With shoppers opting to head back to the high street and the emergence of an experience economy set to fuel growth for local businesses
Latest research commissioned by leading financial technology provider Dojo has revealed a shift in British consumer behaviour. The data uncovered how consumers are moving away from convenience and commoditisation of goods and services and instead seeking out more memorable experiences. Alongside the motivations and expectations amongst consumers, Dojo’s Experience Economy Report revealed that Brits aren’t the nation of complainers we think, with almost just as many (72%) ready to tout about their positive experiences as they would about the fails (74%).
For more than half of consumers (58%) COVID has made them realise how much they missed the experience of being ‘out’. With heading to the cinema and sitting in restaurants cited as two key destinations of note. However, the report also showed that this is not short-term hype caused by restrictions starting to ease. There appears to be a categorical shift taking place on the high street, with consumers willing to spend more of their income on this part of the economy, even when compared to pre-pandemic spending trends.
While consumers are placing more of an emphasis on creating an experience when it comes to spending trends, out of the 400 businesses surveyed, more than half (67%) identified themselves as being part of the ‘experience economy’ space. This ranged from those more experientially focused such as luxury and food and drink services (for example restaurants, bars and nightclubs) through to personal services such as salons and those in the automotive industry. It shows that the ‘experience economy’ cannot be defined by sector alone and it is about the benefit a business gives to its customers through the experience created.
When it comes to the experience Brits are looking for, offering a strong customer service was cited as more important than the atmosphere and price. In addition, consumers wanted to feel acknowledged with over half (56%) saying if their feedback was acted on, this would be a strong incentive to return.
However, creating and delivering on a good experience is not solely about the customer service. An overwhelming 78% of those surveyed mentioned that a loyalty scheme that rewarded custom would make them return. In addition, personal preferences were also a big factor. When considering their favourite place, and the main reason consumers liked it, the report showed the top three reasons were that they really cared about their customers (40%), had clear principles (18%) and brought the community together (18%).
There does however seem to be a significant gap between how consumers perceive the experiences they are having, and what businesses believe themselves to be delivering. The survey highlights that 89% of UK businesses say they go above and beyond to deliver unique experiences to their clients, and 72% of businesses rank customer service as the number one driver of repeat business. However, only 48% of consumers think that businesses in their local area deliver great experiences and 60% of those surveyed felt too many places in the UK look and feel the same. The difference between the two sides is notable and raises great concerns as it can result in missed market opportunities.
While perceptions around experience and delivery differed, the data showed both consumers and businesses are aligned when it comes to the instrumental role of technology. As part of the service that consumers expect, 65% agreed that payment technologies approved the overall experience, and 64% of businesses agreed that technology is important to add value to the customer experience.
“This latest data shows that as we start to emerge from restrictions and lockdowns, consumer behaviours are shifting at pace. Spending on the high street is no longer about time saved, but time well spent. Brits are eager to head back to experiencing the high street in-person, and it’s the small things that will keep them coming back. Consumers want to feel heard and understood,” commented Jon Knott, Head of Customer Insight at Dojo. “The experience economy is here. It’s where a memorable face to face experience is a competitive differentiator, and it will see service-led experience businesses thrive as a result. It’s about creating a smooth and frictionless process for consumers as soon as they enter through the doorway. Combining insight and technology with human interaction will be more important than ever, because it’s these experiences that set a business apart from its competition.”
The report polled more than 2,000 responses, from a combination of both consumers and businesses across the UK.
Dojo creates payment tools and technology that empower businesses across the UK to thrive. Dojo’s products include rapid integrated card machines that process payments quickly, and the Dojo app, which lets customers track their transactions in real-time. With WalkUp by Dojo, customers have access to the restaurant queue management system used by over 800 restaurants across the UK. Every Dojo product is built to address real customer pain points by our dedicated teams in London, Bristol, Hull and Belfast. Find out more at dojo.tech and follow us on Twitter @dojo_tech_.