While millennial consumers are the primary driver of the borderless brand experience, consumers of all ages are increasingly becoming digital natives and have the same expectations, according to a survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers from Sequence.
In the survey, 52 percent of millennial consumers said their first impression of a brand comes through a digital channel, and 90 percent of all consumers, regardless of age, expect a seamless brand experience across in-store, online or mobile transactions.
The survey looked at consumers’ digital and analog preferences in specific areas like retail, casual restaurants, travel, financial services, and media and entertainment.
"What was most surprising was that all consumers have this expectation of a borderless brand experience--they expect the lines between physical stores, online, mobile app or phone sales and support to be invisible," Jojo Roy, CEO of Sequence, told eWEEK. "We thought we would see a higher response from Millennials, who are accustomed to technology being integrated into all aspects of their lives. But, we found that consumers of all ages have this expectation and that it’s not just Millennials that are digital firsts."
Two out of three consumers lose trust in a brand when the physical presence doesn’t match the digital, and 79 percent of consumers are more loyal to brands that have a great online and offline experience.
The survey also found 90 percent of consumers want to be able to ask questions and return a product wherever it’s convenient, regardless of where it was purchased.
Three out of four consumers say face-to-face communication is still important to them, even if they made an online purchase.
"One of the primary challenges for businesses is integration of digital consumer experiences across different functions within a company," Roy said. "It really forces internal organizations at a company to break down silos and work together. Marketing needs to work with technology and technology needs to work with customer service and so on."
When it comes to restaurants, 42 percent of consumers are disappointed when the same information isn’t available in a restaurant when they know it’s available online, and more than one-third of retail shoppers are seeing a disconnect between their online shopping experience and their in-store experience with the same retailer.
For travel, a whopping 89 percent of consumers say that their gate experience doesn’t match their online experience and for financial services, 37 percent say their online bank or financial app is more helpful than going into the actual bank.
"From the data that we uncovered in this survey and from our experience with clients like Chipotle, Apple, Best Buy and others, we expect to see digital firsts driving new and different customer experiences in the future," Roy said. "Especially since we’re all becoming digital firsts--it’s not just Millennials. With the advent of IoT and increasingly connected devices, these expectations will become more pervasive across all ages."