The impact of digital on consumer and business behaviour has been profound, according to a report on the current Australian digital landscape.

The report, Digital Australia: State of the Nation 2017, said this year saw a “quantum leap” in the level of digital interconnection between devices and a “positive disposition towards becoming even more digital.”

The report was conducted by market research firm EY Sweeney and is based on a survey of more than 1500 Australians and interviews with top digital leaders.

“Time is running out. Digital disruption is appearing everywhere in every market. For companies that haven’t already got a robust strategy to leverage digital in their business to better serve their customers, it’s getting very late,” said report co-author Jenny Young, EY Oceania technology, media & eEntertainment and telecommunications.

Courtesy EY Sweeney

The report highlights how engrained digital is in Australian consumer’s lives. According to the report, smartphone usage is at a ubiquitous level of 88 per cent and Aussies spend 6.8 hours a day on mobiles, computers and tablets.

The buzz around autonomous vehicles and ride sharing seems to have captured Australian imaginations as well. Nearly a third of us find the idea of self driving cars appealing and 22 per cent of your Australians have used ride sharing apps.

Digital consumers are savvy too. 94 per cent of customers have researched products and services online and 35 per cent even conduct their research in store, the authors said.

According to the report, digital expectations are high, often driven up by positive digital experiences in other areas.

Over half of survey respondents said they want personalised content that reflects their interests and nearly 80 per cent want their information to be seamlessly integrated across all touchpoints.

Source: EY Sweeney

If organisations can’t provide it, many consumers are willing to find competitors who can. Two out of five Australians are willing to walk away from a business that fails to offer a high quality digital experience, the authors said.

“Consumers expect organisations to know them and those that remain distant will see market share start to taper.”

The good news for Australian businesses is their digitally inclined consumers are producing the data required to align their organisations to the customer, and leaders are doing just that.

The Power of One

According to the report, “the most successful organisations have recognised the rapid shift that has occurred in customer mindset, disposition and behaviour.”

They no longer rely solely on segments or generations, but also take an individual view of the customer and their experiences, the authors said.

“This is about ensuring that customers feel like their needs are understood and the experiences, products and services they receive are personalised.”

One thing working in business’s favour is the two way digital street. Data insights are used to deliver a personalised customer experience. In turn, further insights are gleamed and ultimately creates a “virtuous circle of value,” according to the report.

“A consolidated real-time view is a competitive point of difference, ensuring a seamless experience prevails and enabling the ability to personalise what is being delivered and experienced,” the report said.

Successful brands aren’t simply marketing in digital channels, they understand digital is more than just “facilitating a transaction or delivering information, it’s about forging a strong and enduring relationship,” the authors said.

“It’s a differentiated and more empathic approach that connects with consumers.”

Digital experts interviewed in the report concluded that often it came down to two pitfalls, “delivering a frictionless digital experience and having information seamlessly integrated across all points of contact.”

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