Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic happened, people have come to rely on digital services to cope with the most challenging period of their lives. Apps have been a lifeline to normality, enabling people to connect with their loved ones, access emergency services, and work and learn remotely.
The AppDynamics App Attention Index 2021 revealed that the number of applications people are using has soared by a massive 30 percent compared to two years ago, giving them access to new services like ever before. 88 percent of people say they will continue to rely on digital services in the same way, or they may come to rely even more on these over the next 12 months. It is a real game-changer for the retail industry in India, which depended almost entirely on applications to stay connected with consumers during the lockdown months. And, the numbers speak for themselves: e-commerce alone reached 150 million consumers in 2020, and by 2024 the industry is poised to increase by 84 percent to US$ 111 billion.
So, as consumer mindset and behavior change, it is essential for brands and technologists who develop applications and digital services to understand these fundamental consumer shifts.
Consumers are Looking for the ‘Total Application Experience’
76 percent of consumers say they expect more from digital services. They are demanding more from applications across a wide range of performance and functionality areas, particularly when it comes to reliability, security, and personalization. Consumers are being very selective and refuse to compromise when it comes to app efficiency. They are looking for the ‘total application experience’, which involves a high-performing, reliable, digital service that is simple, secure, helpful, and fun to use. It is personalized to their individual needs and adds real value to their lives.
These are some essential aspects e-commerce and retailers should focus on as competition is getting tough within a market saturated with applications vying for a place in consumers’ mobile phones and devices. Therefore, to get an edge, transaction-centric application owners must focus on enhancing these details about experience delivery.
People are acutely aware of the role that applications have played in helping them navigate through the pandemic, and appreciate the efforts that some brands have made to meet their needs, delivering apps that have allowed them to feel more in control and empowered. The App Attention Index found that 72 percent of consumers are grateful to brands that invested in improving digital services during the pandemic so they could avail themselves of the services they love. 67 percent say they feel loyal to those brands that went the extra mile to deliver high-quality applications and will continue using their services.
Here is a clear opportunity for brands to provide innovative digital experiences and develop deeper, more lasting relationships with their customers.
A Poor Digital Experience Risks Losing Customers
People have come to rely on applications so much that they are no longer willing to put up with anything less than perfect and enhanced digital experiences. 61percent of people state they expect seamless digital services, and they will not tolerate poor performance anymore.
If a problem emerges when a customer is using an App, or if they experience a slight lag while browsing, shopping or making a purchase, they do not wait for it to get fixed. In most cases, they will delete the application and switch to an alternative app. And, they will most likely share their experiences with other people and even write negative reviews in public forums, blaming the application owner, aka the brand. In some cases, this might be justified, particularly for factors in the hands of the application owner like slow page loading, poor response times, downtime, or security failures. However, this also extends to issues due to external factors such as bad internet connectivity, mobile network problems, or technical problems with third-party plug-ins but consumers still blame the application owner. 72 percent of them believe it is the brand's responsibility to ensure that the digital service or application functions error-free. Today’s application owners do not have the luxury of blaming the internet or 4G mobile network connectivity, because to the end-user, it’s only the application owner or the brand!!
Another downside is that people are no longer willing to give second chances when their digital experience is not up to the mark, even to the applications and brands that they use regularly. 57percent of consumers say that brands have one chance to impress them. If applications are not able to deliver the right experience, they won’t use them again. Now, this raises the stakes and it’s serious. Due to one slip-up, brands risk more than half of their customer base walking away.
Full-Stack Observability Can Help Deliver the ‘Total Application Experience’
These new consumer behaviors add even greater pressure onto IT Ops and App Owners to deliver faultless digital experiences at all times. But to do so, they need complete visibility into IT performance up and down the IT stack, from customer-facing applications right through to core infrastructure and also into the internet. You can’t solve what you can’t see - so in order to solve more, you need to see more. Observability across full-stack is probably the only way app owners can get a handle on this situation and is vital to identify and fix issues before they impact users.
But for IT Ops to be efficient, connecting full-stack observability with real-time business metrics is extremely important; as only that allows you to cut through the big data noise and pinpoint issues that really impact customer experience and thereby business/ revenue. A business lens on IT performance allows you and your teams to prioritize actions in the right places.
As consumer behavior has drastically changed over the last year and a half, brands need to react quickly and decisively. When operating in a consumer-driven market like e-commerce and retail, you can’t afford to take any chances with digital customer experience. Today the application is no longer just an extension of the brand. It is the only business.