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4 June 2015 | beautystorebusiness.com Beauty Culture Top left image: gettyimages.com/E+ collection; top right image: gettyimages.com/iStockphoto collection Customers Want to Help Brands Customers desire to be valued by the brands they support, according to research undertaken by InMoment, a cloud-based, customer-experience optimization platform. Its market insights team recently asked consumers and brands to rank importance of the same set of customer-experience elements. The study uncovered areas of alignment and disconnects between these two groups. The most compelling insights came in what consumers said about the kinds of relationships they want to have with brands. The strongest theme consumers expressed in both structured and unstructured verbatim responses was their desire to be valued by the brands they support. One in three explicitly mentioned how they want to feel about their interactions with brands, using words and phrases such as "feeling valued," "acknowledged," "heard," "appreciated" and "respected." But the most interesting finding was that nearly half of the people who mentioned the word "value," used it to express their desire to give value to the company. And when asked why they give feedback, four in five consumers selected "I enjoy offering my feedback and making a difference." Consumers also said they want brands to let them know how they plan to use their feedback, whether or not it was helpful, and what changes it inspired. Other findings include: Biggest Disconnect: Consumers ranked Reliable Online Reviews #2 in importance, while brands ranked it very last at #6. However, while one in four brands ranked this factor last, one in five executives actually placed it as #1. At first glance, researchers thought this split might represent different views of brands that serve consumers, and those that serve other businesses. A closer look at the data showed B2C and B2B companies on both sides of the spectrum. Fully Aligned: Consumers and brands ranked "shorter surveys" and "more listening," #1 and #2, respectively. What they found particularly interesting is that consumers did not express a lack of interest in giving feedback. What they don't like are long-form surveys that focus on what the company wants to know versus what they want to share. They saw phrases such as: "fast and easy to complete, with relevant questions that relate," and "ability to leave as short or as long a review as I want." Consumers and brands were given six elements of customer experience and asked to rank their importance. The elements included: • Mobile first: Ensuring 24/7 mobile support for customers • More reliable online reviews • Personalized experience: Brands using customer information to personalize messages and promotions • Shorter surveys, more listening: Fewer set questions, more options for customers to share experiences in their own words • Feeling trumps function: Relationships and customer experience will reign over function, price and selection • Transparency: Keeping customers informed on how their feedback is being used 75 % of Shoppers Use Mobile Devices In-Store Purchases in brick-and-mortar stores still accounted for more than 94% of all retail sales in the United States last year, according to InReality, a shopping behavior, retail strat- egy and marketing firm. Its inaugural report, "Reality of Retail," surveyed shopping behavior in-stores. Not only did it find that 75% of shop- pers use mobile devices in-store, 25% of them are using their mobile devices in-store to make a purchase. Additional highlights from the report include: • 53% of shoppers prefer to research products in-store • 57% of shoppers in the 18- to 24-years-old bracket prefer to research in-store • 56% of shoppers still think advertising is important to their purchase decision in-store • 12% of shoppers feel the in-store sales associate is an important touchpoint in a purchase decision • 46% of shoppers who use loyalty programs consider them to be important in their decision to purchase • 71% of shoppers who use loyalty programs use their mobile devices for price comparisons ■ Have culturally relevant info readers ought to know? Send it to senior editor Manyesha Batist, email@example.com.