The year 2020 is right around the corner, and with the speed at which technology and business is moving, merchants need to be ready for tomorrow today. Anticipating the wants and needs of the customers of the future, emphasizes the need for merchants to innovate, update, and stay in tune with the latest technology.
For CNP merchants, this means doing the research that tells them how their customers live, work, shop, and entertain. Knowing this and understanding how connected people expect to be in the 2020s gives merchants the chance to stay relevant and thrive.
The goal of this blog is to provide a foundation that supports business growth, technology adaptation and understanding, and being ready for the future.
The Customers of the Future
Companies such as Gartner, Goldman Sachs, and Lippincott have conducted extensive studies on how customers of the future will live, communicate, and work. These studies provide great insight into how merchants need to be prepared for the shift in the customer mindset.
- Trust is not a given. Security hacks, stolen data, and government missteps have resulted in a generation of people who don’t inherently trust systems and authority. This means merchants need to build this trust and continue to foster it with long-time customers.
- Communication is key. No longer will a customer buy from a merchant and then move on. Instead, customers want relationships with their merchants and brands – building a level of engagement that supports mutual growth. These customers want to help their chosen brands/merchants thrive and believe that their input can make a difference. Merchants need to be ready to openly engage.
- No micromanaging. Digital literacy means that customers are ready to take care of themselves – finding products and services, customizing them to meet their exact needs, and controlling the payment and delivery of their choice. Think of current self-service solutions such as Lyft, AirBnB, or groceries-on-demand.
- More than a product. Brands and merchants need to learn to shape their marketing and branding to go beyond the product. Building a complete experience with the new coat, ski boots, or smartphone allows merchants to build customer relationships and loyalty.
- Pack mentality. Social media is huge in influencing what customers like or dislike, crave, ignore, buy, and dismiss. Knowing how to build on the influences that customers have on each other’s buying decisions is vital. A review of the most popular brands and people on Instagram is a strong indicator of the power of influence.
Remember that the customers of the future are the people grouped into the millennial and Gen-Z categories. Millennials were born between 1980 – 1994 and are currently 23 – 37 years of age. People born between 1995 and 2009 are categorized as Gen-Z and currently range in age from eight to 22. These are the people shaping the technologies, innovations, products, and brands that will be relevant and in-demand.
Serving the Customers of the Future
The question for merchants is in knowing how best to serve these people. Keeping in mind that we can’t predict the future, the best options for merchants is to take advantage of current and future studies that shed light into how technology might be used and how people might respond.
When thinking about payments, m-commerce and e-commerce merchants can use the findings from a recent Lippincott study into the to shape their planning and strategies.
- Think tomorrow. Monitoring and connected technology mean that brands will know what people want before they know it. This speaks to the need for merchants to have the technology to serve these demands instantly.
- Personalization rules. The safety of personal data is crucial to millennials; however, they are willing to share this data if it means an improvement in a product or brand. Think of customized food delivery orders or 3D printed shoes or personalized skincare.
- Seamless experiences. Customers are moving from device to device and expect the same experience across all devices and sales channels. This provides confidence, ease-of-use, and makes it easy to make buying decisions. The flow between these devices with browsing, shopping, and reading history is key in keeping customers engaged.
What does this mean when it comes to CNP merchants, fraud risk, and payment solutions? It highlights the need for merchants to use the best-in-class solutions and technology today. It’s only by using the current and best technology today that you can be prepared to grow and adapt with your changing customers and technology.
Trying to jump from an outdated e-commerce site to a fully connected, immersive m-commerce and e-commerce solution may not be possible.
Being relevant today will prepare you for tomorrow: effective fraud protection, customer engagement, and brand loyalty hinge on this forward thinking. Contact us to discuss your current payment solutions technology and how we can work together to get you ready for the customers of the future.