As modern technology gets more and more sophisticated and permeates even further into every facet of modern life, brands and businesses are trying to understand exactly how this technology is impacting and changing the way consumers interact with them and their products, and how technology is affecting the way consumers make purchases.

A new report from Coversant, Epsilon and Loyalty One shows that there is a definite shift in how customers shop and engage with brands in previous years compared to now. In fact, if you aren’t willing to adapt to meet the high expectations consumers now have, you run the risk of getting left behind. The report showed that almost two thirds (65%) of consumers feel that companies are sending them too many irrelevant, impersonal communications.

One of the biggest ways to create a connection with your target audience is to focus on providing them with personalised communications that make them feel uniquely valued by your business. According The 2017 “Holiday Retail Outlook Report,” 87% of millennials are very likely to shop at a retailer, if that retailer provides personalised offers. That is a staggering percentage of millennials, and it is one that is only likely to increase across all age groups as time goes by.

There is also a generational divide that affects what individuals are looking for from their shopping experience. Millennials are concerned with factors such as price and value, but also place an emphasis on the functional and emotional aspects of the shopping experience. Baby boomers, meanwhile, care more about product quality and reliability, as well as price and value. Comparatively, top influencers on Gen X shoppers include the speed of checkout and ratings and reviews.

According to Elliott Clayton, vice president of media UK at Conversant: “Consumers expect a lot more from brands today. They certainly do not want to be inundated with mass, irrelevant communications and it is only by focusing on true personalised communications that brands will be able to build a mutually beneficial relationship with consumers.”

Interestingly, whilst there is a huge emphasis on buying online, it hasn’t completely erased the consumer’s desire for businesses to have a bricks-and-mortar presence. While 80% of consumers now buy online and have gifts delivered, over half of consumers prefer to buy products online and pick them up in store. Additionally, 51% of consumers like to browse and purchase items in store while reading product reviews online. This shows that consumers across the board are looking for an integrated shopping experience that combines all the benefits of online and in store purchasing.

Clayton went on to say that although “most consumers are buying online, the purchasing process is still operating across multiple channels. Retailers and brands need to have an ongoing one-to-one conversation with consumers across all consumer devices, including offline. Using data is key for brands to stop just serving up the same ads and instead have tailored messages to reach consumers on an individual level across all channels.”