The percentage of consumers who are tech savvy is increasing constantly. This is not entirely a result of the rising percentage of millennials that make up the overall buying public, but it certainly plays a role.
Millennials and generation Z are digital natives. As a result, they are more likely to embrace new and emerging technologies and trends in e-commerce. This group now also has the spending power to make a huge impact on sales and a business’s bottom line.
In 2019, millennials are set to become the largest living adult generation. It is a demographic tipping point that will be happening the world over. This generation and those hot on their tail are the groups that online sellers need to reach most.
As this group grows along with generation Z, it will be mirrored by a continued surge in online sales.
The proportion of money spent online versus in brick and mortar outlets increases year-on-year. While physical sales still dominate overall during the course of the year, online is catching up fast – and it is catching up fastest among younger consumers.
To answer the question of how to support this group best, sellers first need to establish what millennials expect from an online sales experience.
At a minimum, they expect fast and accessible customer service. According to research, 25% of millennials expect to get a response within 10 minutes after reaching out for customer service via social media.
This is in stark contrast with the 41% of consumers who expect a six-hour turnaround for emails according to Forrester Research, who also discovered that only 36% of retailers respond that quickly. Some 14% never respond at all.
When social media first took off, for many brands it represented a fantastically affordable mechanism for targeted marketing messages. But social media is a two-way street.
According to Microsoft’s State of Global Customer Service Report, about 47% of 18-34-year-olds used social media to complain about a brand’s service, and they’ll take a multi-platform approach switching between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.
These aren’t just channels for sharing marketing, they’re channels for deep engagement.
To that point, 64% of millennials want companies to offer more ways to share their opinions online. So says Bazaarvoice – to win over this group brands must engage millennials in a two-way conversation where they feel involved and in the process. Listening to and acting on consumer feedback is key.
Millennials are also more likely to go online for product reviews, with 51% saying consumer opinions found on a company’s website have a greater impact on purchase decisions than recommendations from family and friends according to Bazaarvoice.
Companies that can analyse and act on crowd-sourced information will thrive.
Investing in live chat and social media integration will be crucial in providing personalised, real-time information and responses to customers. Unique helpdesks are designed especially to tackle the demands of e-commerce, pulling in queries from multiple online platforms and marketplaces into one easy to use dashboard.
However, they are no longer just for big companies, with big budgets.
Now small and medium enterprises are focused more and more on growth and development and as a result know they need a solution to work harder for them.
By being able to pull in queries from multiple sources, retailers of any size can react quickly to customer enquiries with all of the information about a sale available via one click. Sellers can see exact details about a customer order to shipping times and delivery estimates.
If done correctly the right help desk will integrate across key marketplaces such as Amazon, eBay and shopfronts like BigCommerce, Magento and Shopify, and provide the seller with information about current and past transactions – allowing them to respond to queries as quickly as possible.
With e-commerce revenue expected to reach $4.1 trillion by 2020, the ability to effectively scale customer support will only grow more vital to sellers.
Ray Nolan is CEO of eDesk by xSellco.
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