April 27, 2015

Millennials show the way into mobile first shopping

Jari Kekkonen

CTO, Customer Experience Management, Tieto

Excellent customer experience is absolutely vital in today's highly competitive market. Life used to be so much simpler for retailers. In the old days, you placed a print, radio or television ad to attract shoppers to your store. Now we are living an era where shopping is more than just buying—it is a form of entertainment.

Before making a purchase or even stepping into a store, most people—especially Millennials—inform themselves online. They read reviews, make lists, compare brands or models, discuss products with their peers and so on. The quaint hypothesis that a person might just buy a product after seeing one great ad or reading a single positive review posted on social media is hardly ever the case. Marketing, communications and sales need to operate in new and innovative ways.

We as marketers are talking about omni-channel shopping, where shopping takes place through a mix of personal mobile devices and computers, traditional print medias and actual physical stores. Accordingly, the customer experience must be coherent and consistent across all touchpoints, from webstore to in-store technologies—digital screens, tech-aided customer service and everything else should be seamlessly integrated into a broader strategy of appealing to modern consumers.

While there are many specific ways to resolve these individual issues, there are a few unavoidable factors that all retailers must face. If your business is not prepared for these features, it may have a difficult and short future.

Tieto CEM infograph

Millennials are leading the way—get ready

How Millennials live will soon be how the rest of us live. Young people have always led trends, and there is no sign of this pattern relenting. The way millennials are now shopping will shortly be the "new normal". That is, the new normal will be mobile. 72% of Millennials research and shop for their options online before going to a store or the mall. Similarly, an eMarketer survey found that Millennials shop for more than an hour each day, and furthermore, 37% of them would prefer to buy everything online. Millennials are not loyal shoppers; they are thrifty shoppers. When young people pull out their smartphones in the middle of a shopping trip, they are making comparisons, shopping around and cleverly filtering your carefully crafted marketing messages. But all is not lost. According to a recent study by Deloitte, 22% of shoppers actually spend more money as a result of their online research.

Shopping is no longer just buying

Millennials shop 24/7, but they don't buy 24/7. Nearly 50% of those surveyed admit they regularly browse for items that they don't necessarily plan on buying. If Millennials view shopping as entertainment, and entertainment as more important than actually buying, malls and brick-and mortar stores must also become compelling and entertaining destinations.

Pocket-sized shops

Mobile user experiences play a vital role in our current multi-channel environment. Consumers are ever increasingly using mobile devices, and even Google is about to show preferential treatment to mobile optimised websites. Soon, when you search from your smartphone or tablet, Google will filter out results that are not optimized for your device. Businesses that fail to adapt to this SEO shake-up may lose potential customers that are out shopping in their area. Having a seamless mobile customer experience has never been more important.

Entice people into physical stores

Although online shopping is surrounded by inexhaustible hype as well as actual (and remarkable growth), the staggering majority of purchases are made in stores. Drawing online shoppers to brick-and-mortar stores (for example, by using click-and-collect sales options) is a straightforward means to boost sales; omni-channel customers spend 93% more per transaction than customers that only shop online. The popularity of click-and-collect has been increasing heavily during last years among online shoppers which creates new opportunities for retailers to target these click-and-collect customers with personal in-store-only promotions.

While the growing length of the customer journey has made it difficult for retailers to provide and maintain a coherent customer experience, it has also opened up new opportunities for those businesses willing to adapt to the new omni-channel thinking. Millennials are showing us the digital future of shopping, and this understanding is what we at Tieto want to bring to our clients. Preparing for the future is preparing for the present.

You can read more about Tieto CEM here, check out the full CEM infographic here.

Digital customer experience management in retail

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