Even before the events of 2020, consumers were spending an increasing amount of their daily lives online, working, communing, and transacting digitally. Amidst stay-at-home measures and other mobility-limiting sanctions, consumers are more than ever before looking for the brands and retailers they transact with to meet them on their virtual platforms and tools of choice. This digital lifestyle presents exciting opportunities for businesses to not only connect directly with consumers on their own terms, but also to deliver and amplify the personalization, on-demand service, and media integration that consumers have come to expect.
This research paper explores how brands and retailers are leveraging many of the virtual trends presently capturing consumer attention. It considers ways in which companies are tapping into the far-reaching powers of shoppable content, livestream media, and live or video customer service at various stages of the consumer path to purchase. In turn, this research also identifies key opportunities for brands to facilitate online connections, communities, and experiences, and thus deepen customer relationships and extend brand loyalty.
It is part of the series “Innovating In Crisis,” which dives deep into the innovations driving business strategy, consumer experience and community support during challenging times.
Published May 2020
Retailers are applying machine learning and data aggregation tools to anticipate consumer behaviors and needs based on situational or emotional contexts and provide service or product recommendations. This includes using data generated by mobile apps to create a unified view of a member's shopping behavior and preferences, as well as leveraging RFID and other technologies to detect items that shoppers are interacting with in order to target shoppers in the moment and drive incremental retail sales. It also encompasses taking targeted advertising offline with recognition technologies that allow brands to pinpoint and deliver the most relevant ads to specific connected consumers near physical point-of-purchase.Informed Associates
Despite collecting a variety of insights on individual shoppers from their online shopping browsing behaviors, social commerce usage, purchase history, loyalty membership and location, most companies fail to develop this information into an actionable customer view. New platforms are bringing these details to the forefront of retail interactions, enabling associates to recognize their customers and deliver personalized service. This encompasses the adoption of machine-learning and AI-enabled systems to interpret data and power tailored 1:1 interactions, equipping staff with tech-enabled resources to connect with consumers and provide next-level service. It also includes investing in communication platforms that help employees share real-time information to ensure highly informed customer support.Beta Influencer
As empowered creators and entrepreneurs, Gen Z don’t simply want to be treated as passive viewers and consumers. They have ideas, feedback and advice on how to improve the products, services, content and brands they love and they expect their voices to be heard. As a result, they’re turning to platforms and experiences that enable them to share their POV and engage more deeply in the development process.Digital Drops
Generating excitement around product launches by relying on shopper's anticipation of a set release date to unlock access.