Generation Omnichannel

May 7, 2018
Anna Lokki

At WERK we’re strong believers of omnichannel being the way forward in retail. But in finding the right strategy for your brand it’s crucial to take your audience into consideration. The modern retail landscape is occupied by a huge variety of different groups from ‘Instagrandmas’ to ‘Bookworm Babies’ and having a deeper understanding of how all the different consumer groups really see omnichannel should be fitted firmly in the agenda. For example for the tech savvy youngsters omnichannel shopping is the only thing they know, whereas many more senior shoppers are only just learning the concept of online retailing. So how to take the needs of the different generations into account when developing a new omnichannel strategy?

Buckle up and get ready for a ride through the omnichannel journey with the more commonly known consumer segments and how omnichannel can be built just for them!

Baby Boomers

“Half of Baby Boomers call themselves price-savvy shoppers, far more than younger generations” -MediaPost

Physical stores only, with a strictly set shopping habits and routines? Think again! Sure, Baby Boomers are the ones to appreciate good old customer service — some might even expect the gracious “Madame, how may we help You” with their bread and butter. But don’t let this fool you into thinking these energetic adults aren’t fit for the omnichannel experience. Many of the fully non-digital older consumers in this group actually belong to the Silent Generation (the ones before baby boomers) and the ability to adopt new ways of shopping and service is often underestimated.

Many of the Baby Boomers are perfectly able and willing to go online. There’s plenty of free time and considerable disposable income to spend. The volumes are smaller, sure, but do not underestimate the potential here. The willingness to stay healthy, able and active is on top of their list and all services and products related to these topics are in high demand. After-all 60 is the new 50!

Many Baby Boomers follow their children and grandchildren on social media, and unlike many younger generations, social media advertisement is still cool and fascinating — eg. effective. Find the balance in fascinating with personal advertisement but don’t make the online experience feel too alien for them.

Make them feel safe in buying online. Many online solutions are new to them, which require practise and time to adapt. Build an experience of convenience with a strong personalised service— something that looks and feels familiar and is easily approachable.

Being the most brand loyal generation, educating this generation to the wonders of the online shopping and creating service concepts that emphasise educative aspect might the magic key for the baby boomers hearts.

Generation X

“85% of Generation X consumers report that discounts influenced their last purchase” — MediaPost

Generation X group is an omnichannel retailers gem in many ways. Many have families with kids and lives set into normal work-school-life routines like a well oiled machine. Purchasing power is strong, but many struggle with one key challenge: time! (And the family chaos when the machine isn’t so well oiled.) Career lives secure a good disposable income, which the kids are busy eating away and the parents are faced with many needs to fulfil in their daily lives.

Gen X is well informed of all the social media channels (or at least their existence) but still not likely to swipe up an instastory for that vegan lunchbox subscription from a bloggers tips list, but rather consider it as unnecessary spam. For many of them online is online, offline is offline — the lines between the 2 channels are fairly black and white. So what do people with busy lives and a short online tension span look for in an omnichannel experience?

Convenience, speed and personal consideration. Let them see that you want to help them get everything possible out of their daily life. Cut out all unnecessary sugar coating and get to the point, fast! Make online shopping convenient and help ease the daily chaos of career and family life. But remember to allow them to indulge when shopping offline — offering them the escape from real life they need. Tangible things and meaningful experiences are high up on the wishlist. But remember that often when you serve Gen X, you’re kind of serving 2 adults and 2,5 kids at the same time! Ready to accept the challenge? We encourage you do as the rewards behind this multitasker shopper are great when tapped into correctly!


“82% of Millennials say word-of-mouth is a key influencer of their purchase decision” — Salesfloor

Communities, influencers, lifestyle. For millennials, retail choices mean lifestyle. As diginative as they might be, they still (some more vaguely than others though) remember the time before instagram and snapchat. They go crazy about their new wearable tech and whatever digital that tells them the data analytics about their life. Because, oh boy, millennials seek for balance between control and experiences that make them feel alive. It might seem like they don’t live if they can’t post their heart beat to the cloud and share it. Purchase decisions have very much shifted from just product and price drivers towards meaningful and memorable experiences.

Unlike the older generations these young adults appreciate quality over quantity. Unlike their parents they are not the ‘hunter-gatherers‘ and each product needs to play a significant role for them. Millenials are well-informed of the world around them and driven by their value structure. Their opinions are based on word-of-mouth and their life is widely shared on social media. And in many ways Millennials are the dream brand-ambassadors — but that’s if they’re happy with you. So do consider that the boobytrap with these youngsters, that they are also the fastest to turn their back on you with any sign of fake or non-credible content.

In order to sell your omnichannel strategy to millennials — mobile and social media is the way to go. Sometimes, as they are all about online, Millennials forget the added value of offline. The same aspirational experience world needs to continue in the physical environments. So build around meaningful product values and all things to feed the senses. Sound, sight, sense and smell — 4 key items to a Millenial offline experience.

Show your story through mobile; Millenials like to follow influencers and seek for the dream life — show them which part your omnichannel strategy could play in their dream life. This means that you need to truly know your customers and know the life they are seeking for. Can you educate them on consuming more ethically, for example?

Generation Z

63% of Gen Z´s want to see “real people” rather than celebrities in advertisement. — Marketwired

Who are they and where do they come from? These youngsters, aka post-millennials, are not aliens, they’re just born with all things digital. They use omnichannel’s touchpoints seamlessly; they can interact with brands online while browsing the brick-and-mortar store. As they don’t know the world before digital, they could be assumed to only shop online — yet that’s not the reality. Post-millennials actually do want to go brick-and-mortars — they seek for experiences and interaction.

Sure, they do also know what’s going on in this world. They follow youtubers and other social media influencers. They educate themselves (you see, if it can’t be learned from youtube, is it even worth learning really?) Styles need to come for them instaready and values matter — as they grow up, they will probably become even more aware of ethical issues than millennials by educating themselves constantly. Post-millennials also appreciate brands that have the same values or rather missions they have and the ways they are giving back to community.

For post-millennials the most important thing is that they see your brand as one — whichever channel they are using. Remember, these guys are not known for their patience — if they can’t get the information asap they simply take their money elsewhere. They don’t wait for a 2 week delivery, nor do they understand a ‘we don’t have this available’ from sales staff. They are in many cases more omnichannel native than retailers can handle. They want to be a part of the brand’s story; so could you offer them a chance to collaborate with you? They require interaction — post-millennials do not consume, they live and swipe, tap or go to store or any other touchpoint you can give them. Are you able to offer them the whole range of different ways to encounter your brand?

Now get out there and omnichannel!

Fullfilling all these expectations is all about personalisation and knowing your customer segments. The fact that one-size-fits-all does not apply to omnichannel, means also, that the generations only give a rough guideline for different age groups. There are so many demographics and customer types in each of the generations mentioned. So start profiling your consumer and map out how their future as a shopper looks like in a world of omnichannel retail!

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