The impact that tech-savvy customers are having on the ecommerce world is not just stronger than ever; it's faster than ever. Gone are the days when customers would surf the net trying to determine if an online order was worth the risk. This is, of course, truest among the Generation Z population; those born after 1995. Of course, responding to the technology laden desires of post-Millennial shoppers requires understanding them, which can be especially difficult for retail brands that weren’t born online. This is likely a major reason for Amazons dominance in the online retail business. Conversely, Walmart and Target have had to endure the challenges of transitioning from brick and mortar to an online presence. Clearly Amazon has defined the direction of online retail. Since, by some estimates, Gen Z represents more than a quarter of the U.S. population and has an annual U.S. purchasing power of $44 billion online retail is the new normal. We thought it would be interesting to delve into some of the changes that are on the horizon for online retail.
Mobility is expected to reign supreme on the list of what gen Z consumers want. The smartphone has had an explosive affect on the technology applications available today. Services like Uber, Snap chat and hundreds of other apps would not have otherwise been possible without the introduction of the smartphone. Now businesses can reach consumers everywhere. Even when customers aren't shopping, retailers can still be on their minds. The constant presence of a brand’s app on a customer's phone reminds him or her that the brand is out there, as an option. What’s more, location-enabled interactions, which deliver messages to customers who enter shops, are getting customers offline back into actual stores. Look for future tech applications to center on mobility.
Push Notifications Are Out-Pacing Email Marketing
A push notification is similar to a text message. They both arrive on a user’s mobile device, they both have to fit within tight character limits, but they both have average open rates that are over 90%. The format of a push notification or text message is just easier to manage than an email on a mobile device. This has become the preferred format by which Gen Z'ers want to receive their information today. At 90% open rates retailers have gravitated toward text based e-marketing strategies.
Personalized Customer Service Is Making a Comeback
With the advent of mobile personal assistants, ecommerce sites are realizing that automated services no longer cut it. For a while there it looked like automation was taking over the customer service experience. Press one for this, press 2 for that. It was a "How may you help you experience". Gen Z'ers aren't responding to that approach. To better serve customers, ecommerce sites are also finding they must adapt to the new customer service standards set by technological improvements. This means servicing customers on the various channels they have access to. Brand websites, email, Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram are all being used by customers to connect with brands.
And, Of Course, There Is The Insatiable Need For Even Faster Delivery
I'm not sure I'm ever gonna understand the need of most people under 30 to receive their packages with such dispatch. Is it compensation for procrastination of just because its available. Whatever the motivation, convenience has been the number one driving force behind ecommerce sites’ success. With the increasing demand for convenience, however, same-day delivery features are posing new challenges. Online stores, for example, may encounter the need for higher price tags. Putting a driver behind a wheel for same-day delivery is far from cheap. But technology help is on the way. In the near future, solutions to the delivery obstacle, at least, will come in the form of automated vehicles and drones. Ecommerce behemoths like Amazon are already looking to pave the way with such technology with their airship warehouses and drone air force. For now, sites aiming to gain a competitive edge are offering consumers faster deliveries with lower prices.