Are you a marketer lost among the sea of new technologies? Don’t know your next more or where to spend your cash? Well, watching exactly what “Gen C” is up to would be a pretty good place to start.
Gen C – or Generation Connected – are the under 16s who’ve never known anything but the internet and smartphones. And as managing director of online survey software firm Qualtrics, Bill McMurray, says the Gen Cs might not have any spending power now but just wait another five or 10 years. And knowing their movements now should shape any business’s future marketing strategy.
“These kids have no idea what it’s like not to be in an online environment. Sure, they’ve got very little money now but when they’re 26 and have jobs and are earning money they’re going to be huge spenders,” McMurray said.
McMurray agreed that into the future customers would shop online but not necessarily at the expense of bricks and mortar. “There’s just some things you have to go into a store to buy and people will continue to enjoy the retail experience,” he said.
That said, the website will often remain a customer’s first port of call be it for comparisons, price, range, whatever.
“And it should be all about the website and it needs to be frictionless. A website should be easy to get onto, find what you want, compare, and when a customer wants to buy it has to be easy to go to the cart and purchase and know when it will be shipped and how easy it is to return if it’s the wrong product.
“If the customer hits a stumbling block, they can’t navigate it, they can’t find what they want, they go to the shopping cart and it’s more expensive, all those things can stop a transaction. And if anyone finds a reason to leave a website then they’re not coming back,” he said.
And for Generation C it’s all about their smartphones. “If your website doesn’t look good and present well on a smartphone then don’t bother,” McMurray said. “The moment they hit a problem they’re gone, it’s all over. They’re fickle, you upset them they’re gone. If it’s not seamless then they won’t even bother.
“If someone’s stuck and needs help you need something that senses that and can pop-up in front of the consumer and ask if they’re having trouble. The retailer needs to know why the customer wants to exit. Is it price? Then when they try and leave something needs to pop up and ask ‘why are you leaving?’ If it’s too expensive then have the pop up say ‘if you execute this transaction in the next 10 minutes then here’s an extra 10 per cent discount’.”
McMurray, whose worked extensively in the US but now runs Qualtrics Sydney HQ, agreed Aussie retailers had been off the pace with the digital side of their business but were now “putting a lot of effort into improving things significantly”.
He cited the rise in aggregator sites in Australia as evidence that many retailers didn’t offer a good online experience. “If your brand is strong you don’t want to be involved with these, you want the customer coming to your website. Every time a customer interacts with you on your website you want to provide them with the most frictionless, seamless interaction. Retailers also need to know it’s not all about price.
“And no, it’s not just youth brands, it’s every brand. It’s things like banks and insurance companies, if they don’t ineract easily with them (Gen Cs) over their phones or smart device then they will look for a competitor who will. If it’s not click and swipe and drag and drop they are not going to do it,” he said.
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