13 February 2016

Consumers are now phy-gital. What should companies do?

A global, cross-industry study* from Mindtree, a digital transformation and technology services company, pinpoints personalisation as the key driver that will help "phy-gital" consumers reach their ideal mix of online and offline shopping. It also reveals that while most companies are in transformation mode and consider themselves pioneers in adopting or investing in digital technologies, few are investing in personalisation initiatives that consumers say will increase the depth and breadth of their shopping experience.

Source: Mindtree infographic. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of customers say personalised promotions will influence them to buy products for the first time.
Source: Mindtree infographic. Nearly three-quarters (74%) of customers say personalised promotions will influence them to buy products for the first time.

Key findings include:
  • Personalised promotions encourage consumers to buy products and services they have purchased before (78%), as well as relevant products and services they have never purchased (74%)
  • Only 28% of the decision makers from companies surveyed globally say their organisations are investing significantly in personalisation to improve the online purchasing experience, even though it has improved their online sales over the past 12 months for the majority (58%)
  • Consumers expect their use of mobile apps for shopping to more than double in the next three years. While 6% of consumers said their preferred channel for making retail purchases as of 2015 was mobile apps, 15% said they expected mobile apps to be their preferred channel by 2018. 

The survey also highlights some notable disconnects between what online features consumers desire and what features companies are investing in. As an example, consumers crave improved search and compare/aggregate functions, but companies are investing more in features like shopping lists, wish lists and social features. 

"There are a lot of stories to be gleaned from this study, but what stands out most is that companies need to prioritise more investments in personalisation, an area that quite clearly drives more commerce," says Radha R., EVP and Head of Digital Business at Mindtree. "Many of today's personalisation approaches are ineffective since they are based on a siloed view of the customer. With the right data engine and digital underpinnings in place, customised experiences will allow companies to target the right people, at the right time, in the right place, on the right device, with the right content."

Next steps

Mindtree recommends that companies:
  • Break up data silos to get a more enriched view of customers from various digital touch points, using a big data-led approach 
  • Deliver relevance for customers by creating content, offers and recommendations using context-weighted personalisation algorithms 
  • Implement the technology to automatically deliver these customised messages and offers to customers in a cross-channel, cross-device landscape 

This will only work if a company has the right digital infrastructure at the broadest level. Mindtree believes that companies need to blend four cornerstones that are crucial to achieving true digital transformation and success: creating digital customer experiences, digitising the value chain across the front and back end, developing 'sense-and-respond' systems, and shaping new, innovative business models and partnerships.

"It's important to note that an online presence should focus on serving customers and not just on selling to customers," says Paul Gottsegen, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer at Mindtree. "With better personalisation, companies will essentially embed themselves in the ongoing phy-gital lives of consumers and earn the right to be part of a continuous stream of engagement. It will strengthen the relationship for the long haul and give the companies that get it right a big advantage."


*The study, Winning in the Age of Personalization, was commissioned by Mindtree and conducted by independent market research firm Vanson Bourne. It surveyed 6,000 consumers across three primary regions (US, Europe, and Asia Pacific), as well as 900 decision-makers from companies spanning the retail and consumer goods, travel and hospitality, banking and insurance, and media and entertainment industries.