Earlier this year, Adobe released its Future of Digital Experiences report, finding that ANZ brands will lead the next wave of global customer experience innovation.
This wave will come as consumers become aware of new technologies and more deeply explore virtual and immersive environments. The research found that to help fuel this experience transformation, marketers and consumers alike are eager to embrace generative AI.
The survey spoke with 13,000 consumers globally, and 4,250 marketing and customer experience professionals.
Mediaweek spoke with vice president and managing director for Adobe ANZ, Katrina Troughton, about the research and what it shows.
First of all, why did you decide to create The Future of Digital Experiences report?
“Our lifeblood, and what we’ve always worked with has been around customers – understanding what their requirements are, and what they’re thinking. We have built up a pretty substantial set of research from a few different perspectives around consumer behaviour expectations. We went ahead with this because it gives us another insight that adds to what we’ve seen in the past, as well as informs us about what customers are thinking, and the expectations they have.
“We’ve been through a dramatic set of changes over the last few years with the way people work, the way people shop, and the way people live. We thought this research would really continue to help inform us, and give us some guidance on making sure that we’re able to be addressing our client’s needs.”
Were there any stats that caught you by surprise whilst putting the report together?
“One that I would have to say caught me a little bit by surprise was that 44% – which is a big percentage of customers – said that as the economy is more challenging, they actually expect more from their brands. I certainly would have expected that maybe they would have more leniency if things are tough, but actually, a big percentage of customers are expecting brands to step up and continue to improve the experience they have with them.
“I’m not sure it’s so much a surprise as it is reinforcing, but as consumers look forward, they’re still expecting big change and for marketers to be delivering new ways to engage with them. Large numbers are saying ‘I want to engage with you through virtual reality and augmented reality, and bring 3D into our digital shopping experience’.
“Finally, with how much discussion there is on generative AI, you still have a lot of camps and a lot of different perspectives on what’s important. It’s a really important reminder for us when working with our customers that being transparent and being really clear about them being in control of their choices is actually vitally important. When asked how a company should use generative AI, 47% of people said ‘to improve my experience’, but then a big percentage said that ethical considerations are really important to them. We’ve got to make sure we’re being responsible.”
The creative and marketing community are particularly excited about generative AI, what do you think it is that has them so interested?
“They’re interested in it because it’s going to be really helpful for the job. 85% said tha they can see it improving their work quality and volume, so it’s about a high quality product at a volume that is going to be increased. We’re certainly seeing more requirements for content than ever before, and so the pressure on some of those people who work in that industry means that you don’t want it to be about just quantity. We as consumers want it to be about quality of experience.”
One of the other major points was that over the next two years, the research fund there will potentially be a drop in traffic to physical stores. How much is that a hurdle for brands to overcome as opposed to an evolution?
“The world we’re living in continues to change. I actually think there is an evolution – for every data point that says the physical store is going to drop, there are also people who are doing some really interesting things to create experiences that might be far more connected. Think digital into physical, and physical into digital.
“It might be also that the role of a physical store continues to change. We’ve seen that with a lot of ‘order online but pick up’ or ‘order, then go and try’. The opportunity for all of us is how we create those experiences that are joined up, so people can traverse digital into physical or vice versa and you can seem like they’re consistent. I certainly see a lot of work and discussions we’re having with customers around that.”