What Does Today’s Consumer Want? Personalized, Seamless, Omnichannel Experiences


Ted Levine, EVP, Consumer Products, Retail, & Services Business Unit Managing Director at Capgemini Americas.

Two years ago, the consumer products (CP), retail and hospitality industries went through significant disruption. Throughout the entire pandemic crisis, one lesson was learned time and time again: Companies need to engage consumers in new and exciting ways in order to thrive in a competitive market where the physical and digital experiences have converged.

Advancements in technology are enabling CP, retail and hospitality companies to access a host of consumer data and use it to create personalized experiences. According to Salesforce research, 66% of consumers expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, and 52% expect all offers to be personalized. This sentiment shows that it’s no longer enough to apply a “one-size-fits-all” approach—companies need to leverage data and behavioral science to determine what the consumer wants and when they want it.

To address this massive shift in behavior, CP, retail and hospitality companies should focus their efforts on three main areas.

1. Omnichannel Experiences

The global e-commerce market is expected to reach $7.4 trillion by 2025. One of the key drivers of growth in this space is the increasing reliance on omnichannel experiences, with brands offering consumers multiple experience options, including both physical locations and digital channels. This practice has proliferated across industries, from retail to gaming, demonstrating the transversal expectations consumers have for seamless interactions with brands. Companies that do this right create frictionless (and often personalized) brand experiences that promote positive online and offline interactions.

Companies must examine their role in the evolving omnichannel environment to successfully stand out within the vast, dynamic landscape. Simply maintaining an e-commerce site and a handful of brick-and-mortar locations is not enough if consumer profiles aren’t aligned. If a consumer purchases an item online, can the in-store associate look up that past purchase to make relevant product recommendations? When a consumer makes an online delivery food order, can they accrue points for the restaurant’s loyalty program? These connected, personalized experiences are expected by today’s digitally savvy consumers.

2. Immersive Experiences And AR

When the pandemic forced many physical locations to close for extended periods of time, companies couldn’t rely on their major, legacy channels. In retail, for example, while “try-before-you-buy” experiences were on the rise well before 2020, retailers needed to rethink the approach and get creative as stores reopened and consumers looked for a similar experience. According to research conducted by my own company, beauty retailers have embraced this new frontier by adopting augmented reality (AR) to provide a safer alternative to help consumers find the right shade of foundation for their skin tone.

As a reflection of the times, health and safety concerns will continue to play a large role in how (and where) consumers engage with brands in the new normal—and immersive AR and VR technologies will help conquer the contactless divide between companies and their consumers. The brands that effectively manage this lifestyle-defining trend and look to a broader dataset to understand their consumers will win loyalty and drive conversion.

3. Hyper-personalization

Technology is an integral component to bringing new customer experiences to life. This includes the ability to offer tailored messaging and offers to consumers throughout their journey at specific touchpoints, often known as personalization. Some of the more traditional aspects driving personalization include social influence, industry trends and even order history.

However, new advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) are taking this trend to a new level: hyper-personalization. The potential of this approach is broader and addresses many other aspects like content creation, recommendations, media mix, omnichannel, customer experience and others. Behavioral data can be used to offer relevant promotions and tailored messaging in real time, creating an even more frictionless brand experience that knows the consumer better than ever. The benefit is two-fold, because the data can also be used to help the brand build its content strategy and expand social influence.

The Consumer Defined

As consumers continue to look for ways to establish their post-pandemic identities, brands have a unique opportunity to be a part of that discovery process and connect with consumers in meaningful ways. Whether it’s our shoes, lunch or hotel, brand choices help define who we are and how we want to be perceived.

Consumer data and new advances in cognitive technologies can shed light on important trends—and offer personalized experiences regardless of physical location. Business and technology are now forever linked, and road maps need to reflect that shift and respond accordingly. In today’s rapidly changing CP, retail and hospitality landscape, companies need to react quickly to establish relevancy and inspire loyalty. Without that focus, they will be left behind, while those that offer differentiated experiences will win.


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