In the past, it was sufficient to have a website for your business, or even better a mobile app. This alone was enough to differentiate you from others less digitally savvy. But in today’s fast-moving, always-on business environment, it takes more than just a mere digital presence to earn the loyalty and trust necessary to survive well into the future.

We refer to this new reality as The Connected Lifestyle, and businesses that are embracing it are succeeding, while others are left behind. Case in point, an HBR report cites the number one reason more than half (52 percent) of the Fortune 500 have disappeared since the year 2000 is their failure to achieve digital change.

This new reality has spawned a new type of customer for your business as well. We call them Connected Customers. This term refers to those customers that interact with brands through digital means such as web sites, apps or Alexa skills.

An overwhelmingly large percentage of the population falls into this category. And mobile devices are leading the charge as the most preferred channel of engagement. Connected Customers are everywhere and span every generation. And what do these Connected Customers want? They want simple and convenient experiences that are both efficient and fun.

The bad news is that it’s hard. Especially for established businesses that don’t favor change. But the good news is there is a significant return on investment for businesses that deliver a tech-enabled experience that surprises and delights.

In fact, 67 percent of consumers say they’d pay more for a better experience. So, if you are interested in leveraging the power of the Connected Lifestyle to grow your business by better serving the Connected Customer, we’ve got a plan that can help.

Below are 3 suggestions that you can leverage within your business to stay competitive and win the hearts and pocketbooks of your customers in today’s Connected Lifestyle.


MOBILE ORDERING AND COMMERCE

Mobile ordering and commerce should be the most delightful part of your entire digital experience.

Since 2016, we have seen $1 trillion to $2 trillion total revenue and growth from 50 percent to 65 percent of all e-commerce sales happening via mobile. For 2020, expectations are almost $3 trillion and 70 percent respectively. That means your biggest payoff is to be laser-focused on mobile commerce, not just traditional ecommerce. There is a difference in what consumers consider a good experience when you introduce mobile into the equation.

Quick service restaurants (QSRs) have been a leading segment in this rise with mobile ordering and delivery up 130 percent over the same period with some markets increasing by over 300 percent.  Mobile orders currently account for 60 percent of all digital restaurant orders and are expected to make up 11 percent of all QSR sales, totaling $40 billion by the end of 2020.

Some companies who have invested heavily in mobile are indicating they’re closer to 30 percent of all sales coming through mobile.

In-app integration of loyalty, delivery and payment are now requirements for success with the Connected Customer. Simply, having a robust mobile ordering system will not get your business as far as it did a few years ago.

Changing customer expectations will require your brand to find new ways to surprise, delight and reward your customers through your mobile ordering experience. The standard has officially shifted; if your digital brand experience does not match the quality of other brand experiences, even those outside your industry, customers will take their business elsewhere.


CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE

Demonstrate respect for your users above all else.

As design becomes democratized and data becomes readily available, many well-meaning companies are anxious to perform in the marketplace and have de-prioritized the needs of their customers in favor of increased conversion, engagement, adoption and retention.

As a result, humans are targeted every time they go online, use social media, purchase via online commerce or leverage search engines. And they are getting fed up.

It’s not enough to just meet user needs anymore, Cyd Harrell says in her new book, “companies must work hard to gain the respect of their users, by demonstrating respect for their time, their dignity, their ability, their means.”

To demonstrate this respect, companies need to be explicit and transparent. Even something as simple as a “we would like to use your data to help you with our products and services” message with an opt-in button can go a long way towards cultivating respect.

While a savvy designer and product manager can leverage knowledge of online behavior to encourage a customer to make a purchase, they would be better served by using that data to build a relationship.

Instead of pushing products based on a customer’s browsing behavior or asking users to fill out surveys under the pretense that it will improve service, be respectful of users’ wallets and time by focusing on providing true value.

Customers will recognize when companies respect them and will use that information to determine who to do business with. This will be a key differentiator for companies in the next decade.


GROWTH STRATEGY

Using a modern marketing stack will put distance between you and your competitors.

Every product and marketing team on the planet is trying to solve the age-old question, “how can we acquire more users at a lower cost and keep them longer?”

One clear result of these efforts is the noticeable increased investment in modern MarTech tools that allow organizations to move faster and realize value with far fewer resources. Self-service data collection, product analytics and engagement platforms are rapidly expanding into brands’ ecosystems and are built to minimize the amount of time spent managing the plumbing that is typically associated with them.

These modern tools typically require a simple SDK and tracking functions to be implemented and the rest is managed in an intuitive interface that allows teams to focus on what they do best—prioritizing product roadmaps based upon data-driven decision making, as well as creating creative marketing campaigns that are hyper-personalized for end users.

Brands that have these tools in place are at a huge advantage over competitors and will be able to drive large engagement numbers with minimal effort to execute. Want to see what this looks like in action? Check out Burger King’s Whopper Detour campaign. Backed by a modern growth stack, this campaign drove six million app downloads and reached number one in the Apple App Store as a result.

Allocating the time and resources needed to fully knit together your touch points, and the data they produce, is worth the investment.

This piece was originally published at CEOWorld.biz