Consumers worldwide seek the same seamless experience

What do consumers want when it comes to the worlds of shopping, payments, banking and financial management? The answer the world over is seamlessness and control, tailored, personalised experiences, and a direct connection to other consumers and information, writes Keith Rowling

What do consumers want when it comes to the worlds of shopping, payments, banking and financial management? The answer the world over is seamlessness and control, tailored, personalised experiences, and a direct connection to other consumers and information, writes Keith Rowling

Earlier this year research commissioned by First Data sought to gain insight into evolving consumer awareness, usage and behaviours. Conducted across 10 markets (including the UK, Germany, Poland, the Middle East, the US and Brazil) with nearly 4,000 consumers, the research found that consumer expectations with regards to mobile and technology-powered experiences were remarkably similar, whether it was with financial institutions or retailers.

The Global Universal Commerce Consumer Tracker revealed three key themes that underlie the shift in consumer behaviour and associated changes in the commercial landscape:

1. Seamlessness and Control

Consumers want the ability to connect related activities and switch between multiple channels; this includes moving from online to offline or from one device to another. The experience has to be both simpler and more intuitive when compared to previous payments and financial services experiences. Nearly half of consumers surveyed would stop using a technology immediately if it was not intuitive, easy and straightforward! Consumers are interested in the ways that technology can eliminate complexity and merge a fragmented series of transactions into a seamless whole.

2. Tailored, Personalised Experiences

Because consumers know there is a vast amount of personal data available, they expect the businesses they interact with to know them. They demand a tailored experience that uses the information businesses have about them to their benefit, for instance by offering them products that fit their individual circumstances.

3. Social and Sharing

Technology has changed how communication between businesses and consumers functions: a shift from top-down to peer-to-peer. Half of the consumers surveyed post reviews online and even more consult social media before making a purchase. Consumers prefer doing business with companies that are smart about using social media and technology in general.

Consumers rightly expect to be at the centre of it all, with the world in their hands, often in the form of a smartphone, which has driven much of this change in expectations. Ultimately when we talk about these evolving consumer expectations, what we’re really talking about is an expectation of higher levels of service and a drive toward simplicity. Organisations that aim to be successful tomorrow, and not only yesterday, need to understand the implications this has for their business.