Providing a strong customer experience is no longer just an opportunity—it is now a critical mandate for all brands and businesses. New research from product-to-consumer (P2C) software firm Productsup compares business priorities for the year ahead with today’s consumer expectations, and reveals a sharp contrast between what consumers want and how businesses intend to meet demand amidst the downturn.
The firm’s new Business Growth Report also provides decision-makers with actionable takeaways on how to create a competitive advantage by straying from the norm, identifying four key areas where businesses should focus their CX attention in 2023:
Businesses’ concern over the quality, consistency, and accuracy of product information across global campaigns is on the rise. Sixty-two percent (62 percent) of surveyed businesses fear poor product information is creating negative online experiences, up 72 percent year-over-year. Additionally, 55 percent feel it could leave them vulnerable to competitors, up 49 percent.
Considering consumers reported that knowing more detailed information about products was one of the top factors that would entice them to choose one brand or retailer over another, companies need to have full control over their product data ecosystem.
Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents reported increased demand for sustainable products in 2022, but 34 percent of consumers say brands and retailers make sustainability information too difficult to find.
Providing shoppers with more transparency in the supply chain by adding ESG data to product labels, listings, and ads can have a significant impact on sales and brand loyalty. In the year ahead, 55 percent of businesses plan to increase their level of sustainable product information to meet evolving consumer expectations and differentiate themselves from competitors.
The metaverse and digital collectibles
In light of skepticism across the industry, many businesses are avoiding virtual and augmented reality experiences. Only 14 percent of respondents believe consumers are much more likely to purchase a product based on in-store AR experiences, such as augmented fitting rooms. That number dips to 13 percent for online VR and AR experiences, like the metaverse and digital collectibles.
Yet when compared to consumer data, 42 percent of consumers said they’re more likely to purchase a product after experiencing VR or AR in stores, and 40 percent expressed interest in purchasing ‘pure virtual’ goods in the metaverse. Companies that are reluctant to embrace these innovative technologies now miss an opportunity to make their mark in the space before clear leaders emerge and win over younger shoppers.
With tighter budgets, only 24 percent of businesses expect to increase overall ad spend this year. They’re pulling back on newer channels—79 percent of businesses don’t intend to increase Snapchat or TikTok ad spend—and instead focusing on the platforms they’re more familiar with, like Facebook and Youtube.
This dip in activity from advertisers opens up more ad space for others to grab—and at discounted costs. Businesses should take the opportunity to secure top advertising spots on some of the most-used channels by Millennials and Gen Z.
“If most businesses are struggling to drive sales, move out inventory, and reach new customers, then it’s time to stop following the majority,” said Marcel Hollerbach, chief innovation officer at Productsup, in a news release. “History has shown that harsh economic climates reward the brave outliers who embrace change and go all in on innovation. To be successful in 2023, companies have to be willing to experiment and invest in areas that are outside the norm.”
The report is based on a survey of 755 senior decision-makers from 16 countries, either personally responsible for or reporting to those responsible for managing product information at their organization.