Study: 63% Of Australian Consumers Return To Brands That Treat Them As An Individual

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New research from OpenText reveals the extent to which the pandemic has changed customers’ expectations of brands, and the increasingly important role of a streamlined digital experience post-COVID.

The new data – from a survey of 1,000 Australian respondents – reveals that 63 per cent of Australian consumers are more likely to buy again from brands that treat them like an individual, rather than the same as any other customer. This demand for brands to engage with customers as an individual is mirrored across Asia – in India (77 per cent) and Singapore (71 per cent), while Japan is less (42 per cent).

Half (48 per cent) of Australian consumers only buy from brands that make them feel they understand their preferences, such as communicating with them through their favourite channels or providing tailored deals.

Customer experience is king

More than half (56 per cent) of Australian consumers would be put off buying again from a brand due to a bad experience. In fact, 55 per cent do not believe there is such thing as a ‘customer for life’ anymore in 2021, suggesting that brands cannot rely on customer loyalty stretching far enough to recover from bad experiences.

Creating a frictionless experience for customers is key to providing a good experience. When buying products or services online, more than two-thirds (68 per cent) of Australian consumers say that an easy search is very important to them. Furthermore, half (49 per cent) prefer to shop with brands that auto-fill and remember their details for next time. There is, however, pressure on brands to store that data correctly: six in ten (60 per cent) would even be willing to pay more to do business with a brand that is committed to protecting their personal data.

“COVID-19 has forced many organisations to engage with customers in new ways and emphasise digital communication over more traditional methods,” said Albert Nel, vice president APAC at OpenText. “The pandemic has driven a drastic change in the market and customer expectations. Today, customers demand more from brands, more communication channels, more personalisation, more options and a more seamless and integrated digital experience across channels. In order for organisations to not only attract new customers, but retain existing ones, it’s imperative they deliver rich, ultra-personalised experiences on customers’ preferred channels.”

The importance of digital in a post-COVID world

For 54 per cent of Australian consumers, the pandemic has changed their expectations of what a brand’s digital offering should be. Almost a quarter (22 per cent) won’t use brands if their experience isn’t excellent when buying online.

Four in ten (43 per cent) are now more comfortable with digital only businesses as a result of the pandemic. For half of (48 per cent) Australian consumers, a personalised digital experience is now vital to them if they are to come back to a brand time and time again.

The research also reveals consumer perspectives on which organisations have risen to the challenge of providing an optimal experience during the turbulence of the last year. Four in ten (40 per cent) say bigger established brands have been able to offer a smoother digital experience than smaller ones during the pandemic.

“Creating a positive customer experience is all about removing friction and increasing relevance: the easier something is to do and the more relevant it is to each customer, the better the experience,” said Guy Hellier, vice president, product management at OpenText.

“Today, customers expect their journey, from researching products to tracking orders, to transition seamlessly from one digital platform to another while retaining a consistent personalised feel – delivered across any device, at any time. For brands, this means investing in a digital experience platform which enables them to integrate data, information, and assets seamlessly across different environments. Without this in place, brands will struggle to create and deliver the cohesive and personalised experiences needed to win and retain customers.”

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