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Inspiring experiences

The experiential consumer

Consumers today are looking for meaningful experiences wherever possible, and use this ‘experience’ benchmark to judge their personal, working, and consuming lives. They are striving to replace traditional transactions with more emotive interactions. They are resorting to ‘experience cramming’1 where consumers want to collect and mix-and-match as many new and varied experiences as possible – and companies need to reflect this in the products and services they bring to market.

How is this manifesting itself in terms of consumer behavior?

We have identified four ways this new value equation is reflected in consumer behavior.

‘WOW’ FACTOR – Consumers increasingly want experiences that deliver the maximum impact, and this expectation is filtering across all aspects of their lives.2 Their positive experiences with entertainment or retail brands, for example, are influencing their expectations from finance and telecoms brands – who are having to ‘up their game’ significantly. Consumers expect more, and want richer, more rewarding and more engaging experiences from all quarters.3

THROUGH-THE-LINE EXPERIENCES – Consumers are putting themselves at the heart of any experience, and hence companies are having to become more ‘user-centric’, ensuring human insights are considered at every turn. To ensure brand loyalty, companies have to create exceptional brand experiences – before, during and after purchase.4

SEE-SMELL-HEAR-TOUCH – People want to use all of their senses, and expect many of the products and services they buy to meet this need. Films are now in 4D, not just 3D – and in the same way, products need to look good, feel good and smell good. Apple has set the bar high on design and functionality, so people expect more ¬from other products, too – even from everyday, traditionally low-interest category products.

CONSUMERS TO CO-CREATORS – There has been a consumer to partner metamorphosis.5 Newly empowered customers want to have a greater say in how they experience service. They want products and services to be designed, sold, delivered, serviced and purchased in a way that suits them. They want to be active co-creators, not passive consumers.

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How are detergent manufacturers rising to this challenge?

Aside from a minority, most consumers regard detergents as a low interest category. But manufacturers are now starting to adding some sex appeal: new pack formats, new product formats and new ‘flavors’ (like popular ‘exotic’ fragrances) are all helping to make an essentially functional product more exciting and appealing. Such a makeover fits in with the current nature of consumers: demanding more from manufacturers and retailers alike.6

Manufacturers are also increasingly focusing on maximizing fabric care, with color maintenance and fabric preservation and restoration solutions growing in demand.

It is also influencing how companies approach new product development, how they market their products and the environments they create around these products. For example, companies are using more sensory samples to bring products to life, since consumers are more inclined to buy when they first test a product with an alluring sensory sample delivered in stores, in print advertising or through direct mail.7

Experiential retailing is also much more prevalent, where in-store shopping is enhanced with interactive interfaces, augmented reality and social media integration to create a unique experience for each individual consumer.8

As J. Pine, the renowned management advisor to Fortune 500 companies has argued, businesses must orchestrate memorable events for their customers, and that memory itself becomes the product – the “experience”.9

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What does this mean for DuPont Industrial Biosciences?

We, the Fabric & Household Care team at DuPont Industrial Biosciences, are striving to put the consumer at the heart of how we collaborate and innovate with our customers.

And understanding the key trends, like the need to create meaningful experiences, sits at the heart of this.

We continue to develop enzymes that help our customers create products, which appeal to consumer senses.. But our focus never veers away from quality and fabric care, and we strive to make the washing experience for end-users easier, quicker and better – for every load.

Of course, no other benefits matter if the product doesn’t deliver a great clean – that’s why performance drives everything we do. Consumers may have different expectations of performance, but it still sits at the heart of their world – and ours.

 

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Together, we can inspire cleaner ideas.

1 Trendwatching briefing, July/August 2012

2 Getting to 'Wow': Consumers Describe What Makes a Great Shopping Experience

3 PwC, ‘The New Digital Tipping Point’, 2011

4 Contagious Magazine, ‘now / next / why’ session, London, April 2012

5 Ernst & Young, ‘This time it’s personal: from consumer to co-creator’, March 2012

6 Iconoculture, ‘Macrotrends and the big picture’, 2011

7 Arcade Marketing, ‘The power of sampling solutions’, 2012

8 Time Magazine, ‘Experiential Retail: The Next Technological Revolution?’, February 2011

9 Joe Pine, ‘Economic Value Creation Through the Experience Economy’, September 2011

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