Dotdigital has released a new report to help companies bridge the gap between what their customers expect of them and what they experience in reality.
‘The future of cross-channel marketing' report covers trends and insights across four main areas, including consumer psychology, brand awareness, the decision buying process and customer loyalty.
Additionally, Dotdigital's report looks at how the adoption of different marketing channels and tools has changed over time, intending to highlight gaps between consumer expectations and experiences.
Dotdigital says this provides crucial strategies to assist retailers in future-proofing their businesses while navigating the unpredictable landscape caused by the pandemic.
The report examines critical data points relating to the Australian shopper's customer journey, including:
- Preferred marketing channels for communications
- Factors contributing to unsubscribe rates and cart abandonment
- Expectations around personalisation in marketing communications compared to reality
- Importance of brand values
- The significance of loyalty and how shoppers like to be rewarded for it
Dotdigital's report also revealed that despite the broad range of channels and tools at their disposal, email still beats social media and SMS as the most effective communication channel to cater to tailor-made experiences.
69% of survey respondents believe email is the most effective marketing channel shaping customers' purchase decisions, but the results also show that 70% of people say they are likely to unsubscribe if they get too many emails.
Social media marketing and SMS follow closely behind email as influencing purchasing decisions.
Dotdigital believes that brands need to understand precisely how their audiences want to be marketed. While the importance of email should be taken seriously, brands should still consider alternative channels to reach more consumers.
Speaking to why consumers abandon their cart, Dotdigital says its findings reveal the cost of shipping to be the main culprit, with 57% of respondents saying higher shipping costs that were not visible from the outset was their main reason for abandoning their order.
Dotdigital says communication and transparency are key, and that retailers need to ensure that not only is their cost of shipping reasonable and as expected by shoppers but that it is clearly visible.
According to the report, Australian shoppers currently feel that their brand experiences lack personalisation, with significant room for improvement.
Over 50% of respondents say their marketing communications are somewhat personalised, and one-third think their emails are completely lacking in personalisation.
“Customer satisfaction is paramount, and there is no doubt that consumers with increased brand engagement reflect higher brand loyalty, Dotdigital APAC head of marketing Aparna Gray says.
“Therefore, brands need to learn and understand the consumer psychology behind shopping behaviour and brand loyalty to create a more balanced approach to their marketing communications.
Furthermore, Dotdigital says more in-person assistance through live chat features on the retailer's website would not go amiss for shoppers.
Moreover, 56% of those surveyed say they use it to ask for advice, which the company says makes it an essential tool in the purchase and conversion process, and something retailers need to consider.
The report's findings also emphasise brand values, with Dotdigital saying these play a vital role for customers during a purchasing decision.
However, Dotdigital notes that more than two-thirds of Australian shoppers think brands are not doing enough to showcase what they stand for, and 30% of consumers surveyed consider a brand's stance on sustainability when making a purchase decision.
“Sustainability is more than just a buzzword and shoppers increasingly make purchase decisions based on the positive social, economic, and environmental impact of a brand. This shift in consumer behavior should drive marketers to look at the sustainability of their own practices,” Aparna says.
“At Dotdigital, we take our sustainability efforts very seriously and are proud to be the first carbon-neutral, ISO 14001 certified marketing automation platform in the world.
Loyalty programs can also be an effective way for brands to build stronger and lifelong relationships and customers and, as a result, consumers who will advocate for their brand.
Dotdigital says results show that 94% of shoppers want rewards or discounts for their loyalty, which the company says is evidence that a reciprocal relationship is valued, and brands should keep that in consideration when launching a loyalty program.
72% of consumers say that reviews are crucial to their decision-making when purchasing products or engaging with brands.
Dotdigital notes that word-of-mouth was the second most important factor in the decision to purchase, with 79% of those surveyed likely to recommend a preferred brand to others.
The company says that ensuring overall positive customer experiences is not about the individual experience of a single customer but rather the ripple effect of customers telling their friends, family, and co-workers.
Furthermore, if brands do not encourage product or service reviews, Dotdigital says now is the time to rethink that strategy and incorporate product reviews into the marketing mix.
“With changing dynamics, a highly competitive market and savvy customers, retailers must effectively harness all channels and revisit their marketing strategy to strengthen communications,” Aparna says.
“We've produced a report to get our finger on the pulse of Australian consumer purchasing habits, to ensure we are helping our clients deliver the ultimate customer experience, delivering the right message through the right channel, at the right time and to the right person.