The Futurum Research study, Experience 2030 Pulse Report: The Acceleration of Digital Engagement, Personalization and Trust, found significant pandemic-induced shifts in consumer behaviour and opinions including changes in loyalty drivers and acceptance of immersive tech.
Loyalty drivers have changed
In 2019, the top drivers of customer loyalty reported by consumers were low cost, quality products and same-day delivery. 2020 has heralded in a whole new set of concerns for consumers, and this is reflected in new loyalty drivers.
The top loyalty drivers today
- Personal safety – ensuring social/physical distancing in a facility: 65%.
- Scheduling needs – delivery within a few days: 57%.
- Relevant suggestions – special recommendations that meet a consumer’s current needs: 56%.
- Human touch – having a live person, rather than a bot, available to talk: 54%.
“83% are rethinking what it means to deliver superior customer experiences moving forward.”
Immersive tech acceptance
Consumers expressed acceptance of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) becoming part of the consumer process over the next decade, but that has been greatly accelerated in 2020.
- Drones – last year 23% of consumers expected delivery by drone or autonomous vehicle in the coming year; now 60% expect it by 2022.
- Smart assistants – last year 65% of consumers expected to use them by 2025, but now 70% plan to use them by 2022
- Chatbots – last year 36% of consumers expected to use chatbots to have questions answered or receive customer support about a brand, products or services. Now 54% want a live person, and not a bot, available to talk to them.
- AR and VR – 69% of consumers surveyed expect to use AR and VR to sample products in 2021. 63% of consumers are willing to use AR and VR to visit remote locations, up from 56% in the previous survey.
- Telemedicine – 67% of consumers are open to telemedicine.
Top immersive tech areas that brands are prioritizing
- Voice-based AI assistants for sales and marketing.
- Holographics for customer support or instruction.
- Voice-based AI assistants embedded in products or services.
- AR and VR for customer instruction and support.
Wilson Raj, global director of Customer Intelligence at SAS, said the pandemic has put the accelerator on immersive CX and AI-fuelled automation investments.
“Brands have chopped timeframes in many of the areas identified in Experience 2030.”
The disruption is real
Six out of 10 brands report that they’re unable to deliver their regular products to their customers. 28% of brands have been unable to adjust and adapt and are riding things out until “normal” returns
Overcoming these challenges, and meeting increasingly tech-infused consumer expectations, requires an agile mindset, the right technology solutions. Brands have had to accelerate tech development and deployment in many more areas than immersive tech as consumers seek greater digitization to ensure safety and convenience.
Brands have accelerated development and deployment in the following areas:
- 66% – online consumers tracking systems for behaviour and habits.
- 64% – mobile apps for customer engagement.
- 68% – shared customer records for cross-departmental use.
- 64% – real-time product or inventory awareness systems.
In addition, more than half of all brands surveyed reported they have accelerated plans and initiatives involving alternative payment apps, offline consumer intelligence (behavioural tracking), AI and predictive analytics, automated subscription or delivery plans for consumers, chatbots, 5G, encrypted communications and/or distributed ledgers (blockchains).