Guides and reports

Report: Consumer expectations vs brand readiness

How ready are businesses to meet consumer expectations? Mind the gap; there are some areas that need improvement to bring the two closer together.

Colin Neil  ·  SVP of Business Development UK, Adyen
27 October, 2021
 ·  5 minutes
Illustration of person shopping online

There’s nothing worse than not being on the same page as someone. Whether it’s interviewing for a new job or going on a first date, a gap between what people expect and what they experience can have a big impact on the relationship.

When it comes to business, this gap can be a risk to your success, especially when it comes to meeting your customers’ expectations. Since the pandemic, many brands have had to adapt to a new way of operating. These efforts have been appreciated, with many consumers welcoming the increased flexibility. But when it comes to refining the customer experience and delivering what customers actually want, are you pointing in the right direction?

In our latest report,The Expectation Gap: What UK and Irish consumers want vs brand readiness, we uncover some major blindspots between consumer expectations and business planning. You candownload the full report hereor read on for the key takeaways.

The consciousness curve

The last year has seen a rise in social consciousness and a desire to do good. However, it appears that brands are missing a trick when it comes to giving their customers the opportunity to make a difference while using their services.

54% of customers value an ethical supply chain, vs 28% of UK businesses.

In the UK, 54% of customers value an ethical supply chain, whereas only 28% of UK businesses place emphasis on it. Meanwhile, the gap is even bigger in Ireland, with 68% of customers prioritising this, compared with just 28% of businesses. And when it comes to having the option of donating at checkout, 35% of UK and 46% of Irish consumers feel strongly towards this, compared to 32% of UK and only 25% of Irish businesses.

Adyen Givinglets consumers effortlessly donate to charity at checkout online, in-app, or in store, making it easier than ever to make a positive impact. This is a separate transaction, so there’s no compromising your customers’ experience and zero impact on your reconciliation. We’ll also cover the cost of processing the donation, which we pay directly to the charities, sending you a full overview of all the contributions.

“I came across Adyen Giving as a way to use the in-restaurant kiosks as a vehicle to do more good in our communities.”

Hugo EngelDigital Executive, Leon

The app gap

The move into digital isn’t going anywhere; the joy and convenience that comes with shopping online have seen consumers expect more from the apps they use. But there’s a huge divide that could be costing your business money. Our report reveals that brands don’t see eye-to-eye with customers on the importance of having a user-friendly app. The gap tightens, but only slightly, on the topic of address/payment recognition.

graph illustrating difference between consumer expectations and brand readiness

A simple, effective way to tackle payment recognition and make consumers feel valued is tokenization. Through tokenization technology, customers’ payment details can be stored securely and encrypted for each new purchase. Your business remains compliant while repeat customers enjoy a smoother payment experience. Bye bye to adding card details with every purchase.

This is how coffee shop chain Joe & The Juice creates the optimal “human and personal” experience. “And having payment embedded in the app means loyal customers simply need to press ‘reorder’ and the transaction goes through. It's basically the most frictionless experience you can have,” explains Thomas Evald - Senior Vice President Strategy Business Development.

47% of Irish consumers want self-checkout in store vs 16% of businesses.

An added bonus for consumers would be if they can self-checkout in store using an app. This would be welcomed by 47% of Irish and 37% of UK consumers but only 16% of Irish and 28% of UK businesses are aware of this. Which brings us to the role that unified commerce plays in consumers’ expectations from brands.

A unified experience

Now more than ever, shoppers are exploring new opportunities and options online rather than in store. As Craig Crawford, a driving force behind Burberry’s digital transformation, noted in our recent postcast Retail reawakened: “Digital is discovery.” Even if the purchase happens in store, it’s probable your customers have been researching and browsing online first.

The ability to buy online and return in store is expected from 67% of Irish consumers vs 16% of businesses who prioritise this. In the UK there is also a notable distance between what consumers want and what businesses place focus on in this case, 53% vs 30%.

Another process expected to unify the two worlds even more is the ability to start shopping in store and finish on mobile. And, interestingly, while 50% of UK and 68% of Irish consumers still prefer shopping in store, over half (89% in the case of Ireland) want brands to continue selling online, too.

Whether it’s online or in-store, you’ve got to get the experience right since 65% of UK and 77% of Irish consumers won't return if you don’t.

For brands such as Aesop, whose in-store consultants form close, first-name relationships with customers, it was a challenge to offer such a warm encounter digitally. But they did it. “We’ve launched new customer service initiatives such as live chats and video consultations, curbside pick-up, and click and collect. In this way, we can be sure our customers have uninterrupted access to both our products and expertise,” Robbie Tutt - GM of Digital and Technology - shares.

Payments are the perfect first step in creating a unified commerce experience. Whether a shopper is in one of your branches, at a pop-up store, or snapping up an online exclusive, one payments system across every channel ensures consistency and easy reconciliation.

Key takeaways to fill the gaps

To sum up, when it comes to consumer expectation vs brand readiness, you should check your business is meeting the following criteria expected from consumers:

  • Let shoppers donate to charity through your platforms
  • Use the most ethical means of supply chain available to you, and reassure consumers of this
  • Ensure your digital services are user friendly and can be merged with in-store experiences
  • Recognise returning shoppers and reward them with relevant offers and seamless payments

Learn more in the full report

Download the full report for more data insights and real-life examples from leading brands.

Download report

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