Brands are failing at the all-important job of
knowing their customers, judging by The Next Generation Of Consumer Behaviors, a study released last week by Merkle, a firm focused on customer experience management (CXM).
Only 14% of consumers say brands “greatly” know them. But 19% of Gen Zers believe they do, and overall, 73% of respondents feel brands somewhat or slightly know them.
On another front, only 24% feel influencers, whether micro, macro or celebrities, motivate them to buy from a brand.
Worse yet, at least for email teams, only 34% say personalized email recommendations are important, while 12% say very much so. And 33% feel they are unimportant, while 16% say they are very unimportant and 33% say they are neither important or unimportant.
More generally, only 39% feel that site or email product suggestions are important, while 26% saying they are somewhat important and 13% say they are very important.
Email fares better in terms of two-way communication: 74% expect brands to respond personally to customer-service queries by email, with websites coming in at a distant second at 42%, followed by text with 34%.
However, 42% would rather handle customer service issues in stores rather than by phone, email, chatbots or social media. And that includes 41% of Gen Z.
Convenience is critical — 46% say their shopping experience is more satisfying when it is easy to find products. And 16% cite checkout convenience, 11%, delivery; and 10%, customer return, 9%, comparing products; and 9%, finding new brands.
Meanwhile, 76% of millennials and 83% of Gen Zers want brands to take a stand on social issues, versus 59% of people age 41 or older.
In general, 84% of consumers made an in-store purchase during the past year, and 68% had a product delivered to their homes.
The takeaway: “Consumers expect brands to evolve with them and behave in ways that reflect what is most important to them – including the channels in which they engage, the products they are interested in, and the way they perceive the world,” states said Pete Stein, global experience & commerce lead at Merkle/CXM. “Brands of the future keep up with rapidly changing consumer sentiments because if they can’t, consumers will find brands that can.”
Merkle surveyed 1,000 consumers in October 2021.