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Are Brands Missing the Mark When it Comes to Positive Consumer Experiences?

Technology has enabled brands to reach shoppers on their laptops, smartphones and other devices around the clock, but this action may be contributing to negative consumer experiences.

According to a study from InMoment, a customer experience intelligence firm, while customer experience continues to mature with developments in technology, some brands may be missing the mark when it comes to understanding consumers and elevating personalization efforts. Despite some brands providing satisfactory experiences, the study aims to demonstrate how brands can move from simply satisfactory to more memorable experiences.

The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 brands and 2,000 consumers in the U.S., found that 49 percent of consumers reported having at least one negative shopping experience in the past year at their e-commerce sites and stores, while 84 percent of brands estimated that consumers had positive experiences.

Highlighting four essential trends in what consumers remember most, the report sets out to demonstrate how brands can improve in these key areas.

Personalization can get too personal

What brands define as a “personalized experience” could be borderline intrusive in the eyes of the consumer. According to the study, 75 percent of consumers found most personalization efforts to be at least a touch on the unsettling side, while 40 percent of brands admitted that they went a little too far in their targeted promotion and communication efforts.

Despite feeling like brands are “Big Brother” and surveying consumers’ purchasing activity, nearly half of shoppers said they would continue buying from these brands, while 22 percent they would stop shopping at intrusive brands and 20 percent would tell their personal network about negative experiences on social media.

Brands are still misunderstanding millennials

While brands claim that they know the millennial shopper, the study suggested that brands could be making false assumptions about this demographic, leading them to misses rather than hits when it comes to targeting them.

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The study broke down three millennial myths: that millennials don’t think twice about sharing personal data, that millennials are all digital, and they’re unique in wanting brands to be aligned with their causes.

Brands may think millennials want to share their personal information, but millennials are likely to feel the opposite, with 22 percent reporting intrusive experiences from brands. Millennials said they experienced the most intrusive marketing tactics with online-exclusive companies and smartphone apps.

Another misconception about millennials is that they live and breathe digital commerce. The study revealed that millennials are omnichannel shoppers—with 32 percent ranking the ability to buy online and then pick up in store as valuable and 29 percent ranking physical stores for e-tailers, including Amazon and Bonobos, as important to their shopping experiences.

Humans offer great opportunity and great risk

Despite the emergence of artificial intelligence, consumers still value the human factor.

According to the study, 65 percent of consumers said staff interactions highly influenced their decisions to buy more products from a brand, while another 65 percent said access to retail experts is highly influential to their shopping activity.

Seventy-four percent of consumers said negative store employee experiences contributed to bad brand interactions, while only 29 percent of brands said a disconnect could be detrimental to their business if they aren’t investing properly in their employees.

Memorable experiences are emotional experiences

To keep consumers coming back for products, brands are encouraged to promote more positive emotion through their shopping experiences—and when it comes to negative experiences, brands seem to be unaware of how they damage a consumers’ mindset.

The study said 23 percent of consumers reported feeling angry after a bad brand experience, and consumers are four times more likely to stop shopping with a brand if they have bad experiences. Most consumers (72 percent) said special treatment would make them choose one brand over another, while 80 percent are willing to disclose personal information with brands in order to receive exclusive promotions.