Consumer behaviour has changed forever in a world of digital choice

For the past 18 months we’ve relied on applications and digital services in almost every aspect of our lives – to stay connected with loved ones, access critical services, keep entertained, and of course to work remotely.

Applications have become a lifeline to normality for people all over the world during the pandemic. It’s almost impossible to imagine how we would have navigated the past year and a half without them.

A recent AppDynamics report, The App Attention Index 2021: Who Takes the Rap for the App?, revealed that the number of applications people are using has soared by 30 per cent compared with two years ago.

Lockdowns have forced many people to explore new applications and digital alternatives they might not have considered otherwise. In fact, 84 per cent of people report that digital services have had a positive impact on their lives during the pandemic, enabling them to get through this challenging period and to cope and function in most areas of their lives – both at work, and in their personal lives.

There is now a digital alternative for almost everything

Our attitudes and behaviours towards digital services have changed forever.

In almost every part of our lives, there is now a convenient and effective digital alternative to the old ways of doing things. So we’ll always have the option to use applications and a genuine choice in how we do things, between the online and offline worlds. And this change has significant consequences for the brands we interact with every day.

Consumers won’t simply revert to the habits they had in 2019 – in fact, 88 per cent of people expect their reliance on digital services to stay the same or increase over the next 12 months. Inevitably this means rethinking business activities, changing travel and commutes, and far more virtual or hybrid meetings.

Opportunity and risk for application owners and brands

In this new environment of “digital alternatives”, brands have a massive opportunity to drive customer loyalty by providing consumers with the faultless and engaging digital experiences they have come to expect and rely on in recent months.

Already, we’re seeing consumers looking favourably on brands that have innovated at speed to deliver applications that have supported them through the pandemic and enabled them to access the services they love and rely on.

On the other hand, application owners need to consider the implications of delivering anything other than a seamless digital experience.

As consumers have become more sophisticated in their use of applications, and been exposed to the very best digital experiences, they’ve come to understand what digital services can and should be like in 2021. Expectations have risen dramatically and, at the same time, tolerance for poor digital experiences has diminished – 61 per cent of people say their expectation of digital services has changed forever during the pandemic and they won’t tolerate poor performance anymore.

One shot for brands to deliver incredible digital experiences

When consumers encounter problems with an application – and it really doesn’t matter to them what the cause of the issue is – they now take it almost as a personal affront. Many feel that it is disrespectful for brands to be delivering poor digital experiences in the current environment.

People are no longer willing to make allowances or to give second chances. In fact, 57 per cent of people state that brands have only one shot to impress them and that if their digital service does not perform, they won’t use them again.

That’s the situation that application owners need to face. Even the smallest slip-up in performance can lead to more than half of their customers walking away, quite possibly never to return.

Full-stack observability with business context is critical to meet soaring consumer expectations

As the pressure grows on application owners to always deliver flawless digital experiences, it’s essential that they have real-time visibility into IT performance. Full-stack observability is vital for technologists to be able to identify and fix issues before they impact users.

But with so much complexity across an increasingly sprawling IT estate, and IT departments being overwhelmed by a constant deluge of data, technologists need a business lens on IT performance data to cut through the noise and pinpoint the data that really matters most.

They need to understand which issues could have the biggest impact on customers and the business so that they can best prioritise their actions. By connecting full-stack observability with real-time business metrics, technologists can optimise application performance and ensure they’re able to meet heightened consumer expectations. By doing this, application owners can set themselves up to exploit new opportunities in a world of digital alternatives.

Courtesy of: James Harvey