How Generation Alpha will influence CX in the future?
While brands are busy navigating the expectations of current customers), the next generation of shoppers are already quietly equipping themselves with knowledge, technology expertise, and social awareness.
Generation Alpha is defined as having been born in or after 2010, and despite their young age, they are already influencing family buying decisions and making online purchases of their own. They’re the first truly digital generation totally immersed in modern technology. An assumption that is largely proven by the observation that most 4 year olds can navigate their way around an iPad faster than their parents. Before you know it, they will be a significant portion of the digital economy and companies need to be ready to offer the customer experiences (CX) that will work best for that generation.
Current Gen Alpha Trends
Marketers are noticing Gen Alpha because they’re not only influencing buying decisions, they’re making their own online purchases. Observing how Gen Alpha members currently interact online provides a starting point to learn about their unique habits and how they evolve over time. While these trends will likely change as they grow older and start earning for themselves, there are some unique characteristics that can help brands connect with Gen Alpha now and start to build genuine and lasting relationships with them.
Of all the generations, Gen Alpha is observed to be the most influenced by what they see on social media. But it extends beyond that, socially integrated apps are driving a new form of e-commerce in this generation.
Social commerce experienced growth of 36% in 2021. This is a trend social media platforms such as Instagram have already picked up on by enabling shoppable posts and stories. When customers have become accustomed to seeing something they like on social media and being able to immediately shop for it with a single click, it raises the expectations for all other types of digital brand experiences and this is particularly true for Gen Alpha.
Nearly all generations have become accustomed to always having a mobile phone with them and Gen Alpha is no exception. Research indicates that 49% of Gen Alpha members already have their own phones and 69% have tablets. They use these devices to stay connected to the world around them, often preferring to message friends rather than talk in-person.
This highlights the important role that creating digital connections and communications are likely to play with Gen Alpha customers. Keeping in mind how young and easily influenced they are, brands also have a responsibility to give careful consideration to the experiences they create and how they may influence this youngest of generations.
Making the world a better place is a value that matters to Gen Alpha and it translates to how they interact with brands online. Because they’ve been exposed to media and information from a young age, there’s a greater consciousness about environmental and social issues that influences how they shop. Many brands are upping their game in terms of sustainability and social responsibility, but this can’t just be a PR exercise.
Younger generations of customers are well informed about social and environmental issues and will be quick to see through efforts that are not authentic, or don’t actually benefit the environment or society. Their reliance on social media can be a powerful tool for brands as quickly as it can become a major liability if this channel is used to share negative thoughts. Stories about a brand can go viral and have a lasting impact with Gen Alpha members.
Optimizing for CX of the future
Already CX is challenging because of the many variables always in flux. The future of CX is likely to become even more complex. This is why brands need to shift their approach so that it’s more holistic and agile, incorporating the whole customer journey and focused on continual learning.
Brands leading the way in terms of CX for today’s consumers have a customer-centric approach. They don’t rely much on third-party cookies or demographics to understand behavior. Rather they look at how visitors are navigating their website and what actions they’re taking at every touchpoint in the journey. Recognizing the importance of being able to experiment with multiple experiences and responding more accurately and quickly to changing customer preferences.
Technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) thrive on continual learning and can make sense of vast volumes of constantly changing data. This is why AI is ideally suited to improving CX. As customer preferences shift, new insights are generated and brands can pivot their strategies accordingly. Unlike traditional testing tools, AI-driven experience optimization learns in real time. The more information there is to process, the more accurate the insights generated become as time goes on.
This represents an opportunity to create better customer experiences for Gen Alpha in the future. Starting to learn now how they’re interacting online through experimentation and seeing how responses change over the next five years can give brands a unique competitive advantage. AI-driven experimentation and personalization doesn’t just generate data that gets filed away. It generates insights informed by continual learning, based on observing how real digital visitors respond to different ideas and experiences. Over time, because the volume of insights keeps growing, brands can get more accurate in serving experiences that engage with visitors and convert and retain them as customers.
Gen Alpha’s eldest are already 11 years of age. Many have their own Amazon Prime accounts and make their own purchases. They may not be earning yet, but they certainly know how to navigate the internet and find what they want. They’re influencing and being influenced by the world around them and they’re no less demanding than other generations when it comes to CX. Quite significantly, they’re drawn to brands who deliver authentic experiences and demonstrate how they’re contributing to make the world a better place, both socially and environmentally.
Brands can learn an incredible amount by listening to the voice of the customer (VoC). Rather than be put off by all the unknowns of how Gen Alpha members might impact online shopping in the future, there’s an opportunity to start optimizing CX now by understanding how current visitors navigate through a customer journey and observing how this changes over time. There’s no limit on the number of ideas and combinations that can be experimented with AI-driven experience optimization which makes it the ideal platform to optimize and improve CX for current generations of customers and into the future.