A joint report from Salesforce and the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) reveals that customers want their online experiences to deliver in-person value. 

While consumers push for businesses to have widely accessible online offerings, they will not compromise on the quality of customer experience. According to the report, 69 per cent of Australian consumers want businesses to offer digital channels, while 63 per cent of consumers are looking for retail engagements that demonstrate that the business understands their  individual wants and needs.

Paul Zahra, CEO of Australian Retailers Association

According to Paul Zahra, CEO of ARA, “Shoppers expect retailers to ‘meet them where they are’, through consistent, seamless omni-channel interactions.”

Half (52 per cent) of consumers surveyed expect personalised offerings. 

In the same way that your local barista remembering your oat-milk latte coffee order drives trust and loyalty, customers want this personal interaction across digital platforms too. The research reveals that customers want to be seen and remembered by their online retailer, receiving only relevant offers in a seamless, cross-platform experience.

“Maintaining genuine and personalised connections with customers and keeping customers at the epicentre of retailer’s decision-making is key. The new data and customer knowledge available through digital channels and first-party data acquisition are opening up a new world of personalisation – both in store and online,” says Zahra.

While the pandemic has sped up the transition to online, the results are proving that the digital transition isn’t going anywhere. Shoppers are indicating that they will continue to buy online after the pandemic subsides, with 68 per cent saying they will continue using digital channels in a post-COVID world. 

Jo Gaines, AVP Salesforce Digital 360

According to Jo Gaines, AVP Salesforce Digital 360, “COVID-19 accelerated the shift towards digital and consumers increasingly expect retailers to deliver in-store experiences online. This is putting significant pressure on businesses to deliver compelling and frictionless online experiences via any device or channel, whilst stitching it altogether in real-time.”

Loyalty is also being driven by shared values among consumers and businesses. A whopping 98 per cent of customers indicate that they want businesses to improve on their environmental and social practices.

“[Customers] are also more values-driven, showing loyalty to brands and retailers that reflect their values — from human rights issues to climate change and sustainability,” says Zahra.

In order to stand out, Gaines suggests that businesses must consider differentiating their ethics and values.

“It’s never been more important at a time when consumers seek out and support retailers who prioritise doing well and doing good, not just profitability,” says Gaines.

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