ONS ‘basket’ proves the case for change

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) “basket of goods”, which calculate inflation against consumer spending behaviour, reveal that consumers are using technology more than ever in their daily lives.
The inclusion of bundled communication packages (a combination of telephone, television and broadband Internet services) in the list for the first time indicates that we have wholeheartedly embraced technology and adopted it as a permanent fixture in our lives.
Tablet computers are now viewed as an ordinary consumer commodity as we increasingly use this handheld technology as an essential tool in our daily lives. Consequently, brands are having to seriously assess how they interact with consumers.
So, how can brands harness this changing interaction with consumers?
Rather than traditionally enticing customers with appealing in-store displays and promotions, brands now have to work harder to attract a digitally-savvy and demanding public.
Most brands now have an online presence, which helps to build their profile, but many have yet to establish a seamless customer experience across digital platforms to match the in-store experience.
Brands need to now examine how they can bring this to life, so that consumers will want to engage with them not only online, but will want to spend money in the brand’s bricks-and-mortar store.
Another important aspect is how brands adapt to this new technology. With handheld and tablet computers fast becoming key lifestyle tools for consumers, digital platforms will continue to grow in popularity. Those brands that do not (or half-heartedly) engage with consumers through digital channels are in danger of losing out on sales and customer base.
As digital platforms and technology play an increasing role in our lives, it looks set to stay on the ‘basket of goods’ list for years to come. Ultimately, as many brands are starting to discover, consumers vote with their feet, or, increasingly, with a click of the mouse.

Mike Spicer is chief executive of Pulse Group

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