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Q&A: The sophisticated consumer and need for adaption (Includes interview)

A man shopping online. Image by © Tim Sandle
A man shopping online. Image by © Tim Sandle

To seek an understanding of disruptive business and consumer trends within the fast changing world of commerce, Digital Journal caught up with Donna DePasquale, who is the general manager and executive vice president of Global Decisioning at Experian.

The focus was on new global insights related to a new report from Experian titled ‘Business and Consumer Trends‘, including the challenges faced by firms as they continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic.

Digital Journal: The Business and Consumer Trends study found that consumers are continuing to embrace digital technologies. Why is that trend on the rise and what does it mean for the future of consumer behavior?

Donna DePasquale: The pandemic created a necessity to bank, shop and pay online for essential services and other products. As businesses slowly start to welcome back customers in-person, we’ve found that people plan to continue embracing the digital channel. It seems that people have become accustomed to the security and convenience of online interactions, as not only a safe way but also easy way to engage with businesses. According to our recently published Global Insights Report 38 percent of consumers expect to increase their online activity in the next 12 months.

DJ: From the report, many consumers are using a universal mobile wallet. Will mobile wallets ultimately replace credit cards?

DePasquale: Consumer awareness for universal mobile wallets has increased throughout the pandemic and we believe it’s how a customer chooses to pay will come down to preference. In fact, as we think about the future of businesses and consumers engaging in-person, mobile wallets may be a very good option for contactless in-store payments. It’s a trusted and convenient way to pay. The question businesses should be asking themselves isn’t whether mobile wallets will replace credit cards but rather – is my business focused on building a customer journey that transcends digital channels and platforms.

DJ: How have you found that businesses are responding to the new consumer trends?

DePasquale:According to more than half of consumers, businesses have delivered positive experiences online throughout over the past 9-12 months despite managing the pandemic’s disruption to their operations. Rapid changes such as moving to a remote call center, adjusting risk assessment models, offering financial assistance, providing new services like “buy online pick up in store” and more have really stretched businesses. While many businesses have prioritized the shift to meeting digital, our research found that supporting customer needs across the digital journey still needs some attention. Only 1 in 4 consumers can get the real-time help they need when engaging a business online. As companies fine the digital journey to be more customer-centric, we expect to see improvements to the cross-channel interactions between consumers and businesses.

DJ: What do businesses need to do to ensure they are staying ahead of the curve?

DePasquale:Consumers have high expectations when it comes to engaging businesses online. They not only expect a convenient experience, but they expect it to be secure and relevant. Those businesses who will come out ahead will be the ones who invest in the analytics, automation and decision technologies that enable them to capture and use meaningful insights about their customer. This is the key to re-imagining the customer journey, one that works across digital channels to deliver appropriate products and services where the person prefers to engage on a particular transaction and being able to assist them in the moment, when a they need it most. Our research found that 41 percent of businesses are investing in advanced analytics and AI to improve customer experience, specifically to improve customer acquisition and digital onboarding.

DJ: How is Experian playing a role in the digital economy?

DePasquale:At Experian, we leverage decades of experience working with organizations around the world to empower our clients to build and maintain mutually beneficial and trustworthy relationships with their customers. We enable them to offer frictionless access to services while managing risk, driving growth, and remaining fair and compliant. We do this by seamlessly integrating data, analytics, and technology so that businesses can quickly adapt their decisioning strategies and deliver great experiences to their customers

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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