Global Businesses Seek To Match, Exceed Consumers' DX Expectations In '22

Despite brands’ desire to deliver adaptive digital experiences (DX), they still fall short of consumers’ rising expectations, a new global study has found.

Optimizely, a DX platform provider, surveyed 1,177 executives across e-commerce, marketing and IT functions and 5,000 consumers in the U.S., UK, Germany, Australia and Sweden.

We spoke with Kirsten Allegri Williams, chief marketing officer of Optimizely, about the study and what brands can do to up their game.
Inside Performance: A majority say brands need to do a better job of adapting to meet their needs. What exactly do consumers want brands to adapt to meet which needs?
Kirsten Allegri Williams: With COVID-19’s impact on every facet of consumers’ lives, they now expect seamless digital experiences, adaptability from every brand, precise personalization and accurate, timely acknowledgement of industry trends and societal issues.



Consumers now require and rely on specific differentiators to be visible so they can easily determine which brand they will invest in moving forward.

They need personalized content based on their interests, easy-to-navigate mobile app experiences, fast online check-out and more. Ultimately, being adaptable means that brands can embrace change and evolve quickly to customer expectations.

Inside Performance: Many agree their expectations for experiences with brands are higher than ever. Why might this be so? What do they expect experiences to be? What kind of experiences are we talking about?
Allegri Williams: Consumer expectations are higher than ever, partly due to the massive digital transformation our world has seen since the onset of COVID-19. Just as technology rapidly evolved over the past two years, consumers' expectations for what a brand could deliver on also increased.

Now that consumers have seen what brands can accomplish and deliver on, and the speed at which they can do so, they will be expecting the same from now into the future.

 When it comes to consumer expectations, a brand is more than a website or a social media page and extends to things like values, including beliefs and actions around DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion), sustainability and more.

Consumers also prioritize trusting relationships and expect brands be respectful stewards of their data, using it to improve the digital experience with personal, helpful information while also keeping the data safe and protected.

They expect brands to expand distribution channels, deliver intuitive and mobile-friendly browsing experiences and integrate with dozens of third-party data feeds.

They want product detail pages to feature high-quality product imagery and video, full product detail information and specs, reviews and the ability to favorite items.

Delivering the same static pages to every website visitor can detract from an individualized experience.

Put simply, you will lose users who expected a highly personalized and intuitive DX. The brands that prioritize turning their CX into DX will achieve success and stay adaptable.

Inside Performance: Almost half say their expectations for brand experiences are not being met. Why is this and what can brands do? 
Allegri Williams: What this report uncovers is that we’re seeing a gap between what consumers want and what brands are doing.

Businesses perceive themselves as more digitally mature than they actually are -- while 9 in 10 believe they must be able to adapt quickly to drive value for their customers, only 46% believe they are adaptive today. At the same time, 78% of consumers say brands need to do a better job at adapting.  

The companies and executives who understand how to engage customers and meet their growing expectations by focusing on outcomes, experimentation and testing to drive informed decisions -- instead of making assumptions -- will future proof their organization, lower the cost of retaining customers and remain relevant. These are the outcomes that matter to the business. 
However, 70% of executives admit that they cannot optimize as quickly as they would like. Ultimately, despite good intentions, our data shows organizations face challenges in executing on their strategies and achieving their objectives.

While technology alone is not the solution to business challenges, it is one to solve. But the tools must be implemented properly, integrated with other systems and embraced culturally to avoid other challenges, like creating data silos.

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