At the start of any business, the creator must think of how they will become profitable, survive amidst competition and come up with a plan for growth and expansion.
However, many business owners often overlook technology, and how it will affect how they run their businesses in the long run.
As a smart business owner, you need to find out how technological advances are changing your customers and find ways to adapt your business to suit the changing needs of your customers.
Here are 6 ways technology is influencing customer behavior, thinking, and experiences and what you can do to remain profitable and grow regardless of changing customer thinking patterns.
#1. Decreased customer attention
With millions of blog posts and videos posted online every day, there is way too much content for people to consume.
Put simply; all these content is causing content overload in the lives of billions of people around the world. There is too much content to consume, too many emails to reply to and too much to do by the end of the day.
As a result, the attention of your visitors and customers is decreasing. This means that you have to find a way to grab the attention of your readers quickly, sell them on your offer and then make it easy for them to buy from you.
According to Entrepreneur, grabbing the attention of your website visitors is the key to increasing online sales.
How do you do this? It’s easy, start by creating helpful content that stands out amidst the noise in your niche, write clear copy that sells your offer and then simplifies the sales or sign-up process to increase your conversion rates.
It’s that simple.
#2. The need for personalization
According to HubSpot, people crave interaction with a person, pieces of content or software that leave them with the feeling that their preferences and interests were being taken into account.
It used to take lots of resources to create and sell a course, but that has now changed. Technology has made it so easy to create digital courses, such that anyone with a computer and access to the internet can set up a website, create a course and then start selling it.
With these many products being produced, personalization has become a huge determinant of the nature of a customer’s experience. According to a study done by Janrain, around 74% of online consumers feel frustrated with websites when content (e.g. ads, promotions, offers) appears that has nothing to do with their interests.
To prevent frustration and increase sales, smart marketers and business owners are creating personalized experiences for their customers.
First, you need to identify your target market, and then personalize all your content, products, and resources towards the needs and wants of your customers.
This makes it easier for customers to make a purchase, and also increases the likelihood that if you met their particular needs before, they will come to you again for a purchase or refer you to other people with similar interests and needs.
#3. The ease of access to info
A few years ago, customers made buying decisions based on news, advertisements, past experience or referrals from other people.
However, technology has changed this. A report by Econsultancy found out that 61 % of customers use search engines to aid them in product research before they can make a buying decision.
Simply put, the higher the amount of relevant info about your products a visitor can find online, the higher their likelihood of purchasing from you.
To excel, marketers and business owners are now focusing on increasing their online presence through content marketing while improving their reputation by asking for reviews and ratings from past customers.
They understand that this information will be key in putting them at the frontline when new customers are researching what to buy and where to buy it.
#4. Brand trust and likability
Gone are the days when customers bought from a business just because there were no alternatives. Technological advances have made it easier for more people to launch online businesses for just a few dollars.
As a result, when making a buying decision, many customers will rely on their level of trust of a brand and how much they like it to decide whether or not they will buy. According to Rare, 86% of consumers say loyalty is primarily driven by likability and 83 % of consumers say trust. They have to trust you before they can buy from you.
To influence customer behavior and make more sales, start by finding ways to become more trustworthy. This can be done by using content marketing to improve your online presence and reputation, then improve your trustworthiness by using social proof.
In a research done by Dimensional Research, it was found out that of the participants who had seen online reviews, 90% said that positive reviews had impacted their buying decisions while an astounding 86% said that the same was true for negative reviews.
As such, you can improve your trustworthiness and likability by getting your past customers to post reviews, ratings, and testimonials of your products. Add this to your website, and more visitors will deem you trustworthy enough to buy from because you’ve proved that other people had trusted you before and were not disappointed.
#5. Customer expectations have gone up
Technology has made it very easy and cheap to create businesses. This has resulted in very many businesses offering related products; products that fill similar needs in the lives of their customers.
As a result of having too many choices, customer expectations have gone up. According to Barry Schwartz, a professor of psychology, too many choices can prevent customers from making a purchase, and when they do, they will feel less satisfied with their selection. The decrease in satisfaction can be attributed to increased expectations which are rarely met.
Customers now want a single product that fulfills all their needs. This means that one of the biggest determinants of whether they’ll buy from you is the number of needs that you help your customers meet, and how well you do it.
For example, people used to rely on the news for weather updates; then they moved online where they could get weather forecasts for the major cities in the world. But nowadays, customers are looking for a product that will give the real-time weather updates of any place around the world. This has pressured businesses in the niche to try and come up with the useful weather forecast app for people that does more than just tell the weather; they need a platform that moves with the customer, giving them real-time data from any location as they need it.
And this is happening across the board in all niches. If you want to survive, you have to find ways to adapt your products to meet increasing customer expectations.
#6. The increasing need for ’good’ customer experience
A few years ago, customers could make a purchase regardless of how the experience made them feel. Most buying decisions were made out of a product fulfilling their needs and not the customer’s experiences with the business.
That has changed.
According to a RightNow report on customer experience, 89% of consumers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing poor customer service.
Customers have started placing their experience above other factors, such as brand reputation, and the price of products. If you want to remain profitable and grow, you need to invest more resources into improving your business’s customer experience. The company culture can make it possible and the feedback from employees is cruel to get optimum B2C relations. Each business needs to implement the best practices for employee questionnaires to identify issues and fix hidden problems, build on business strengths, and implement B2C improvements.
Before allowing minor instances of bad customer experience to ruin your reputation, keep in mind that consumers are 2-times more likely to share their bad customer service experiences than they are to talk about positive experiences.
You must adapt to grow
70% of consumers say technology has made it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere. While technology is helping you grow and reach bigger revenue goals, it may also help your customers to stop buying from you.
Customers are your key to growth and profitability.
While technology is causing all the change in their behavior, experiences, and thinking you must be willing to change to meet changing customer needs, thought patterns, and expectations.
However, knowing about this will only take you so far. You have to take action.
Assess your business today, and see in which of these areas your business is suffering. Then take action improving your customers’ experience by taking advantage of current customer thinking trends and behavior.