Customers in APAC are increasingly focused on experiences when it comes to online brand engagement, according to a new commerce report released by Adobe. The report also found that APAC customers are willing to embrace new technologies like automation and artificial intelligence, and they expect brands to be environmentally responsible.

In partnership with YouGov, the research surveyed over 7,000 respondents from various markets in the JAPAC region including Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Thailand, and Singapore, providing online retailers with key insights around the purchasing preferences of modern-day customers. Titled ‘Listen: A Magento Meaningful Series’, the report underpins the ever-increasing importance of customer experiences for brands looking to stay ahead in the hyper competitive online retail space.

Experience Matters
For online retailers, it’s no longer a simple case of bricks vs. clicks anymore. While price remains a key determinant, the study suggests that online retailers need to focus on developing seamless, enriching customer experience strategies to engage modern customers. Signifying the importance of omni-channel presence and integrations, 39% of the surveyed customers said it’s important for websites to work well on smartphones and 23% called out for the provision of a dedicated app being important to their shopping experience with a brand.

Nicholas Kontopoulos, Head of APAC Commerce Marketing, Adobe said, “As customers in APAC expect more personalised engagements, brands need to craft strategies with customer experience at the heart. There is a growing need to focus on multi-channel, focused engagement opportunities which cater to the customers’ need for seamless and exceptional experiences across the board.” He continued, “There is also a requirement for online retailers to demonstrate clear brand utility for customers in return for their information, create more engagement and engender closer, more meaningful and lasting relationships with customers.”

Attitudes Towards Automation and AI
When it comes to technologies like automation and Artificial Intelligence, 60% responded positively to the prospect of AI being used to increase sales and profits by online retailers, if that use resulted in a better customer experience. Further, 20% were receptive to getting automated product suggestions based on their purchase history, however, this comes with the expectation of privacy as 50% say it’s important that brands safeguard their data.

The Green Factor
Customers in APAC are increasingly becoming environmentally conscious and expect that the brands catering to them are environmentally responsible. Almost a quarter of customers surveyed prefer shopping online as they consider it to be less taxing on the environment. More and more customers are exhibiting receptivity towards purchasing from environmentally friendly retailers – 44% respondents said it’s important for retailers to be transparent about where their products are sourced. Thirty-four percent (34%) of customers in APAC are more receptive to retailers who minimise their use of packaging while almost a third are more receptive to retailers who are donating towards environmental causes.

Experience Breakers
Irrelevant communication from brands is one of the biggest factors which contributes towards customer drop-offs during an online purchase cycle. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of customers surveyed said they would be less likely to purchase from an online retailer if they were sent unrelated marketing communications. Further, if users experience friction when it comes to payments at checkout, it would lead to them avoiding engagement altogether – 39% said they will avoid shopping with an online retailer if their credit card didn’t get accepted, 25% would avoid purchase if cash on delivery is not offered. One in five APAC customers is likely to abandon a purchase at checkout if they discovered that free returns are not being offered.

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