Digital has taken on an entirely new significance since the outbreak of COVID-19. Whatever stage companies were previously at in terms of enhancing their experiences, the pandemic has forced digital to the front and center of every organization’s strategy. A new report [download page] from Bloomreach and Forrester Consulting outlines how the investment plans of digital commerce decision-makers have been affected by the crisis.
In a pre-COVID survey, 320 global decision-makers shared their investment priorities in terms of digital commerce technologies and channels — that is, where investment was likely to be expanded/upgraded or was planned for the next 12 months. Pre-COVID, Internet of Things (IoT) or connected products were a top priority, cited by 6 in 10 respondents (59%). Respondents also had plans to increase investment in the use of third-party online marketplaces (59%), artificial intelligence (58%) and conversion optimization (57%).
Unsurprisingly, the survey conducted post-COVID-19 outbreak (which had a much smaller sample size) finds investment in digital commerce platforms heading right to the top of organizations’ investment priorities. These platforms evolved from one of the respondents’ lowest priorities (44%) to joint-highest priority (64%), alongside digital customer experience technology such as content personalization and search (64%).
Notably, personalization and search capabilities were very much on the radar for organizations pre-COVID-19, in the plans of 57% and 55% of respondents, respectively. But it’s no surprise that these are now top of the list — previous research from Kameleoon found that three-quarters of US consumers expect brands to personalize their journey during this time.
All that said, while investment in technology indicates that companies want to create enhanced digital experiences for customers at this time, overall priorities have become more mission-critical. Pre-COVID-19, improving customer experience (88%) and customer retention (88%) were among respondents’ top 3 priorities, but since the pandemic, these have been replaced by improving team productivity (80%) and accelerating the response to business and market changes (80%).
Read the full report here.
About the Data: Findings are based on a survey of 320 global decision-makers of digital campaigns, online experience, and/or e-commerce and technology purchases, field in March 2020.