Insight: CPM’s study shows Gen-Z’s digital shoppers seek a human connnection

Brands have a major opportunity to re-evaluate how they sell to younger consumers, as new research from omnichannel marketing and customer experience consultancy, CPM, reveals that Gen-Z and millennials are significantly more likely to benefit from the ‘human touch’ when buying a product.

Despite the tendency of younger consumers towards online shopping, the survey of British consumers reveals that nearly three-quarters (72%) of Gen Z (aged 16-24 years) and 61% of millennials (aged 25-34 years) have been directly influenced by an individual salesperson when making a purchase. This compares to an overall average of just 48% across age groups.

Only a third (34%) of all consumers claimed they would feel comfortable buying any type of product, including high-value goods such as cars or laptops, without any form of interaction with, or advice from, a salesperson. It corresponds that Gen-Z (15%) and millennials (27%) feel less confident than average about making these types of purchase completely independently.

Scott Bendowski, Business Optimisation Director, CPM, commented:

“While we may typically view younger people as confident consumers, our survey findings show that they, more than any other group, place significant value on a human, consultative sales experience, especially when it comes to high value or complex purchases. Plus, as consumers become more money-conscious and aware of the environmental impact of their shopping habits, it makes sense that they would want to ensure they buy the right products from the right brands at the first time of asking”.

Although, according to Statista, 75% of consumers have been shopping more online since the start of the pandemic, these survey findings indicate a continued demand amongst consumers to access personalised sales advice, whether online or in-store.

Almost half (45%) of consumers agreed that they would find value in a buying experience which combines the convenience of online shopping with a virtual shop environment that gives them access to expert sales advice. This ‘best of both worlds’ experience would be most appealing to Gen Z (62%) and millennials (68%).

Nearly all (88%) of these consumers said such an experience would influence their decision to buy, with one in five (21%) saying it would strongly influence them.

Colin Clark, Managing Director, Contact Centres, CPM, added:                                                                                        

“The pandemic hasn’t just accelerated the drive towards omnichannel strategies. It has also forced many brands to completely re-evaluate how different consumers prefer to buy. The line between traditional in-store shopping and online shopping has been fundamentally blurred – meaning consumers expect the best of everything, including access to sales advice and product demos, no matter which channel they choose to buy through.

“Currently, omnichannel means having a presence across every channel, including instant messaging, email, voice search, and social media. However, just having these solutions does not mean the consumer can transact across all of them; the sales cycle is disparate and disconnected. The future of retail means addressing the gap in this sales loop, closing it for the consumer and helping brands respond to the huge opportunity it presents”.

To that end, CPM has launched  a live, omnichannel, video solution called ACTiON. ACTiON gives every online customer access to face-to-face advice from an expert e-promoter or trainer, whoever they are, wherever they are, whenever they want it.

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