The 3 Most Pressing Trends Digital Teams Can’t Afford to Ignore in 2021

Liam Burns
Written by Liam Burns
March 23, 2021

Amid a digital-obsessed era, online trends flood the customer experience space to the point where distinguishing the business-critical ones from new fads is murky at best.

While many of these trends may warrant industry-wide attention, which matter most to marketers, UX and product designers, web analysts, or optimizers charged with optimizing experiences across websites or apps to near perfection?

When it comes down to it, the most pressing trends materialize at the hands of customers from changing behaviors to emerging preferences and more. And evidently, organizations that commit using customer behavioral data to generate insights and shape strategy outperform peers by 85% in sales growth.

To properly develop web or app optimizations efforts that actually move the needle, take note of these three most high-profile trends that are bound to make the biggest impact on your engagements, conversions, sales, and loyalty.

1. Fast-growing digital-first consumer mindset favors websites and apps

Customer attention defines where experience matters most. And right now, consumers turn to websites and apps for seemingly every aspect of their day-to-day life.

From opening new investing accounts and ordering lunch mid-meeting, to buying a new summer wardrobe and browsing replacements for an aging car, websites and apps have become the bedrock of the consumer-business relationship. And just in the last year the average share of online customer interactions has spiked 22%, which truly puts into perspective just how prevalent this digital-first mindset has become.

Now with 2.14 billion consumers shopping online, it’s expected that ecommerce sales will rise from 14.1% in 2019 to 22% in 2022 – and of course these numbers are predicted to rise year-over-year. It’s clear digital experience has become the battleground in which enterprise brands face-off in the customer experience arena, now it’s just a matter of who flinches first.

So how should digital teams game plan for this digital-first mindset? By arming themselves with right resources. As first responders on the frontlines of websites and apps, your digital team must be prepared with extensive analytics, innovative digital tools, and savvy optimization tactics, or online sales and revenue will soon falter.

2. Skyrocketing customer expectations surrounding digital experiences

From travel agencies and financial services to restaurant chains and retailers, virtually every brand stands just a few clicks away, which afford customers the ultimate buying power with choice, flexibility, and access as the new baseline.

And with this growing position of leverage, customer expectations around online experiences have seemingly reached new heights, while tolerance for poor experiences falls to new lows – and the data backs it up:

As the threshold for friction-filled websites and apps plummets, it puts even more pressure on digital teams to uncover even the most subtle and minor instances of friction. Whether it’s a shoddy form, a slow-loading homepage, or a confusing navigation menu, just one seemingly small obstacle can turn into a wave of abandonment and churn.

So how can a digital team enhance its attention to detail and match expectations? By taking advantage of forensic tools designed to expose those flaws with granular experience investigations.

From session replay for watching back real user sessions, to heatmaps for analyzing on-page engagements in aggregate, and form analytics for perfecting these conversion gateways, forensic tools are must-haves for pinpointing and resolving friction to live up to expectations.

3. Shifting focus from conversion optimization to experience optimization

As web and app usage along with experience standards climb side-by-side, its time digital teams shift their focus from optimizing metrics like conversions or engagements and commit to perfecting experiences.

Although it’s a long-standing tactic used to drive up online sales and revenue, conversion optimization or any other metric-obsessed tactic has actually become counterproductive – at least if it’s used haphazardly.

“People can get very hung up on improving micro conversions and you can go around them forever, improving step A to B, B to C. But if you’ve got a broader problem that people then churn after three months because your ongoing service is rubbish, then you’re never going to change that if you keep looking at the small piece,” – James Linkins from British Telecoms (BT)

While specifically optimizing for conversions still holds its place, striving to deliver near-perfect digital experiences has become the most sustainable way to drive conversions, sales, and loyalty online. In fact, roughly every $1 invested in user experience brings $100 in return. On top of that, optimizing websites and apps for superior experiences yields conversion rates up to 400% higher.

And to truly adopt an experience-centric mindset, digital teams often start with digital experience analytics.

Built to account for every behavior and interaction across every user session, digital experience analytics surface every instance of engagement, frustration, and confusion for a spot-on pulse of experience quality across your website or app. And the best solutions offer a single metric for instantly measuring experiences – like Decibel’s own Digital Experience Score (DXS®) – which simplifies optimization efforts.

Prioritize the most impactful areas of digital experience with Decibel’s 2021 checklist

Armed with the most pressing trends across the industry, you and your digital team can roll out new strategies and tactics capitalizing on factors that actually move the needle on your bottom line.

With no signs of slowing down, the focus on web and app experiences come with rising expectations and it calls for a change in attitude amongst enterprise digital teams – become as experience-obsessed as your customers.

To truly become an experience-centric, take advantage of The Digital Experience Checklist: 7 Top Priorities for Enterprise Optimization Teams in 2021 to stay focused on the factors that matter most.

Topics: Conversion Optimization, Customer Experience, Digital Experience
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