Millennials, Gen Y, the single horseman of many an industry apocalypse. Whatever you call them, our current crop of 20 and 30-somethings is one of the most important audiences going, and understanding how to cater to the needs of a generation that grew up immersed in tech is crucial to running a successful e-commerce business.
Millennials have grown up in a world that adapts to them on the fly. Where McDonalds was once just a kids’ restaurant replete with brightly-coloured slides, it’s now the McCafe and the McAuto. Where the internet was once restricted to bulky CRT screens, it now contorts to fit a phone screen. That kind of upbringing creates a generation that’s difficult to surprise.
So, well, how do you surprise them? What is the adaptation generation looking for, and how can the movers and shakers of e-commerce find it? Vladimir Polyakov, Head of Regional Business Development at ECOMMPAY and forthcoming participant of the NOAH Conference London, is here to explain.
Big Tech Gets Bigger
To millennials, the ins and outs of the iPhone are as familiar as the streets they grew up on, and they prefer to conduct their business on devices and services they’re used to. That hands Apple and Google an incredible amount of power in the fintech world, and e-commerce businesses can’t afford not to pay attention. As Apple moves into new spaces with projects like its new credit card (backed by Goldman Sachs), involving these big tech goliaths in your e-commerce experience becomes more and more mandatory, prompting businesses to seek exits into new markets in new regions as competition within those ecosystems becomes ever-fiercer.
Clash of the Titans
The huge growth of big-tech into the payments realm has been accompanied by a flurry of fintech activity. Google, Apple, traditional banks and their fintech challengers are all fighting in the same arena. Traditional banks are trying to keep up, doing their best to invest in fintech, but are being held back by the byzantine regulations they operate under. New fintech challengers, meanwhile, are far better suited to offer innovative and transformative solutions to their (often young and forward-thinking) consumers.
Pretty much everyone, meanwhile, is having to adapt to the new threats posed by a digital age and an interconnected age. Banks and their new challengers alike are instituting biometric procedures to identify and authorise their customers. Advanced tech allows all sorts of banking entities to adapt to new rules and recognise their users ‘on sight’.
Millennial payment habits have led to the proliferation of the so-called ‘sharing economy’, and the sudden development of new forms of renting and leasing, which modern businesses are pretty much compelled to adapt to if they want to keep up. As more and more payments go through these online platforms, the payment gateways that service them are under heavier and heavier loads.
That increased load means the fintech industry and payment providers are increasingly concerned with providing live, 24/7 tech support to their customers. Chatbots with generic ‘turn it off and on again’ responses just don’t cut it any more. In this respect, fintech outpaces traditional so much as to be on a completely different racecourse. Comparing the support services offered by fintech companies with those of traditional banks reveals an enormous disparity, one that will only widen as time goes on.
Convenience, Mobility, and Staying on your Toes
Millennials expect adaptation, and business has, ah, adapted. E-commerce sites are constantly subjected to tests and optimisations to enable them to better handle the demands of today’s market. Algorithms are designed and redesigned to tailor suggestions with pinpoint accuracy.
Any business currently operating online needs to understand and implement things like one-click payments and payment links to meet the enormous demand for convenience. And as time goes on, who knows? Microchips, biohacking, programmable money: the 21st century is here and it’s a case of evolve or die.
Trust, and Verify
Whatever initial scepticism there was, trust in electronic payments is growing steadily, and businesses and consumers both are opting – on the whole – for security over comfort. A growing number of companies are seeking to implement a secure 3DS user authorisation system: putting an extra step between the buyer and checkout and, most likely, decreasing conversion. But security is priceless, and the business world knows it. Consumers value knowing their data is safe and that they can back out of transactions they don’t feel secure conducting. Preserving that trust is vital.
The future of payment tech and online business is looking pretty exciting. Big tech’s attention is increasingly laser-focused on the payments arena, and how it develops will determine everything from product development to user experience. What’s certain is that demand for speedier and cheaper transactions will only increase in size and volume in the years to come.