Understanding Evolving Shopper Expectations

Understanding Evolving Shopper Expectations

Today’s shoppers prioritize exceptional customer experience. They’re willing to provide their data to companies but expect a higher quality experience in return. For retailers and their brands, this means delivering on the promise of personalization, expert service, always-available inventory and seamless cross-channel shopping. By enabling differentiated shopping journeys, customers can also feel that their relationships with brand and retailers is authentic.

Expect Personalization at Every Stage

  • 70% of consumers say a company’s understanding of their individual needs influences their loyalty, and 69% say the same of personalized customer care.
  • 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands who recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.
  • 51% of consumers feel it is important to get a personalized experience across all digital channels within a brand.

Creating long lasting relationships

Microsoft continually delivers ongoing research projects to improve marketing skills for our community of partners. They allow us to identify best practices that will help marketers make smarter choices and cultivate ROI.

Microsoft worked with the International Data Corporation (IDC) to create the e-book, Next-Gen Partner Marketing: How to Meet Higher Customer Expectations and Win Their Trust. In it, we explore how marketers are using changing customer expectations to create longer lasting, more profitable relationships.

Hierarchy of Customer Expectations

A big challenge today is customer-centricity. Customers have higher and more personal expectations for brands and impressing them requires a shift away from volume and towards value. IDC’s Hierarchy of Customer Expectations helps marketers rethink their approach to customer relationships with five levels of customer needs.

  1. Consent: “Give me a reason to tell you about myself.” Build and maintain trusted relationships with transparent data stewardship.
  2. Personalization: “Communicate on my terms.” Make every interaction relevant to each customer.
  3. Recommended actions: “Anticipate my needs.” Guide customers through a journey of progressive learning.
  4. Continuity of service: “Know my whole relationship with you.” Connect interactions across customer-facing functions.
  5. Mentor marketing: “Improve my personal/professional life.” Invest in the future challenges, decisions, and life/career path of everyone.

Customer data ownership

Thinking about marketing in terms of customer expectations means turning data ownership and ethics into a human matter.

This year, the marketing industry crossed a threshold. Customers want transparency in the business relationship and consent is now a key part of the marketing process. Opt-in used to be a moment for marketers to add a name to their database until the recipient opted-out. Instead of thinking about opt-in as a singular moment of permission, modern marketers are thinking of consent as a continuous process in which increasingly valuable content is used to get increasingly valuable information.

Customer strategies

The study contains dozens of examples of how innovative Microsoft partners are using these new ideas to go to market. Here are three strategies to help you differentiate your brand:

To please your customers, your brand should gradually reorient around their experiences and expectations. Over time, they’ll start preferring you as their source of information and destination for their hard-earned money.