Bridging B2C Priorities: How Far Apart Are Brands and Consumers?

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New research from Deloitte Digital is trying to shine light on the growing gap between what brands think of their B2C efforts … and what those C’s actually have to say about that.

The biggest splash of cold water: 8 in 10 brands believe their online shopping experiences are impressive to consumers, yet less than half of consumers agree. 

“When it comes to in-store shopping experiences, the divide between brand and consumer perceptions is even wider,” according to the research report, which included surveys of more than 500 B2C leaders and 1,000 consumers late last year. “Narrowing this gap and improving commerce experiences poses certain challenges, but the payoff is substantial.”

(Source: Deloitte Digital)

To that end, the research found that consumers spend 37% more with brands that deliver on those consistent and positive experiences. And for the experience to be what they want, consumers want a tailored website or app (52%, compared to 33% of brands who prioritize this), customized products and services (51% to brands’ 33%), and location-based personalization (50% to brands’ 29%). Consumer expectations when they do purchase are different from what they had been as well.

“30% of consumers said they return products more now than they did a year ago, with millennials and Gen Zers driving this trend,” the report says, adding that 64% of consumers said a return policy is very or extremely important to their purchasing decision. “Brands said the elevated rate of returns is taking a toll on their business, but consumers appear reluctant to curb their habits. In fact, one in three said they quit a brand in the last year because they didn’t like the brand’s return policy.”

The report suggests that brands “flip the script on returns” by leveraging it, noting that more than half of the consumers would sign up for a loyalty program to receive free-return shipping.

“Higher participation in loyalty programs and branded credit cards can in turn foster deeper bonds and drive new revenue streams,” the report says, adding that consumers, of course, prefer easy-to-understand, easy-to-redeem reward programs.

The report offers 4 questions brands should ask themselves as they tackle modern commerce:

  1. “Do you truly understand your target customer and what motivates them?”
  2. “Are your technology investments in line with the capabilities that will improve your target customer‘s experience and drive sales?”
  3. “Is your data in position to shape and deliver personalized, generationally attuned experiences?”
  4. “Does your loyalty program provide easy-to-redeem cash-equivalent rewards for customers?”

“As heightened competition for talent, rising returns and other challenges likely persist into 2024, mastering commerce will be crucial for B2C brands’ sustained growth,” the report says.


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