What the next generation can teach us about the upcoming 10-plus years

Breakneck—that’s how fast consumers’ expectations around ecommerce are changing. While consumers expect and adapt to change one day at a time, brands are struggling to keep a pulse on where the future of ecommerce is heading.

How much personalization is enough and achievable? What will in-person experiences look like? How do we create engaging customer experiences in an ever-connected world?

To know what the future of ecommerce and the guest experience will look like and which trends will stick, let’s ask the future: kids. I watch my children ages 3, 5 and 7, and their expectations around technology and shopping are vastly different than mine.

While our current customers inform us about today’s ecommerce experiences, we must listen to the next generation to peek into the future of ecommerce. Here are three trends worth watching, supported by insights from the Global Web Index:

Mindset: Kids care

Kids today are in touch and empathetic. Their values lean more progressive than generations before them, and they listen to influencers who reflect their values.

Insights:

  • Teens say caring for the planet is more important (44%) than caring about what their peers think of them (28%) or having the latest fashion (23%).
  • The top three most important concerns for teens are: helping people (61%), ensuring everyone is treated the same (55%) and protecting people from bullying (45%).

The mindset of 8- to 15-year-olds can give clues to their preferences and digital needs, indicating where trends may shift in the future. These clues affect what and how brands sell and position themselves.

Equality, inclusion and environmental activism are essential to this group, and they want to see these values reflected in the brands they admire.

Digital behavior: Kids are immersed

Without a doubt, gaming is a predominant outlet for nearly every kid, beating out 30-plus other interests, including music and TV. And with smartphones, they have greater, easier access to these outlets than ever before.

Insights:

  • As many as 93% of boys aged 8 to 11 and 79% of girls aged 12 to 15 say they’ve played video games in the past month.
  • 65% of kids aged 8 to 11 own or have access to a mobile phone at home.

Kids’ immersive digital behavior helps marketers understand how this generation might react to new and creative ecommerce experiences. Will shopping become more gamified? Or maybe our “Clueless” dreams will come true, and we can mix and match outfits like Cher Horowitz to send to our friends via social channels before purchasing.

Media and content consumption: Kids are engaged

Kids and teens are taking social media engagement to a whole new level. While platforms like Facebook have shown staying power, trends point to younger audiences shunning traditional social channels for video-based ones.

Insights:

  • Finding funny posts is the No. 1 reason teens use social media (62%), followed by searching for things they want to buy (54%).
  • Monthly usage of TikTok among Gen Z more than tripled between 2019 (11%) and Q3 2020 (34%).

Once these kids become adults, where do brands need to be visible? Will incorporating humor lead to higher engagement? The content our teens respond to can give us clues about where the industry might be heading and how brands can establish enduring bonds with their evolving audiences.

The future is human-focused—experiences must be, too

When I think about the future of ecommerce, I can’t help but be inspired by those who will shape it.

Yes, those kids who are glued to their phones. The teens who taught us how to use TikTok and got us hooked on Minecraft. The ones who care about the planet and the ones who want to address bullying.

But to build meaningful, flexible and personal guest experiences, we need to create experiences that speak to audiences the way they want to engage with brands.

At Target, we put the guest at the center of everything we do, so we built a media network that does that, too. Roundel develops media solutions that seamlessly fit within the guest experience for the way people shop, even as that method changes.

As marketers continue to adapt to keeping pace with today’s consumer, they must continue to be innovative when developing strategies to deliver exceptional ecommerce experiences.

Source: AdWeek