Connecting with the New Generations of Customers

Jose Luis Orihuela, Universidad de Navarra

 The digital presence of companies is no longer enough, the market has changed again and now it´s time to adopt the form of the network. Ubiquitous connectivity, mobile access and online social experience shape the new communication environment of consumers. The trends, anticipated by The Cluetrain Manifesto in 1999, constitute today’s scenario.

The network has modified the structure of the markets and changed the relationships between companies and customers. The smartphone is the new shopping cart and social networks are the new customer service centers.

One of the most powerful effects of the network comes from its ability to shred inefficient intermediations and replace them with optimized versions thanks to the virtualization of the components of the value chain.

The companies that truly assume the digital transformation, have to understand that the digital presence of their brands in the networks is no longer enough because the challenge is not only communicational: the current requirement is to virtualize all the processes. Organizations that are capable of taking the form of the network will survive.

Digital natives in charge

Both Millennials and Generation Z have developed an innate relationship with technology. For these generations, hyperconnectivity is an environmental factor and their experience of reality combines and alternates without any conflict the spaces of the physical and the virtual world.

The growing sophistication of its network access devices, now converted into authentic social prostheses, could lead to greater reliance on ultra-personalized recommendation systems in the form of virtual assistants with improved autonomous learning capabilities.

Corporate social responsibility has to evolve to connect with the dominant values of the youngest segments of the market and, at the same time, it has to be communicated in a more effective way so that it does not generate the opposite effect to the one sought. The digital natives are refractory to the imposture of the brands and do not hesitate to denounce and fight them.

Recover traditions and rethink stores

Paradoxically, along with the hyperconnectivity characteristic of these social groups, there is also a tendency to revalorize the old, the artisanal and the homemade. The physical commerce, in addition to the friendly and effective personal treatment, can recover props of the past and tell its own history better.

The stores of the future, in the physical world, could be places of destination, not just places of passage. Places in which other activities can be carried out, in addition to the purchase. Spaces to meet, with less haste and better design.

Source: The Startup

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