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New CX Research from SAP Emarsys, Tealium, and SurveyMonkey

Topics Include Retailers and Free Returns, CDPs, and Dominant Themes in Surveys

New CX Research from SAP Emarsys, Tealium, and SurveyMonkey

The rate of returns among shoppers continued to climb with 86% of shoppers returning items in the last 12 months, but retailers who do not provide free returns risk losing their customers altogether, according to new research from SAP Emarsys, the provider of an omnichannel customer engagement platform.

Surveying more than 2,000 US shoppers, findings from the research show that 88% of US consumers have stopped shopping with a retailer after sellers introduced a paid returns policy, and that 54% of shoppers actively avoid retailers that charge to return items. Conversely, 72% of shoppers show greater loyalty to retailers that provide free returns.

The research also finds not all returns to be genuine, with 23% of consumers admitting to “wardrobing,” in which shoppers buy items with the sole intention of returning them. This explains why many retailers have started charging a returns fee.

Related Article: CX Research from Zoho, SAP Emarsys, and Verint

Here is where personalization can help, says Sara Richter, CMO at SAP Emarsys. “When retailers offer more targeted products based on customer data, such as returns behavior and wish lists, the volume of returns drops. Three quarters (77%) of shoppers prefer brands that make personalized offers, and we saw an increase in retailers embracing this approach during last year’s Black Friday weekend.”

Richter’s view is backed by research, with 26% of consumers saying that retailers could reduce their rate of returns by offering a more personalized product selection, and with 41% wishing for more personalized recommendations and deals to make the online experience similar to shopping in a store.

Returns, however, are just one part of the loyalty mix, because other factors are involved in driving customer loyalty, reveals the latest SAP Emarsys Customer Loyalty Index report.

SAP Emarsys is part of the CX portfolio of SAP, the German enterprise resource planning software giant. As the customer engagement platform for SAP CX, SAP Emarsys delivers marketing automation, personalization, and campaign orchestration in its goal to drive business outcomes. The SAP Emarsys Customer Engagement Platform is the omnichannel customer engagement solution from the SAP CX portfolio.

Tealium: Real-Time Data and CDPs Are Critical to Business Success

A new report from customer data platform (CDP) provider Tealium finds real-time data to be a game-changer in business, and that CDPs are important in leveraging real-time data.

In its fifth annual State of the CDP report, Unlocking the Transformative Power of AI and Real-Time Data for CX, Tealium also discloses that real-time data has become essential for organizations, serving a pivotal role in achieving dynamic personalization, maintaining cross-channel consistency, optimizing campaigns, and ensuring compliance.

Survey results for the research underscore both the importance of real-time data and CDPs: 80% of CDP adopters emphasize the critical role of real-time data in meeting their business objectives, with the number increasing to 88% among the most experienced CDP users. Furthermore, 84% of these organizations highlighted the capability of CDPs to leverage real-time data for analysis, decision-making, and execution.

Related Article: Tealium Unveils Consent Integrations for Integration with Market-Leading CMPs

The report also shows 90% of companies with CDPs possess a high degree of satisfaction with their CDP investment. At least 79% state having achieved their return on investment (ROI) within 12 months of CDP deployment, and 91% believe their CDP is integral in creating relevant CX through real-time customer data. Moreover, 91% of companies say a CDP is critical in providing the right data for AI and machine learning (ML) initiatives.

“Real-time data is truly mission-critical for a successful business strategy,” said Heidi Bullock, CMO at Tealium. “With the use of AI accelerating, the need for enterprises to adopt real-time data practices has become more significant. Embracing these technologies not only ensures a competitive edge today, but it also positions businesses to navigate the ever-evolving landscape of tomorrow, where resilience and agility fueled by real-time insights become the cornerstone of lasting success.”

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in San Diego, California, Tealium is the provider of customer orchestration tools for connecting customer data across web, mobile, offline, and IoT, in turn enabling businesses to better connect with their customers. The company’s offerings include a CDP with machine learning, an API hub, enterprise tag management solutions, and data management products.

