PR Trend Watch: “Digital First” Consumers Are Driving New Trend of “Borderless” Brand Experiences, Study Finds

Diverse People Using Digital Devices with Social Media Symbols“Digital First” consumers grew up in a world where almost everything is connected via digital means, and now this group, largely Millennials, is driving the expectation for a brand experience that is “borderless”—one where the lines between digital and physical customer experiences are non-existent, according to new research from brand strategy and design firm Sequence.

But the movement is hardly limited to Millennials—consumers of all ages are increasingly becoming more technically savvy and have the same expectations for borderless brand experiences. In the survey, 52 percent of Millennial consumers said their first impression of a brand comes via digital, and 90 percent of all consumers, regardless of age, expect a seamless omnichannel experience across in-store, online and mobile transactions.

Through the survey, Sequence also explored consumers’ perspectives about the role of technology in the customer journey, and how that should be balanced with a personal, human touch. The survey looked at consumer digital and analog preferences in specific areas like retail, casual restaurants, travel, financial services, and media and entertainment.

“Digital Firsts think about what works best for them, whether it crosses geographical lines, jumps from online to offline, or blends from digital to physical and back again,” said Jojo Roy, chief executive officer of Sequence, in a news release. “To achieve this customized blend across digital and analog experiences, businesses will need to break down their own organizational barriers and remove technology constraints to meet these demands. Companies that are able to deliver borderless brand experiences will have a competitive advantage.”

Key findings in the report include:

  • Two out of three of consumers lose trust in a brand when the physical presence doesn’t align with the digital experience
  • 79 percent of consumers are more loyal to brands that have a great online and offline experience
  • 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

Highlights from key business segments include:

  • Restaurants: 42 percent of consumers are disappointed when the same information isn’t available in a restaurant when they know it’s available online
  • Retail: Over one third of shoppers are seeing a disconnect between their online shopping experience and their in-store experience from the same retailer
  • Travel: 89 percent of consumers say that their gate experience with an airline doesn’t match their online experience
  • Financial services: 37 percent say their online bank or financial app is more helpful than going into the actual bank
  • Media/entertainment: One out of three Millennials don’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV, and 72 percent of Millennials don’t watch live television broadcasts

The new survey, “Borderless Brand Experiences and the Rise of the Digital First,” was released this week by Sequence, a San Francisco-based independent agency that designs and develops connected experiences for the world’s best-known and most innovative brands. Download the full report here.

Source: Business Wire; edited by Richard Carufel

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