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New CX Research from FMI, Braze, Heap, Yotpo, and SMG

Research Topics Cover Food Inflation, Messaging from Financial Brands, Data Maturity, SMS Communications, and Insights on the Customer Journey

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FMI: Inflation is Worrisome for US Food Industry

Food retailers and suppliers both agree that the current inflationary economic climate is not favorable to the food industry, states a new report from Food Marketplace Inc. (FMI), the trade association comprising the two food industry groups. In the new FMI report, The Food Retailing Industry Speaks 2022, the Arlington, Virginia-based organization says 78% of retailers and 90% of suppliers anticipate that inflation will cause operating costs to increase.

Food suppliers, surveyed for the first time in the 74-year history of the Speaks report, were less upbeat in their assessment of the industry’s prospects in the immediate future than retailers, a majority (61%) of which pointed to a positive impact from local and national economies on business sales and profits in 2021 compared to a year earlier. The US inflation rate for food in August 2022 rose 11.4%, its highest level since 1979, up from 10.9% a month earlier, according to Trading Economics, the New York City-based provider of data on economic indicators and financial markets headquartered in New York City.  

The report says food shoppers today are looking for fresher, healthier, and more convenient options, hallmarks of a major shift in consumer preferences following the pandemic. As a result, retailers are expanding numerous fresh or perimeter departments, with more than 80% increasing the space they allocate to freshly prepared grab-and-go products, as well as offering foods with beneficial nutrition attributes for health and wellbeing (70%). The departments expected to grow include locally sourced (72%) and organic produce (62%), plant-based foods and animal protein alternatives (64%), allergen-free (38%), and gluten-free (35%).

Braze: Big Disconnect Between Financial Brands and Consumers

A major perception gap exists between consumer expectations and the brands of financial services, which are overconfident in their communications, reveals a new report from Braze, the New York City-based provider of an enterprise customer engagement platform for multichannel marketing. Only 39% of consumers believe communications from their financial services company to be relevant to their needs, and just 41% of customers say they are satisfied with the messaging, according to the report, Banking on the Customer Journey: 2022 Financial Services Insights, done in collaboration with business consultancy provider CACI. Among financial services brands and their executives, however, 82% believe their customers to be satisfied with their company’s messaging, indicating that financial brands are overly confident about the CX they provide.

Related Article: Twilio Research Shows Significant Gap Revealed in CX Qualities Most Desired  by Consumers

The report found a strong correlation between relevant messaging and overall consumer satisfaction. Among consumers who feel they receive relevant communications, nearly 90% express satisfaction with their financial services brand, compared to the 50% satisfaction rate for those receiving communications deemed to be irrelevant.

To retain customer interest, the report makes the recommendation that financial services brands focus on sending messages that add value to CX. More than half of consumers, or 56%, prefer account updates, such as low balance notifications or deposit confirmations, as their top choice in the type of messaging they wish to receive. Just 14% chose promotional offers, followed by 13% on information about new products and features, 9% on educational content, and 7% on corporate updates.

Myles Kleeger, president and chief customer office at Braze, says a gap often occurs as brand understanding catches up with new consumer behavior, which has shifted because of the pandemic. The report finds the separation in financial services to be sizable at present, but it also provides a path for markets to close the disconnect.

Heap: Data-Mature Companies See Their Business Grow While Data Laggards Suffer

Data-mature firms enjoy improved business prospects by a factor of 2.5 compared to companies that are unable or do not know how to leverage data in decision-making, new research bears out. In a white paper released by IDC and sponsored by digital insights provider Heap, data leaders saw increased revenues and profits, better efficiency, and higher customer satisfaction as reflected in Net Promoter Scores (NPS), compared to data laggards. Revenue was particularly influenced, being 3.2x higher for the most mature companies, which also experienced 2.4x times larger profit and 2.4x greater customer loyalty.

Related Article: New Research from Qualtrics Shows CX Quality Impacts Stock Performance

The white paper also addresses how factors across people, processes, and technologies affect relative data maturity and serve to increase business results. For instance, a key finding showed that 98% of leaders have a good-to-excellent understanding of customer journey friction points, while only 29% of lagging companies reported having a good-to-excellent understanding in this area. Moreover, 89% of leading teams agree or strongly agree that their organization celebrates learning from experimentation, compared to just 23% of lagging teams possessing the same level of conviction.

Plenty of opportunities remain for improvement. While 62% of leaders have complete or strong access to data, only 38% of lagging organizations have the same degree of access. Among lagging companies, more than 65% lack access to tools like session replay or the means to identify specific areas of friction in the user journey. And nearly three-quarters of leading companies believe they can do more with data when it is made available to them, the research shows. The findings should be a wake-up call for organizations that wish to grow their business more efficiently and retain their customers for longer periods of time, the research suggests.

Yotpo: Baby Boomer and Gen Z are the Most Receptive to SMS Communications

Baby boomers and the Gen Z cohort are the most receptive to SMS text communications from brands, and almost 40% of all consumers engage more with SMS from brands today than they did two years ago, according to new research from Yotpo, the New York City-based provider of an e-commerce marketing platform offering unified data-driven solutions. More than half (53%) of consumers aged 54 years old and higher find SMS from brands useful—exactly the same percentage as the members of Gen Z, aged 18-24, that find SMS a useful medium for communicating with brands.

Overall, the research highlights how almost half of consumers (45%) across all age groups now consider SMS to be among the most useful channels for receiving information from brands. For their part, 6 out of 10 (61%) marketeers think SMS is the third best channel to engage with customers build loyalty with customers and that they consider it the third best channel for engaging with consumers (34%), after email (55%) and social posts (41%).

At the same time, marketers are acutely aware that SMS could be regarded by consumers as being intrusive. The type of SMS interaction is, therefore, very important, and brands can choose to send out blanket communications to all customers or send personalized messages based on the information customers wish to receive. Critically, 80% of marketeers said their customers were happy to share their personal interests for marketing purposes, enabling marketeers to send relevant and targeted information to customers and reducing the scope for SMS marketing to be perceived in a negative light.

SMG: Three Insights Show How the Customer Journey in Retail is Evolving

A new study from experience platform provider Service Management Group (SMG) shows how the customer journey is evolving with three key insights to help retail brands deliver a better omnichannel encounter.

In-store shopping reigns supreme, the first insight reveals, with 52% of respondents in the study choosing in-store as their preferred way to shop, compared to just 1 in 4 respondents for delivery. But while a great in-store experience is paramount, nearly half of respondents also browse online before doing any in-store shopping, reinforcing the importance of providing a consistent cross-channel experience.

The second insight shows that “free” beats “fast,” especially with delivery fees remaining a prominent issue for consumers and retailers alike. When asked to select the most important factor in choosing how to make retail purchases, nearly 1 in 4 consumers selected free delivery. Furthermore, for consumers who prefer retail shopping online, free delivery was nearly two times more popular than the second most selected option: ease of shopping online. With added costs coming from delivery and shipping and the holiday shopping season approaching, an understanding of customers’ expectations can help retailers drive priorities for both operations and CX.

The study’s third and final insight states that the omnichannel experience is built on digital. While free delivery drives digital conversion, the importance of the digital experience is critical across the customer journey. Aside from the 30% of respondents expecting to increase digital shopping in the next six months, more than a third of consumers are using websites and apps to get product details and browse before in-store shopping. Roughly half of respondents indicated they use digital channels to compare prices and view offers or promotions, and value-based shopping will likely continue to grow as consumers reducing retail spending because of inflation.

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