UK brands failing to forge connections with customers risk losing them forever

UK brands failing to forge connections with customers risk losing them forever

Research released from Sitecore® has revealed stark divides across generations and income brackets when it comes to brand expectations, meaning retailers must deftly personalise their content and marketing to secure sales.

The importance of hyper-segmentation and personalisation

The representative study of 2,000 UK adults surveyed for the report reinforces the importance of multi-segmented marketing strategies. 70 per cent of respondents want brands to connect with them on a personal level, and over half (54 per cent) want websites to save their information, offer 1-click checkout, and personalise their shopping recommendations.

But when it comes to how consumers want brands to behave, generational attitudes differ. Those under 45 care far more that brands are responsible, caring and in tune with social issues, while older consumers are more concerned with quality and reliability. This is important because Baby Boomers account for 20 per cent of UK’s population and are the nation’s wealthiest demographic.

The Report found:

  • 96 per cent of Gen Z respondents believe it is important that retailers offer more minority-owned products and services. Only 62 per cent of Baby Boomers agree
  • 91 per cent of Gen Z respondents want brands to take a moral stand on issues that arise in society. Only 67 per cent of Baby Boomers feel the same
  • 15 per cent of Gen Z respondents have stopped shopping with a brand because of an affiliation with a politician, political party or influencer that they did not like, compared to only 3 per cent of Baby Boomers
  • 71 per cent of Gen Z would pay more for products and services if they knew that the staff were being well paid, compared to only 54 per cent of Boomers
  • 76 per cent of Gen Z respondents would pay increased prices for a product or service if it was more environmentally friendly compared to only 50 per cent of Baby Boomers

“Retailers have invested millions in organisational change and marketing campaigns to appeal to younger buyers, but in today’s economy can’t afford to overlook Baby Boomers. The majority of this generation have a good grasp of technology, a thirst for engaging life experiences and ample disposable income. To them, quality and reliability rank higher than whether a brand is ethics or values driven,” said Paige O’Neill, Sitecore CMO, “It’s not that Baby Boomers aren’t progressive, it’s that as consumers, they feel a brand should focus on its product and services. This is why personalisation in marketing is so important, because the earning potential of idealistic Gen Z consumers is only going to rise, and brands need to connect with them too.”

Building digital customer experiences that matter

With today’s highly precarious retail environment, brands must step carefully when it comes to the customer experience as the penalty for frustrating customers is high. 71 per cent of UK consumers haven’t gone back to a brand after vowing never to never shop there again.

One attribute that  brands can lean into is transparency. 94 per cent of respondents believe it is important for brands to explain and be transparent about price increases. The vast majority (87 per cent) of UK consumers understand that a business may have to pass along additional costs to consumers, and though many (80 per cent) believe companies have made enough profit and should avoid doing so, there is understanding of the struggle business is facing at the moment.

Customers see how hard brands are working, and the investments made over the past two years to cater for a more online customer base have been well received. Over half (54 per cent) of respondents agreed that some of their favourite brands have created a deeper connection with them this year through their online experience. And only 13 per cent have had a negative experience when browsing or shopping on a brand’s website.

Retailers looking to forge stronger relationships with customers should:

  • Illustrate empathy and understanding of what customers need in the moment (valued by 87 per cent of respondents)
  • Provide insightful recommendations (80 per cent)
  • Acknowledge key milestones in their customers’ lives (70 per cent)
  • Remember the actions customers have already taken with the brand such as remembering personal information or not showing them things already purchased (81 per cent)
  • Actively demonstrate their brand values through action (83 per cent)

“Consumers have different expectations from brands than they did two years ago,” continued O’Neill. “We have all been through so many crises, a global pandemic, social injustice, the outbreak of war and currently battling with the cost of living. Many now want brands to bring them closer, build that community and reassure them they share the same values. Those companies that are transparent and personalised in their messaging, respond authentically to challenges, and are not afraid to show support to those who need it most at this moment, will turn their customers into loyal fans.”


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