In July 2019, American teenager Kyle Giersdorf won $3 million in New York taking the top prize in a tournament for the popular online video game Fortnite. My first reaction was $3 million for a video game competition? I can’t believe it!
When you stop and think about it – during almost all of the last few decades, newer generations have always been way ahead in productivity than the previous generation. For example, Gen Y could probably live with limited internet and our modern smart technologies, but Gen Z literally can’t imagine life without them. The buying power of Generation Z is rapidly increasing – by 2020 they’ll make up 40% of consumers, according to a recent whitepaper by CrowdTwist*. This swift shift to all things digital is quickly changing consumer demographics.
Each generation has its own buying habits, from subtle nuances to complete shifts. It is important for you to recognize and cater to the unique needs and wants of your consumer generation(s). For example, many consumers now prefer engaging using touch and voice while on the move, which makes mobile apps a preferred medium as compared to web browsers. For the current generation, a quality user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is critical as this directly affects the convenience the app offers to consumers and helps create and maintain brand loyalty. Organizations should consider modernization of their UI/UX strategies to create both authentic and effortless buying experiences to reach the maximum audience and maintain market share.
Generation Z buyers are not only digital native, they are also social media native. In fact, 80% of purchases by this generation are influenced by social media, with Instagram (44%), Snapchat (21%) and YouTube (32%) channels making the most impact*. Look at the rise of “social influencers” with sponsored images, vlogs and more hawking everything from makeup, cleaning products, direct delivery meals, and more. The organizations that study and understand their targeted consumers likes and dislikes, and focus on digital advertising via the platforms where they spend most of their time are seeing success! This has been the case over the last few decades, where early technology adopters have reaped rich benefits.
Companies who haven’t adapted to changing customer behavior have always faced challenges. A renowned example is the kitchen & bedding brand – Bed, Bath and Beyond. It is now racing to win back customers to salvage its brand and market-share in this shift of modern retailing. “The company has not kept pace with how the customer has evolved and how consumers shop today,” said interim CEO Mary Winston. Inability to fulfill customer requirements have resulted in shuttering at least 40 Bed, Bath and Beyond stores in 2019 and it will likely close more. Company leaders are also betting on its “next-generation lab stores” to draw customers back.
Organizations should study how some of the world’s top 100 companies have evolved since dawn of the internet era and leveraged technologies to better understand their customers behavior, preferences, changing habits, desires etc. Take a leaf out of their book, as each of them had adopted or are in process of adopting fresh concepts and digital transformation to streamline how they engage with consumers and cater to their worldwide audience.
Here are 4 examples of how market-leaders have leveraged digital technologies for growth over the years:
- Domino’s Pizza Evolves through Mobile Experiences: Till 7 years ago, domino’s had a very time-consuming ordering process. To order a pizza on the web, it took more than 25 steps and a lot of time which resulted in bad user experiences and lost customers. They took a hard look at the process and introduced new customer profiles which allowed customers to auto-fill details and preferences etc., cutting the total steps to order down to 5. Their conversion rates shot up! As the use of smartphones evolved, customers began to expect even faster more simpler ways to place their orders. So Domino’s then employed the latest mobile app development practices to introduce a mobile app that saved customer’s regular order details. It placed the order automatically in 10 seconds based on preferences—zero clicks, zero friction.* They provided almost instant gratification! This innovation changed the game in their market. Taking Domino’s thinking and innovative approach can dramatically change a customer’s perspective of your brand and significantly drive more loyalty.
- GE’s big step with Big Data: General Electric is a house-hold name for everything from lightbulbs, to power plants, to locomotives and hospital equipment. Their footprint has become quite vast. In 2015, they found it was necessary to invest in technologies to help them better analyze how each business and was doing and identify areas for improvement. They implemented big data analytics. The company now places sensors on their gas turbines, jet engines, and other machines; connects them to the cloud; and analyzes the resulting flow of data to identify ways to improve machine productivity and reliability. Even minute actions of employees, systems etc. are now captured, analyzed, managed and problems are addressed. This was just one of GE’s massive digital transformation initiatives.*
- Unified Experience via Internet of Things for Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola* leveraged Internet of Things (IoT) to connect to its fleet of cold drink equipment found in convenience stores and other retail outlets to track product inventory, monitor energy efficiency and more – with the goal of ultimately driving more sales and revenue. Coolers are wired with sensors that track the number of times a shopper opens the door and resulting sales. A dashboard provides a snapshot of all connected units. The bottlers can track the location of its intelligent cold drink fleet and monitor temperature, lighting, energy use, placement and overall equipment health and performance. “The connected cooler is the next evolution in our ability to deliver a unified Coca-Cola experience,” said Pete Rohwer, Director of Equipment Commercialization, Coca-Cola North America.
- AOL managing workloads with Cloud migration: AOL, one of the original Internet-based firms, operates many businesses including digital advertising, multiple web properties, and membership services. They had huge amount of data, many data centers and approximately 14,000 in-house and collocated servers to manage their business. The management of their entire network was getting difficult. They battled huge server costs, low redundancy, and required a large number of system admins to manage it. Using Amazon Web Services (AWS), AOL has been able to move mission-critical workloads to the cloud, extend its global reach, and save millions of dollars on energy resources.
Now is the era of the connected consumer — and businesses who fail to adapt will eventually be left behind. Understanding how your consumer wants to engage and building a strategy to deliver that experience is critical to position your firm for the future. Begin your digital transformation journey – step by step. Emtec can help. Contact us to get started. Your employees, customers, and investors will thank you!