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Four Customer Brand Expectations that Retailers Must Know And a Few Tips for Exceeding Them
23rd October 2017

We already know that we’re living in a digital era, where information about a product, brand or experience can be summoned at a moment’s notice. This means that retailers have to be able to adapt to increasing customer expectations. Keep reading to learn more about four of the biggest things that customers have come to expect from brands.

With each passing year, customers are becoming increasingly complex and well-informed, meaning that their expectations are constantly evolving and changing to keep pace with a complex and growing digital landscape. What this means for brands is that while they do have the opportunity to get in front of more potential customers in the same (or less) time, they also have to contend with the fact that all of their competitors have the same opportunities – which can lead to a lot of ‘noise’.

Subsequently, consumers have gotten savvy and gotten better at blocking out what isn’t attractive enough to keep their attention (imagine if we responded to every single ad or piece of content that came our way). In other words, cutting through all of the noise and creating an effective marketing strategy starts with a getting a deeper understanding of what exactly customers have come to expect from brands – on a digital and an in-store basis.

Understanding Customer Expectations

Today we’re looking at four of the major expectations that customers have for brands, plus some practical ‘quick tips’ to help you when you’re planning your strategy.

  • Less is More: This is true when it comes to advertising or product packaging. Consumers don’t want to be inundated with millions of push notifications causing bottlenecks in their devices. This is also true when it comes to the actual product and everything related to it. We live in a world where space (mental and physical) is at a premium, so overloading your product, packaging, or marketing campaign with lots of ‘stuff’ won’t get you the response you’re looking for.
    • Tip: Don’t overuse technology. Make your digital content accessible, shareable from whatever device it lands on, and be sure that it isn’t too ‘heavy’ (because, really, who wants to eat up all their data with advertisements?).
  • Honesty: Lying about your product or practices has never been OK, but with the wealth of information and ease in connectivity, your odds of getting caught have never been higher. If you make a mistake, own it. No brand (or customer) is perfect and by accepting and embracing any errors you’ve made, you not only inject your brand with authenticity, but you also help to show your customers that there are people behind your brand.
    • Tip: If things don’t go quite as planned, don’t panic, deny it, or ignore it. Embrace your mistakes, make any necessary amends, and learn for the next time (remember Wendy’s this summer?).
  • Human Connections: Study after study has demonstrated the importance of ‘weak tie’ interactions (those between casual acquaintances) for the human psyche and how they can improve overall happiness and feelings of wellbeing[1]. Aside from these positive effects, if you can give your customer a better and more connected buying experience, even if they ultimately don’t buy your product, they will still remember how you made them feel and perhaps even become an advocate for your brand.
    • Tip: Connection comes from within. Encourage your team members to spend time and work with colleagues in departments that they may not generally come into contact with. Not only does this improve morale, but it can lead to all sorts of spontaneous collaboration and ideas.
  • Experience: The era of buying tons of ‘stuff’ is starting to slip away and in its place you’ll find experiences. However, for retailers this is far from a death sentence, it just means that it’s time to take your products and to create experiences to accompany them – be it before, during, or after the sale.
    • Tip: Create an online presence that encourages your audience to interact. If by purchasing an item from your store they then have the chance to join loyalty programs, share their photos on your social channels or otherwise increase their engagement, you’ll not only reap the benefits in your branding, but your customers will be much happier to buy (and interact) with you.

What this means is that customers aren’t in search of the perfect product, but instead, they’re in search of the product, plus the context and experience surrounding it. Sarah Quinlan from MasterCard’s market insights group further supported this by expressing that consumers increasingly want to use their money to enhance their lives[2] – which your in-store and online processes can either help or hinder. In other words, it’s not enough to just sell a product, you need to be there to make the process into an experience. By working to create such a presence, you’re helping set the stage for a long and human relationship with your audience.

The takeaway from all this? If you give your customers the experience they want, not the experience that you want them to have, you’re much more likely to create long time customers and vocal advocates of your brand.

Ready to get started exceeding customer expectations but don’t really know where to begin? Write to us at marketing@levtechconsulting.com for your free consultation.

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