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Sentimental Insights For CXO

30 September 2014
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A Millenial’s Past To Present Analysis on Purchase Behavior

For this week’s blog post, I would like to explore how the rapidly evolving technology landscape has shaped millennial purchase behavior. Through the lens of my past, I will highlight 3 key considerations that businesses should keep in mind throughout their customer experience optimization (CXO) efforts:

1. Ensure Instant Access to Brand Info

2. Deliver Personalized Experiences to Customers

3. Integrate Online-Offline Shopping Experiences

Now let’s take a trip back in time: SayItSocial’s Ty Downing remembers using ICQ instant messenger in the 90’s (I was 5 years old when it first came out in 1996). I remember using AIM (AOL Instant Messenger)- often times coming home from school to immediately message my friends (and crushes) within the socially safe context of a digital chat. This was my generation’s first exposure to “instant” technology, and would lay the foundation for my underlying expectation for instant gratification in the future.

icq-logo-2012

Then came MySpace and Facebook, and our lives were documented and publicized more than ever before. Surges of dopamine spread through our brains as my high-school friends and I continuously engaged online and created digital identities that showcased our best selves. Logging on to Facebook meant seeing my life in a digital form. I developed the unconscious expectation (or hope) that logging on would clue me on what was new and cool in my world and hence also developed an addiction to engaging to zuck’s social network. My unique posts, photos, and interests (now classified as “likes”) became part of my online identity – my profile became an extension of myself.

As we know, Facebook lets me publicly advertise my interests and personality. It uses this information to deliver information that is relevant to me. Facebook has figured out how to make my online experience personal– and that’s why I keep coming back to it.

After Facebook, social media exploded (how many channels can you name off the top of your head?) and the business world soon realized the importance of maintaining a social presence to stay relevant in the minds of consumers. I had the privilege of exploring new social platforms across a multitude of evolving mobile devices. Our affinity for phones and tablets has skyrocketed since they first hit the market. According to a 2014 survey conducted by Sales Force, 90% of those aged 18-24 agreed that mobile devices are a central part of everyday life. The survey also found its respondents to spend a whopping 3.3 hours per day on their smartphones.

Like my Facebook, my smartphone is an extension of myself and gives me access to information that I, Ian Western, need at any particular moment in time. Instant access to product information via smartphones in our pockets means that customers can now make more informed purchase decisions than ever before. I’m not a huge online shopper because I like to test things out/try them on before I purchase them. On the rare occasion I do go shopping, I make a point to check the price of an item online to see if I can get a better deal. Often times, if I pull up an Amazon product page with a lower price than a retailer and show it to a sales rep; they agree to sell it to me for that price!

I also follow brands on social media that broadcast interesting/relevant content and keep me up to date on their promotions and deals. Although infrequently, social media promotions have definitely inspired my purchase decisions or have led me to seek more information about a product or service. My shopping efforts often begin on my mac or iPhone, and continue on into the store. Online to Offline. The fact that this is how I shop shows that the days of wandering the mall in a traditional shopping experience are over. The future success businesses with brick and mortar shops will depend on their ability to deliver an integrated online-offline experience for their customers

Ok, so I’ve tried to paint a picture of how technological evolution has coincided with purchaser behavior evolution – albeit a brief, rough, and maybe biased one. Nevertheless, the truths above in bold hold true:

Businesses must give their customers instant access to a personalized and integrated shopping experience in order to generate brand loyal advocates.

About Ian Western

Ian joins SayItSocial with an arsenal of brand, sports, and digital marketing experience. He feverishly devours all kinds of media - digital or otherwise - which adds to his unique perspective on millenial marketing. When unplugging, Ian can be found blasting house music while riding atop some type of bike, board, or boat. LinkedIn

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