How Customers Connect with Brands in the Digital Age and Why More Companies are Going Online

GUEST BLOG by Jess Mackay, Gen Y writer and future author

The popularity and monumental success of online shopping has ultimately changed the way that customers engage with brands in the digital age. The way in which people discover new products and connect with new faces is largely based on a company’s ability to advertise and portray their brand online and attract new ‘followers’. Although the basis of brand to customer engagement has shifted, the basic rules for advertising have remained the same.

Going digital possesses the advantage to reach a larger audience than ever before, whether it be international, national or local, the widespread popularity of social media means there are no limits to where the name and face of your brand can travel. However in order to achieve a brand’s full potential in the digital market, they must know how to engage on a unique and modern platform.

The most effective social networks for customer engagement are sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. The attribute that these sites have in common is the use of media to engage people. For example: Instagram’s use of photo and video media provide an easy to use and attractive interface that appeals to customers on a visual level. Twitter uses short text statuses and photos to engage customers with a shorter attention span and Facebook combines all of these features to attract 1/6th of the world’s population to their site. 90% of the information processed by our brains is visual and social media make it easier than ever before to share, comment and repost these visuals to other people. Not only do social networks reinvent ‘word of mouth’ but they also present information in a way to people that has created a 60% more chance of online engagement.

More companies are combining traditional and digital marketing in order to reach this ever growing audience and provide the most engaging face of their brand possible. By creating a profile for your company, whether it be on social media or online, going digital means the ability to design a unique website layout, post updates to your existing clients and attract new customers, develop a name for your brand and ultimately engage your desired audience on a visual level.

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Consumers want access to your brand anywhere, anytime!

The balance of power between consumer and retailer has is changing. Consumers are driving demand for new technology and are more connected than ever before. Retailers need to innovate and find new ways of getting customers engaged and back in the store.

Consumers want availability to product information and price in a variety of ways — in-store, online and on mobile devices. As consumer expectations rise, consumers will no longer tolerate poor service at any point in the delivery channel.

The “New Retail Democracy” Study done by Oracle in 2013 found that:

  • Availability trumps price: 58% regard availability as more of a priority than how much they need to pay.
  • Understanding whether a product is available influences loyalty and spend: 46% say they are more likely to be loyal to a retailer that provides availability information and 30% say they are more likely to spend more with those retailers.
  • There are consequences when product is not available in a convenient location or delivery timeframe: only 8% will wait for backordered product to come into stock, while 47% will search online and 41% will try another retailer.
  • Consumers see the most value in technologies that provide information:  33% see the most value in visibility of stock “so I can purchase when I want”; 24% are looking for access to product information through digital and store channels.Oracle_Tip_14-04-chtSo where does this leave todays retailers? Consumers are impatient for product and information and loyalty scarcely exists as the new ‘next best thing’ is just around the corner. I think one key takeaway is for retailers to research and truly understand their customer and respond to their needs accordingly. If you’re not doing this then how can you expect to keep them happy and connected to your brand.