How Technology Is Changing Consumer Expectations

words Alexa Wang

Consumer Technology

Pexels – CC0 License

While you could quite rightly say that everything has changed tremendously in the last thirty years thanks to technological innovation, this is probably the most true when we consider its impact on the business process. The entire structure of how businesses communicate, draw in clients, market their goods, secure their services, and even hire staff has totally changed.

For instance, there are many online companies that use remote subcontractors to fulfill certain tasks, and offer a great service by doing that. There are brands that have risen up despite the two owners never actually meeting in person, or rarely doing so (this might sound strange, but international partnerships are more common than you think).

Furthermore, companies are more exposed than ever. When it comes to how a brand’s social media presence affects them in the long run, well, anything seems to go.

With this in mind, it can often be quite useful to consider just how consumer expectations have changed as a result of technology, what brands can do about those expectations, and again, what consumers can do to demand better from the products and services they use. With that in mind, we’d like to discuss some of the following topics:

Convenience In Understanding

There are many companies trying to keep our attention as consumers, but getting that attention in the first place is where the real money is made. For this reason, consumers are used to being inundated with advertisement after advertisement, marketing campaign after marketing campaign – and we’ve become pretty adept at filtering them out of our cognition.

For this reason, it’s worth brands taking some time to understand what we hope to see, not what we might expect to see. For instance, many firms have started to curate their landing pages to be simple, to ask and answer immediate questions, to show their process with a simple and easily digestible infographic. It might sound like you’re not respecting our intelligence, but doing the hard work for us allows us to feel familiar with your brand without having to read reams of text or watch a five minute introductory video. This goes no matter what industry you work in. It’s why brands will often promote a singular product in their new line as opposed to introducing the entire additional library of products in one go (such as when a fast food joint releases four new items – these social media ads are split up to help us understand them once at a time). This is fully compatible with the easily-scrolled timeline placement, and it helps us get the information quickly, confidently, and with care.

Social Media Compatibility

Many brands are understanding that social media is now more than a hollow marketing tool, it’s often how people arrange their affairs and (sometimes) want to get their news and updates. This means that following a brand on Twitter can be important, but only if they respond to their support direct messages (which is often offered as an integrated dashboard – many online brands use these). 

At the very least, keeping your profile active, celebrating your events, posting links to your landing pages and contributing to the discourse of your industry is important. For instance, brands may use this platform to celebrate the social shifts of their business, or to call for transparency in their industry, or to educate people as to their process and their history. This way brands become so much more personal.

Of course, it’s also important for brands to avoid triyng to post too much, or to do so with a register that just isn’t inkeeping with their brand styling. There have been law firms that ‘clap back’ to people on Twitter before, or marketing campaigns that make use of modern memes, and it always falls flat. As such, consumers want to feel that your brand has an actual social media plan, that you have a presence that can be relied on. They may not ask for that directly, but this is how you maintain a presence without seeming irritating, or without alienating your audience.

Onboarding Ease

As mentioned before, alongside making the process of looking into your brand as seamless as can be, it’s also worthwhile to make the onboarding process simple and confident. For instance, you might have seen that some brands allow you to check out products both with an account, or as a ‘guest.’ Some may directly allow you to create an account through Facebook, Google, Twitter or other platform portals, immediately making sure consumers can sign up with little hassle.

Additionally, using worthwhile payment providers like PayPal, Skrill, or even Bitcoin on top of the standard card inputs will appeal to a wider array of consumers. This helps your business look forward to the future and it ensures you can accommodate everyone.

It also makes sense to offer thorough utility if a customer decides to make an account in the first place. This might involve allowing them to change their personal details, addresses, to create a public profile, or perhaps curating a place for them to showcase their collections. For instance, Spotify has a feature where you can publicly display playlists and showcase what you were listening to to your friends. Your brand might be able to showcase alternate values, such as tastes in products, or what books they might be reading (if running an online bookshop of course). This kind of small effort helps people feel ingratiated into your platform, no matter how humble it might be.

Support

Many of us know that if we have an issue with a product or service – we expect excellent support as standard. Aftercare is as essential as marketing in securing a good impression of your brand, and perhaps that goes double in today’s social media age, where reviews and impressions spread like wildfire.

However, support can be found in more than one place. We have already mentioned social media direct message features, but chatbot integration helps us connect to the right department, lets us open a ticket with your firm, or helps consumers at least find previously asked questions pertaining to their issue. AI Chaotbots of this kind can also kindly notify us that they’re there for us when we’re browsing a website, giving us time to make our decisions, ironing out any questions we may have.

Support features (especially relating to security) can be important too. This might involve voice detection software that helps customers skip lengthy security protocols when logging in. Of course, live chat functionalities, emails and phone lines should all be offered, or at least should relate to the kind of brand you run (emails and live chats are fine for some online only businesses). This way we feel we can get in touch, but only in a matter of moments. Modern consumers that are tech-friendly value their time, and that doesn’t usually translate to spending thirty minutes on the phone trying to describe our issue again and again.

Web Suitability

It’s important for your website to run perfectly on a range of devices, and that might involve curating an app so you have tighter control over the coding process. It’s quite interesting to see what businesses have streamlined their web presence to be more available to certain customers. For instance, many people have noticed the eBay and Amazon have legacy design architecture that now makes both websites feel a little dated, particularly when it comes to the back end selling and account management utilities.

Web suitabilitty should allow your brand to operate well, no matter if viewing it on a computer, tablet, mobile, VR headset or even games console. It may sound quite entitled, but modern consumers need to see their search query return a result within at least two pages. We also expect to see a streamlined web presence, one that isn’t trying to outcompete itself in terms of where it draws our eyes.

Quiet presence and streamlined focus shows brand confidence, and that works wonders for a web presence. Additionally, while 4G and 5G are becoming more suitable, websites should run quickly and be fast to load. This means investing in your web architecture, making sure every consumer, no matter where they are, gets the same great experience.

Transparency & Openness

Tech platforms, wether you like it or not, help you become more transparent no matter what you say. Trustpilot and Glssdoor, for instance, help users post trustworthy rankings or reviews based on their employment at your firm – this allows the wider public to see just how your firm has been operating and if it’s as reliable as it tries to be.

However, social media discourse, leaks and online messaging can also help us research into just what your processes are. If your company professes to ethically manfucature goods and it isn’t – well, that claim can be disproven. Transparency provides us with a furthermore means of becoming more integrated with public perception however, such as how you might bring social issues and industry-specific progress to the forefront of your conversation. That can truly help your brand in the long run – and it may even help you set the standard other firms follow.

What To Expect From Consumers

Consumers are much more discerning than they may have been previously. This doesn’t mean they’re immune to slick marketing, or that they’re looking to catch you out at every opportunity. It simply means you need to work on being seen as relevant, capable, and of course in these times, worth the consumer confidence.

If you can achieve this, then exponential marketing exposure can come to your firm through sites like Twitter, or you may find yourself reaching wider demographics than you had thought of. With sites like Etsy and Depop opening up how consumer markets take shape, it’s also worth knowing what’s going on in these industry-specific fields, as they help you ingratiate the culture into your brand. 

With this advice – we hope you can more easily use technology to benefit your brand in the long run.

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