Whether your business encountered success or challenges in 2019, or a combination of both, it’s a new year, which means you have a good reason to wipe the slate clean, rediscover your focus, and make 2020 the best year yet for your company. I find it critical to reflect on the previous year and take key learnings with you into the next year. Here are 2 key direct-to-consumer trends that have gained momentum and influence in 2019, and will help your company continue to thrive and succeed in 2020.
Your Customer Experience
Consumers are no longer basing loyalty on things such as price, but instead, are valuing their experience, and using that to decide which product to purchase. According to PwC, 86% of buyers will pay more for a great customer experience. Consumers are craving personalized and tailored solutions in their shopping experience and they’re coming to expect a customized way of buying what they need (or want).
So, how do you change the experience? Creating an enhanced customer experience starts with observation. Pay attention to behaviors, intent, habits, and preferences, and leverage your findings to improve your customer’s buying journey. Understanding your audience will allow you to develop a more relevant and engaging experience that can create a competitive edge, expand brand loyalty, and increase revenue.
Use Customer Feedback
A systematic and efficient approach to customer feedback is invaluable, but don’t forget about your employees! The individuals who answer the phones and review your online marketing metrics on a daily basis are the eyes and ears of your business. The more feedback that you can collect from diverse sources, the more information you’ll have to improve your customer’s experience and ultimately, lead your business to growth. Invest in a user experience study in 2020.
Give Consumers Choice
Once you take the time to observe and gather feedback, now it’s time to take action. One thing that you might find is that consumers are demanding options. For example, they are coming to expect customer service in a way that is most convenient for them. Whether it’s a face-to-face interaction, phone call, email, text, social media message, live chat, or self-service, your consumers expect an omni-channel service experience. A PwC report found that the number of companies investing in the omni-channel experience has increased from 20% to more than 80%.
No matter what your feedback says, improving the customer experience, in the ways that they’re asking, is a no-brainer. A Walker study, among others, has found that by the end of 2020, “customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.” While transformation of the customer experience can be challenging and require resources, technology, and/or investment, it is so important to your year, that it can’t be overlooked. Long receipts with irrelevant coupons are continually being replaced with strategically created offers delivered digitally through the customer’s preferred method. What is the best way to engage with your consumer? How do they want to be notified of offers? What will they logically want to purchase next? How do they want to interact with your brand?
Your Social Media Presence
Social media has changed the way we interact with friends, family members, and companies! Whether you’re in the early stages of growth or have an established business, social media plays, and will continue to play, a vital role in customer acquisition. According to research from Yotpo, when DTC brands worldwide were asked about their 3 leading sources of customer acquisition, social media was #1, cited by 61% of brands, with SEO coming in at 51%. Whether you like it or not, social media is here to stay and becoming more important each day.
90.4% of Millennials, 77.5% of Generation X, and 48.2% of Baby Boomers are active social media users.1 Who is your audience? Whether you appeal to a wide variety of clients, or have a very specific niche, your content needs to be consistent. Your followers will come to expect a certain voice, a specific type of information, and regular posting. You will lose followers if you take months off from posting or the content that you post is not relevant or what they expect to come from your brand.
Let Them Know You’re Human
Who is the person behind the brand? Consumers want to go deeper than the mission statement, company history, and services offered. They are craving the human component and they want to see who the people are behind the products and services. Share personal stories, respond to comments on your platforms, and interact with your consumers in a way that brings a human component to your social media. It’s all about building a connection and fostering a relationship with your consumers, and they’re looking to social media to facilitate those interactions.
Think of your Audience
When you are brainstorming topic ideas or crafting a content strategy, consider what your consumers want to hear rather than what you want to say. Take an empathetic approach and put yourself in your consumers’ shoes. What information do they need to know? What do they want to hear from you? Changing your perspective and altering the way that you create your content will allow your social media presence to not only please your consumers, but produce better results when it comes to customer acquisition and retention.
Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have altered how consumers communicate with and view their favorite brands, whether they’re looking for reviews and recommendations, or simply want to evaluate credibility. 71% of consumers who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are likely to recommend the brand to their friends and family.4 When a business does not have a presence on social media, or is lacking in one way or another, it can actually harm the perception of the company. Social media is not just a trend anymore. It has become a staple of your business that affects your brand’s reputation and your customer’s experience.
The 2 key direct-to-consumer trends of 2020, customer experience and social media, are undeniably related. Social media is a part of your customer’s experience and if your customer experience isn’t up to par, you will probably hear about it on social media. If you’re not working on your customer experience or improving your social media presence, you are missing out on two critical trends for growth in 2020. Start the new year off right and make this year your best yet.
- DEG Isobar analysis
- LYFE Marketing