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Khoros Paper Examines Digital Commerce Landscape in 2022 and Notes Marketing Pitfalls

Study Finds Human Interaction Remains Important in Consumer Purchasing Journey

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A new white paper exploring the digital commerce landscape reveals that the majority of consumers favor an increasingly hybrid purchasing journey incorporating both human and digital channels, while also wishing to preserve a human connection instead of purely digitized interactions.

The paper is from Khoros, a customer engagement company from Austin, Texas, and is titled Navigating the rise of digital commerce. Leveraging insights from more than 1,300 consumers and marketing leaders around the world, the paper provides strategies for marketers to circumvent blind spots as they strive to remain relevant in the face of extreme competition heading into 2022.

A key finding in the research paper was that the purchase journey will become more hybrid next year. A full 67% of the surveyed consumers believe that the best shopping experiences moving forward will include human interaction or assistance, as well as digital accessibility. “As purchase journeys become increasingly hybrid over time,” the paper noted, “consumers rely more heavily on digital channels during the discovery and consideration phases, and on in-person interactions during the purchase phase.”

Another important finding from the research was that the future of commerce will revolve around the digital-forward consumer who is comfortable with harnessing technology and digital strategies during the purchase journey. Even so, this segment—most likely to be primarily made up of Millennials—will desire a human connection, while still expecting the convenience afforded by digital means. Marketers need to tap into the human experience when engaging with this segment, the paper notes, because the digital-forward consumers of this segment are not looking for a purely digital, robot-like experience.

“Marketers need to balance the demands for convenience and speed that digital offers with the perceived risk of losing the human connection—all while leaning into the security and privacy guardrails of the messaging or chat solutions they choose,” the paper points out.

A third finding in the paper was that while social commerce was here to stay, conversational commerce is the next frontier. Conversational commerce, as defined by the research, refers to purchases made through a 1:1 interaction via a web app alongside a personalized conversation. In comparison, social commerce refers to purchases made via a “one-click buy” model within a social media platform. While marketers need to continue sharpening their social commerce strategies, the paper advises, they must evolve proactive strategies that predict consumer needs and deliver the human connection that conversational commerce delivers.

To help marketers avoid blind spots in 2022, the paper offers three strategies. The first calls for marketers to know their customers on a deeper level so that the appropriate approach can be designed and implemented. The second strategy advises marketers to invest in bots that allow automated innovation and make it easier than ever to chat and to shop, while also enabling agility, the paper notes. The final strategy proposes that marketers deploy purpose-driven marketing to tap into the human element and let marketers’ brands become active stakeholders in social issues. “Brands’ products and advertising communicate their values and mission; but, if they don’t align with their consumers’ values, they can risk customer attrition,” the paper concludes. “CMOs need to ensure that their marketing messages highlight their humanity.”

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