Winning over the digital consumer — do you inspire confidence?

The consumer electronics industry is at an inflection point. With the Internet of Things (IoT) rapidly becoming a reality and devices connecting every aspect of consumers’ lives, the shift to a connected digital world is gathering speed.

A new market survey for communications, media and technology (CMT) companies shows that the industry is succeeding in showing consumers the relevance of smart devices and wearables, and inspiring purchases among early adopters.

But the research also paints a picture of an increasingly discerning digital consumer, who will switch to providers that win their confidence — even if it means paying more.

The battle is on and the stakes are high — to engage consumers and inspire the confidence that will move their products and services to mainstream use.

Companies need to break through a crowded marketplace with strong digital brands and offer phenomenal customer experiences right out of the box — including providing a level of security and privacy that will inspire consumer trust.

Key findings of the study show an industry in transition — mirrored in South Africa. Survey responses show a 4% drop in the number of consumers planning to buy a smart phone in 2015 (3% in SA), a 6% drop in planned tablet purchases (10%), and an 8% drop in HDTV purchases (9%).

So where is the money going? As expected, new intelligent devices are on the rise until 2020. A 28% rise is predicted in ownership of wearable fitness monitors (15%), as well as a 17% rise in home-connected surveillance cameras (15%) and a 14% rise in in-vehicle entertainment systems (12%).

Providing cautionary context to those findings, 33% percent of consumers said ease of use is a key factor when buying a smart device (33%). Yet an alarming 83% have difficulty using their smart devices (72%).

Some 28% further said a trusted brand is a key factor when buying a smart device. Fully 49% reported buying such devices based on brand preference. And 32% of consumers who bought one already owned devices from the same brand.

Worryingly, 10% of consumers do not feel confident at all that the security of their personal data is protected on the Internet and, therefore, never share information. Some 44% are not always confident and are therefore careful about what they share and what websites they visit.

As mentioned above, the way to build on new momentum in consumer electronics will be to gain consumer confidence, and the way to achieve that is three-fold — getting it right out of the box, building a strong digital brand and safeguarding digital trust.

  1. Build a leading digital brand via integrated experience design and analytics — Digital brands are built by developing a true end-to-end experience, which encompasses every customer touch point across their life cycle. Companies that invest appropriately can build the right analytics capabilities to segment their customers, and deliver the right messages to effectively engage the consumer.
  2. Design a phenomenal customer experience — It is essential to deliver an exceptional “out of box” experience. Among other things, this requires improved coordination between sales, marketing, engineering and support and, in some cases, going back to the “drawing board” to reinvent execution strategies to be more integrated and digitally transformed.
  3. Empower digital trust — Strong digital trust is a cornerstone of brands being able to move buyers from inspiration to confidence. This requires designing and building all products and services with a security element in mind. It also involves privacy and data control — offering value in exchange for information, and taking accountability for the data in the company’s possession.