and Safe" is getting engraved in our minds. This proposition of "Contactless and Safe" is no longer ‘nice-to-have’ but a ‘must-have’ nowadays while the consumer is traversing through the purchase journey. No wonder many brands had to change their business models or buying processes to cater to the evolved consumer's needs. Digital has in-build capabilities to provide that experience of convenience, safety and value, and organisations are forced to have digital at the center stage on its transformation initiatives.
Anticipate Queries and Dilemmas and Provide Innovative formats to resolve Queries
We went through a perfect VUCA, and that made us change some of the deeply engraved behaviors. As per a McKinsey study, 60% of global consumers have changed shopping behavior, many of them for convenience and value. That is where consumers tried to research more on digital channels while they were under the lockdown. Socially distanced and deprived of social interaction, consumers looked for touchpoints where they can resolve most of their queries without any other human help or interaction. Brands had to anticipate, learn consumer dilemmas and frictions, and provide interfaces to address the queries, not just by adding extra FAQs but also focus on creating experiences like videos, interactive tools, etc. This helped consumers move from the ‘Ask’ to the ‘Act’ phase smoother.
Seamless Omnichannel Experience
Though the non-essential basket for many became bigger, and consumers either delayed the purchases or downgraded the preferences, the steady trend of more interaction with the brand on the digital channel is potent.
Work, Workplace and Workforce are changing. On this journey, humans have learned to collaborate more and more using technology. It has helped accentuate the faith in digital interactions. The No-Choice situation forced a quick adaptation of many communication technologies that were earlier present but not used extensively by all. In the process, it helped us understand the benefits and importance of digital touchpoints. Even in the post-COVID world, the users will carry the trust and reliance on digital touchpoints. The journey to purchase and beyond will be much more omnichannel, and the consumer will like it to be seamless. Marketers will need to think, design and implement a truly Omnichannel consumer experience.
Personalisation for digital transformation
Over the next few months, herd immunity will set in, the vaccine will get invented, and the magic drug will be found. But the behaviors adopted during this period will be carried forward in the Post-COVID world too. These behaviors may not be at the same level, but with every step, change will set in. Social distancing and safety will be at the back of our mind for many months to come, and thus contactless and digital will be used more and more. The COVID scenario has taught more patience; it also means that consumers may wait longer to get a delivery of the digitally ordered product for convenience and value.
These changes will trigger many digital transformation use cases. The consumer brands need to understand their customers beyond normal cohorts and be more granular, knowing as much data as possible about the consumer. The personalisation not just from the product or service perspective but the whole experience to discover and buy will be at the center of digital transformation.
As a marketer, we have to understand the consumer's altered behavior and ask ourselves how we can help them with a well-knitted digital touchpoint and overall journey. The consumer will keep on changing, and thus they need to be regularly understood by tracking every interaction of them, preferably even offline. There will be a need to connect and enhance experiences with seamless technology, which should eventually help consumers too.
The future will be digital, but we must make it truly experiential. Mimicking the offline world to digital will not suffice since digital has its parameters, which can be helpful to understand, analyse and activate personalisation for the consumer.
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