New era in the world of e-commerce creates new consumers. And the one who knows its consumers the best wins in the fierce competition. These are the words written by PJ Utsi, co-founder of Vaimo, in the article on dagenshandel.se, where he gave concrete tips on how to meet the new e-commerce customer.
To satisfy today’s consumers is not an easy task. It is particularly difficult for online merchants since the ability to see and study visitors is not the same as in a physical store. Adding the fact that web is growing at a fast pace, where consumers are always one step ahead, makes the task even more difficult. Take for example the growing use of mobile devices!
During 2014, the traffic from mobile devices exploded, passing the amount of traffic coming from desktop. During the first week of December 2014, 7 out of 10 Vaimo’s largest clients had more than half of the traffic coming from smartphones and tablets. At the beginning of the year this number was 3 out of 10. This has an effect on the bricks and mortar stores as well, since half of all purchases, regardless of whether they are completed in store or online, begin on a mobile device.
We have reached a tipping-point within the mobile revolution, but it doesn’t mean that the development is slowing down - on the contrary. Consumers are continuing getting new gadgets, developing new habits and new requirements in an ever so rapid pace and they are getting harder to please - especially if you’re not keeping up with the changes.
Consumers develop, but what characterises them and what does it take to keep them satisfied and loyal? Lets start by looking at five key characteristics of today's new consumers which can be difficult to detect and understand if you are not born in the 90s.
Today’s modern consumers are very technical, constantly online, refuse to wait, switch between smartphone, computer and tablet and expect the same experience regardless of device they use. Today, the approach to technology and innovation that characterises the early adopter, applies to a majority of the younger generation - this is a significant difference from the older generation.
Social media has made the modern consumer more social and open, but at the same time more lonely than ever. The dependence on mobile phones has reached new heights and more time is spent on sharing life with casual acquaintances online, than hanging out with close friends in real life. This phenomenon is new and us surely being discussed during many dinners and coffee breaks.
Self - absorbed
The modern consumer puts himself/herself first and is used to everything being hyper-personalized. When every app on the phone automatically knows who you are, what you like and what you did last, it’s a pain browsing on a site that constantly takes you to a generic start page and, in addition, askes you to log in every time. Also, a bad customer experience on a site is spread like wildfire among loved ones - not to mention casual acquaintances.
Life today is filled with decisions to make, media to be consumed and information to be digested. The modern consumer has, more than ever, lack of time and patience. You want to avoid complex situations, surprises, insecurity and unnecessary choices. Frictions and things that complicate every day life are discarded instantly, for example a long text on a site, a slow site or a tricky webshop checkout.
The modern consumer is suspicious and tired of both personal and impersonal marketing. The automatic approach to a new business or shop is often skepticism, which often puts the merchant at a disadvantage from the go. Consumers are much more skeptical today than 10 years ago. But today’s consumers are at the end still people and really want to see and feel personal approach to help them to develop loyalty.
The question is, how should you meet and communicate with this technical, lonely, self-absorbed, stressed and skeptical consumer? Here are some straightforward tips:
1 ) Showcase technology and innovation - the young generation of consumers are so called "Digital natives" and instinctively react positively to innovation and technologically advanced features. They have an eye for the latest gadgets, social networks and trends. The more you show that you keep up and can present a constant flow of new things, the more relevant and interesting you will be perceived. But do not complicate it. Technology must make life easier for the consumers - otherwise the effect is opposite.
2) Counter stress - speed up your site! Every tenth of a second that you can reduce page load time will lower the stress levels of your visitors. Also, be extra clear, present distinct alternatives and create contained experiences. This may involve reducing the number of colour choices on a product page or create a checkout which does not contain any menu. And work with design and content that speaks to the consumers feelings. Stressed consumers are more likely to go on gut feeling and recommendations.
3) Show personality and humanity - even though we live our lives more and more online, we are still human beings and we want to have personal relationships and we want to trust those we do business with. By being transparent and personal in all communication, consumers will find it easier to trust you. This may involve the use of pictures of the employees in customer service, sending handwritten greetings with all packages or using a personal approach in a product recommendation.
The future is bright for e-commerce in general, with both young "digital natives" and a bit older "digital immigrants”, who increasingly shop online. But the competition is fierce and the one who does not keep up with with the development pace is likely to quickly fall behind. This applies especially to the new generation of consumers.
I hope these thoughts and tips can help you as a merchant to trim the right products, promotions and features online. Despite the fact that digital and traditional commerce will continue to develop in the future, I can promise you that there is one truth that will still apply - anyone who knows their customer best, wins!
Happy New e-commerce Year!
PJ Utsi, Chief Creative Officer and co-founder of Vaimo