Perspectives

The future consumer

Rising expectations and emerging opportunities

Innovations in social media, mobile technology and advanced data analytics have made consumers more savvy and demanding than ever before.

By Jennifer Lee

Think of the last item you purchased. Did you buy it online after browsing the retailer’s store? Or use a coupon that was sent to your mobile device recognizing you as a valued customer? Perhaps a friend told you about it, or you read a positive review on a social community site while you were researching it online. Were you drawn to the product after hearing about the company’s positive environmental and community practices?

The way we shop has changed dramatically. Driven by innovations around social media, mobile technology and advanced data analytics combined with evolving markets, consumers are more digitally savvy and demanding than ever.

No industry is immune and organizations are responding by interacting with customers in new ways. Big Data helps them take a detailed look at their customers. It allows them to micro-target messages and offers with extraordinary precision. It’s also giving way to innovation: companies are even collaborating with customers to develop new products.

These changes represent profound opportunities for retailers. But there are risks. Privacy is on everyone’s mind and retailers are pushing the envelope. Retailers and service providers are also challenged by the sea of customer data they’re swimming in, struggling to surface the information that matters. Where once customers were happy belonging to the masses when it came to advertising and special deals, today’s consumers demand responsive, engaging and customized service that is becoming increasingly more difficult to manage.

It won’t be easy to separate yourself from the pack and there certainly is no secret sauce, but we’ve identified some guideposts and milestones to help you on your journey to win the new connected consumer:

The customer experience is paramount

Organizations that can provide customers with the service they expect, when they expect it are on the right track. The shopping preferences and habits of consumers continue to evolve, so the expectations and experiences you offer must evolve too. Consistent and compelling experiences are expected.

Embrace innovation

Invite your customers inside. Ask them to help. What do they want? There is no better way to understand your customers and develop the products they’re looking for than to engage with them.

Exploit the wealth of customer data

We have access to more information than ever before, but it’s easy to get lost in the data. The key is to identify the right information to drive finely targeted and highly effective marketing – that is both ethical and transparent.

Redefine ‘social’ within the context of your organization

Engage with your customers. Understand how they feel about your social and environmental footprint to get a clearer picture of how your brand and bottom line are affected by the way you do business. Build upon your existing capabilities and strive to enhance customer loyalty by rethinking the traditional way you do business.

Go mobile

More and more consumers – especially younger generations – engage with brands on their mobile devices.

Tablet and cell phone friendly content is no longer a “nice to have” – it’s a must.

Explore the capabilities and opportunities of new technologies

Forget about waiting for the future; it’s here. Customized service offerings and sales incentives tailored to individuals in real time is no longer science fiction.

Download Consumer focused growth: Rising expectations and emerging opportunities to learn more about how social media, mobile technology and advanced data analytics are transforming customer behaviour, and what it means to you. We explore eight of the key trends impacting today’s consumer and shaping the consumer of the future.

Jennifer Lee leads Deloitte’s Omnichannel Consumer Service Line. She is also one of the leaders of the Performance Improvement Advisory practice.

Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn

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