Every generation brings new shopping habits and customer experience expectations, no more apparent than in Millennials and Gen Z. Raised with easy access to technology and information, most of their shopping journeys and purchasing decisions take place in an online, digital environment.
While baby boomers and Gen X grew up with brick-and-mortar stores and in-person interactions, younger generations prefer to research, purchase, onboard, and access customer support from the comforts of their own homes and devices – all without ever actually speaking to another human.
Given their spending power is already impressively high – Millennials at $2.5 trillion and Gen Z at $329 billion - and only growing, companies would do well to understand their shopping behaviors and experience expectations.
To engage and retain the next generations of consumers, companies must meet them where they are by implementing all the possible digital routes for CX and engagement, starting with business texting.
Join us as we look at the ins and outs of generational marketing and why business texting is the channel best suited to the purchasing behaviors and expectations of Millennials and Gen Z.
How different generations use their phones
As digital natives, younger generations use their phones more frequently and for more purposes than their forebears.
Finding it quick, convenient, and non-intrusive, younger generations prefer texting to communicate, and by significant margins: 75% of Millennial and Gen Z Americans prefer to text rather than call.
The primacy of texting
The increased role of texting in the lives of younger generations underwrites its effectiveness as a highly effective generational marketing outreach tool that consistently outperforms older communication modes, like phone calls and emails, on the most important metrics.
98% of all text messages are opened and read, most within 3 minutes, while Gartner reports close to 45% response rates. Email, by comparison, sits far behind at a mere 20% open/read rate and 6% response rate.
Numbers like this explain the explosion in popularity of business texting, with 86% of companies reporting it generates higher engagement than email.
The boom of online shopping
Technology affects many aspects of our lives, including how we shop. Think of malls, for example, impossible without the proliferation of the automobile.
As digital technology advanced, so did the shopping habits of different generations. While only 45% of baby boomers report that they shop online, this rises to 58% for Gen X but then jumps to 70% for millennials and 77% for Gen Z.
Mobile vs. in-person shopping
As digital shopping grows, in-store shopping is shrinking: fewer than 36% of consumers under 40 prefer to visit stores to interact with retailers, compared to more than two-thirds of baby boomers.
So how do they shop if they are not visiting stores? The answer has been in their hands since they were tweens: More than 60% of Millennials and 72% of Gen Z consumers say they prefer to shop on their mobile devices.
And the trend towards mobile shopping will only accelerate: a recent study found that 30% of Gen Z and 36% of Millennials plan to shop in physical stores less than before.
How to engage with younger generations over text
All of these findings make it clear that companies should do all they can to reach younger generations by text.
This, of course, doesn’t mean blasting out generic, mass-market messages. Younger generations distrust traditional marketing tactics, so companies should learn to speak to them rather than at them by communicating in ways they prefer. Texts should also be concise, not too “salesy” and - with 67% of Millennials and Gen Z expecting offers to always be personalized - tailored to their needs.
And never forget the digital savviness of younger generations: only 22% prefer finding new products in retail stores, far behind digital channels and word of mouth. If they are interested, you should assume they have already researched your products and services, as well as those of your competitors.
Why texting is still important to reach older generations
While in-person shopping is not going everywhere, even older generations are embracing digital: 70% of adults over 50 now own a smartphone and, for those ages 50-69, texting has surpassed email as the primary digital channel they use to stay connected.
Regardless of age, convenience is a motivating factor when it comes to the shopping experience, whether purchasing or seeking customer support – and convenience is the foundational hallmark of texting.
Future-proof your outreach with texting
More than ever, texting is integral to the customer journey. While first embraced by younger generations, people of all ages now expect an easy, seamless digital channel that lets them do everything from shop online, receive personalized offers, and ask pressing questions.
The versatility, effectiveness, and popularity of texting now makes it an essential strategy for more than just outreach, playing a crucial role in a wide range of core business functions such as marketing, sales, CX, and more.
To start connecting with all generations, young and old, book a demo to try our industry-leading business outreach platform today.