Australians happier with overall digital grocery experience than with banking

A report from SAP has highlighted Australia's retail grocery sector is performing best in digital, beating the banking sector despite its focus on omnichannel service delivery.

Australians are more impressed with the digital experiences provided by the grocery sector than they are with the banking sector, with the former receiving the highest overall digital experience score in a survey conducted on consumers by SAP.

In the SAP 2017 Australian Digital Experience Report, the software giant revealed the country's retail grocery sector returned a digital experience score of 10, up from -4 in 2016.

Despite consumers preferring the ability to interact with banking providers at any given time, the sector was behind retail with a score of 7. Media and entertainment returned a 6, consumer retail a 4, and aviation also returned a positive digital experience score; however, insurance, telecommunications, and utilities all have more unsatisfied consumers, returning scores of -5, -11, and -15 respectively.

The report, commissioned by SAP and conducted by AMR Research, polled over 4,000 Australian consumers. It defined a digital experience as how a brand digitally interacts with its customers during the discovery, transaction, delivery, and support of a product or service.

The report highlighted that consumers are using at least five channels in most engagements, but said that overall, brands aren't integrating them to deliver a seamless experience, or even one that the consumer is content with.

Speaking with ZDNet about the findings of the report, Stuart O'Neill, head of SAP Hybris for Australia and New Zealand, said consumers are expecting seamless experiences with everything they touch, and there is an expectation that organisations get the "table stakes" right.

"Those organisations that do engage through two or more channels, the customer experience, the loyalty, and the advocacy increases exponentially," he explained.

"What we're seeing is those organisations who don't get the two or three channels right and maybe go to four or five and do it really badly, are going to kill off all the good work that they've done by concentrating on only getting a couple of channels right."

He said there is no point nailing the experience in one or two channels if the rest are less than desirable.

"Make sure that when I do touch you, you do a really good job of it -- you make it easy, intuitive, and simple for me to interact," O'Neill said. "[Consumers] don't take kindly to bad experiences."

The report highlights that 35 percent of customers are unsatisfied with the digital experiences being provided by the country's largest brands, which O'Neill said shows they are failing to make customers feel unique, important, excited, and engaged.

"There's still a lot of work to be done by the majority of organisations," he added.

The expectation from customers is also rising.

"Those delivering a whole lot of apps that don't necessarily deliver true value back [to the consumer] are not getting any incremental benefit or gain from that investment -- they need to get the fundamentals right," he said.

"We seem to go off and do all the flashy headlight stuff that creates lots of marketing highlights, but doesn't necessarily help me out as an individual.

"At the end of the day, I still need to do my banking, I still need to get through and get the basic information ... If you can make it contextual and relevant, then I'm going to reward you."

He also said it needs to be looked at from the customer's perspective.

With US shopping giant Amazon.com to shortly grace Australian shores, O'Neill is expecting the launch to light a fire under local organisations.

"I've seen them rest on their laurels and continue to make fairly significant margins in the retail space and be comfortable to do that, and not really expect this was going to happen," he said.

"It's not like it was a surprise, but I'm very much hoping this is a catalyst for change.

"There is a massive opportunity for a differentiated experience."

Although not the focus of this report, O'Neill said the concept of providing seamless, consumer-like experiences translates over to the business-to-business (B2B) space.

"The expectation in the B2B space is that they get exactly the same experience as in the B2C space," he explained. "Especially as Gen Y comes through and the education from the eBays, the Amazons, which is it needs to be intuitive, it needs to be simple, consistent, as well as quick and easy to get through."

"B2B customers expect to have that enriched experience ... they expect you to understand them and treat them just as special as in a B2C space."

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