To examine precisely where brands and consumers are at today in terms of their digital maturity and expectations for delivering digital experience (DX), new research from DX platform provider Optimizely reveals that despite brands’ progress and desire to deliver adaptive experiences, they continue to face barriers causing them to fall short of consumers’ rising expectations.
According to the firm’s new survey, 91 percent of business executives have taken steps over the past year to improve customer experiences, including 84 percent doing more experimentation than ever during the pandemic—using this time to test and iterate to see what worked and what didn’t.
And while nine in 10 respondents believe their company must be able to adapt—quickly and at scale—to drive value for their customers, just 46 percent say they are currently adaptive today. Even more, 78 percent of consumers say brands need to do a better job at adapting to meet the needs of the current moment.
Underscoring this disconnect between brands’ aspirations and intent vs. the DX they currently deliver, 70 percent of business executives admit that they cannot optimize as quickly as they would like and nearly the same amount (72 percent) reports having difficulty being able to scale efforts that meet global needs. Ultimately, despite good intentions, organizations face a number of challenges in executing their strategies and achieving objectives.
“As the world has become increasingly digital in nature, brands have been required to adapt,” said Alex Atzberger, CEO of Optimizely, in a news release. “For those that pivoted with a quick fix for a specific need, that may be enough to survive for now. But, for long-term growth and success, businesses must continually evolve—quickly and at scale—meeting broader market and customer expectations. Truly adaptive businesses are those that understand their customers, run experiments and focus on driving outsized outcomes.”
According to the Optimizely survey, some common issues businesses face that prevent further success include:
Prioritizing the wrong things and not enough on outcomes
Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of global business executive respondents believe that their digital team is often focused too much on the process and not enough on the outcomes. Similarly, 75 percent said that they spend a good deal of time creating content that is poorly leveraged.
Lack of customer understanding, due to disconnected data and systems
Seven in 10 (71 percent) business executives say they cannot easily gather gradual insights into what is driving customer experiences, and 69 percent say they do not have a full view into the customer journey. Integration with other key digital properties is a challenge cited by 84 percent of global business executives surveyed.
Customers evolving too quickly with rising expectations
About half (49 percent) of global consumers surveyed say their expectations for brand experiences are not being met. Additionally, 65 percent of consumers agree that their expectations for experiences with brands are now higher than they used to be.
There is a way forward for brands to overcome these challenges though, of course, with the right investments, approach and priorities. With this in mind, in 2022, business executives say they anticipate investing more in technology (92 percent) and will look to overcome the issue of tools and technology not being used and/or optimized for their potential as a top business challenge (49 percent).
Additionally, in the year ahead, experimentation will be a major priority for 87 percent of business respondents, while over one-third (34 percent) said driving outcomes will be a top objective for their company.
There is also an opportunity for brands to listen to what consumers are expecting from DX. Looking ahead to 2022, the following will be top of mind for consumers:
- Data privacy: 85 percent of consumers say they will prioritize DX that are privacy centric and respect their personal data with transparency
- Relevance & personalization: 81 percent will prioritize DX that are relevant and helpful, understanding what consumers want and need
- Omnichannel consistency: Nearly three-fourths (74 percent) will prioritize DX that are consistent across channels
- Brand values: 71 percent say they will prioritize DX that support the greater good and/or are aligned with their personal interests
Optimizely commissioned Regina Corso Consulting to conduct a survey of over 5,000 consumers and 1,177 business executives across eCommerce, marketing and IT functions based in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia and Sweden. This survey, which was conducted online between August 20 and 29, 2021, explored how businesses and consumers perceive digital experience today, where priorities and challenges lie, as well as the key steps to getting on the path to becoming adaptive, driving outcomes and meeting customer expectations.