SurveyMonkey: Dominant Themes in Today’s Surveys Include Rise of AI

A handful of themes have emerged to define the current state of surveys following 11 years’ worth of data analysis, the findings from a new SurveyMonkey report disclose. Researching the evolving ways in which people ask and answer questions in the modern era, SurveyMonkey’s second annual State of Surveys for 2024 report says the themes that stand out in today’s surveys include the rise of AI, gender inclusivity around the world, an increasingly mobile universe, employee engagement, and survey best practices.

Chronicling the rise of AI, the report says terms like “artificial intelligence,” “AI,” “ChatGPT,” and “generative AI” all saw increased use in surveys last year following the introduction of ChatGPT at the end of 2022.

Mention of these AI-related terms grew 4x, from just 0.5% of surveys deployed on the SurveyMonkey platform in 2022 to 3.0% by September 2023. Specifically, the term “AI” was used 10x more than in previous years, highlighting the explosion of general awareness around the technology.

The report also shows growth worldwide for gender-inclusive surveys. And as gender inclusivity has expanded, the number of gender-answer options used in surveys around the world has grown as well, with a handful of countries setting the pace for the rest of the world. For instance, within the UK and Canada in 2023, 8 out of 10 of the surveys sent included more than two gender-answer options. In 2012, the number was closer to 2 out of 10.

A third trend finds more people taking surveys on mobile devices, with employee and customer feedback remaining in demand. Around the world, mobile survey-taking grew from 52.0% in 2020 to 57.2% in 2023. In the US, people are now as likely to respond to a survey on mobile as on desktop. At the end of 2020, 16% more people took surveys on desktop than mobile, but the gap had shrunk to 0.6% by the end of 2023.

Businesses of all sizes continue to prioritize collecting customer feedback and employee engagement, particularly with remote workers. The survey templates most used for CX, HR, and marketing professionals in 2023 featured customer satisfaction, employee engagement, meeting feedback, Net Promoter Score (NPS®), and name testing. Event registration and RSVPs top the list of the forms that are most used, especially as in-person events increase.

In survey best practices, the report finds surveys are getting shorter on average, with the number of questions per survey trending down by approximately 15% during the last six years—from 13.2 questions in 2017 to 11 questions in 2023. And survey response submissions are higher during the week—with four in five survey submissions occurring Monday through Friday. Survey completion rates are highest on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, and lowest on Sunday and Monday.

Lara Belonogoff, senior director of brand management at SurveyMonkey, says the knowledge being sought by customers is a fascinating reflection of how the world is evolving. “The true value lies in how survey creators put the insights gleaned from the data they collect into action for good: embracing gender inclusion, empowering businesses with AI, and engaging one another in ways that drive human connection. These are the tangible outcomes of a well-designed, expertly executed survey that drive meaningful decisions, raise the bar for human experiences, and inspire ongoing curiosity.”

San Mateo, California-headquartered SurveyMonkey is a major provider of survey tools, online surveys, and online forms. Rebranding as Momentive in 2021 in an effort to better represent its product suite, the company went back to its original moniker of SurveyMonkey following acquisition by an investor group last year.

Author Information

Alex is responsible for writing about trends and changes that are impacting the customer experience market. He had served as Principal Editor at Village Intelligence, a Los Angeles-based consultancy on technology impacting healthcare and healthcare-related industries. Alex was also Associate Director for Content Management at Omdia and Informa Tech, where he produced white papers, executive summaries, market insights, blogs, and other key content assets. His areas of coverage spanned the sectors grouped under the technology vertical, including semiconductors, smart technologies, enterprise & IT, media, displays, mobile, power, healthcare, China research, industrial and IoT, automotive, and transformative technologies.

At IHS Markit, he was Managing Editor of the company’s flagship IHS Quarterly, covering aerospace & defense, economics & country risk, chemicals, oil & gas, and other IHS verticals. He was Principal Editor of analyst output at iSuppli Corp. and Managing Editor of Market Watch, a fortnightly newsletter highlighting significant analyst report findings for pitching to the media. He started his career in writing as an Editor-Reporter for The Associated Press.

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