"These kids, they're so different". That's what my mom used to say when I blasted my Run DMC cassette from my boombox and busted out some fancy break-moves. She didn’t “get it”, but she was ok with that. Being a technology dude, I don’t have that luxury, so I am on a constant mission to understand the younger generations, especially when it comes to the way they communicate and interact online.
Their communication and online behavior should dictate the way we shift our experiences and if you’re not listening to what they’re saying, then you will be in a pickle.
The online marketplace is constantly evolving and in order to evolve with it, you need to be paying close attention to those that are driving the demand… you know, our youngins. Those kids that act like they don’t have time to read or write properly. The same kids that communicate via text and chat in what appears to be modern short-hand and scan content like they always have somewhere to be (like the couch). They barely even speak on the phone anymore. What does this do to the way we currently create content for commerce... Will we have to speak caveman in order to move the needle? Forget persuasion, it will be more like: “Product great - You Need, You Buy Now!”
Here’s an interesting little chart for you to sink your teeth into.
My 18yr. old daughter shares a family plan with my wife and I. The monthly reports are absolutely insane. My kid doesn’t say 5 sentences when we’re hanging out, yet sends over 2,100 text messages on a monthly basis. All text, I say! And an average of about 200 calls, which I am sure at least 15% of those are me calling her.
I bet that there are a few parents looking at this chart thinking "Shut up - That's nothing compared to my kid".
What does this chart prove? That they don’t communicate like we used to. They want faster information, less bullshit and more straight-to-the-point content. This means that the days of swelling up product pages with descriptions that have marketing fluff are coming to a very quick end. When this generation shops online, they scan pages for big sexy images, pricing and simple bullet points with basic info. This is so second nature to them that we are starting to create experiences with less tooltips and alerts.
My daughter does about 85% of her shopping online, so I decided to use her as a test-subject, otherwise known as use-case of 1. I asked her “what are the most important things to you when you’re buying something on a site?”. She said “Really good images, how much is it and when can I have it”. Seems logical, right? If I can download several gigs in a few minutes, I should be able to get a Justin Bieber life size stand-up poster in a day, right?
Not only that, but lets think about what’s inspiring this gen… Images, video and simple content. There’s a reason why Facebook acquired Instagram for 1-Billion dollars. 90% of the 150,000,000 users on Instagram are under the age of 35 and 37% of those users are 18-29 as of February 2014. Simplicity at its finest.
I also asked her about shipping concerns. She told me that most sites ship free or cheap anyways, so she didn’t care too much. It was more about speed and availability. She's right - Free shipping “all night long” like Lionel Ritchie up in here. It’s happening everywhere and I can hear the small shop owners screaming “Free shipping… inconceivable!” - I will cover shipping in another post.
Anyways, I had her walk me through a purchase for something she needed, so she went to amazon (of course), skimmed through the pages and added 2 items to her cart. Single click checkout was enabled, so she entered a password and there it went. Just like that, $57 of my hard earned bucks gone in less than 3 minutes.
What does this mean to e-tailers, you ask?
Not that I think you should base your product page decisions on my use-case, but that we need to do a much better job of paying attention to how this new generation (insert letter or number here) is communicating and how they’re shopping. We need to be smarter about creating simple, relevant content and be much better at communicating with imagery. Be straight to the point and take the time to clean up copy, specially the madness that manufacturers send along with their products.
Now go sell something. Cheers, Javier