Generation Alpha and the future of CX
There’s a new generation on the scene, and it’s poised to become the largest in history. Comprised of people born after the year 2010, Generation Alpha is predicted to be 2 billion strong by the year 2025. Compare that to Millennials — currently the largest generation, of which there are 1.8 billion according to the World Economic Forum — and it’s clear Gen A is a group that will command major attention in the years to come.
While they are still the youngest generation, brands should waste no time in preparing to serve these upcoming consumers. Understanding their unique wants and needs will help brands ensure they are able to offer exceptional customer experiences (CX) in the future.
Who is Generation Alpha?
As the children of Millennials and the younger siblings of Generation Z, Gen Alpha consists entirely of digital natives born during the 21st century. Gen Alphas will have more exposure to screens than any generation, starting from very early ages — meaning Gen A will be the most technologically savvy generation to date.
But technology isn’t the only thing influencing this demographic. McCrindle research shows that 84% of adults believe the COVID-19 pandemic will significantly shape Gen Alpha. It may be years before we fully grasp the extent to which this major global event will impact these consumers, but 90% of survey respondents agreed it may lead to the increased integration of technology into Gen Alphas’ lives. Other anticipated side effects of pandemic-related social distancing and lockdowns include more online education (82%) and increased resilience (78%).
When it comes to purchasing power, organizations are already watching Gen Alpha closely. According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) report, between 80–90% of U.S. families say their children under 12 influence their family purchasing decisions, translating to hundreds of billions of dollars in purchases per year.
When Gen A is ready to make purchases of their own, they’ll bring a unique perspective to their new role as active consumers. Shopify reports that Gen Alpha’s preferences will likely be shaped by those of their parents, who emphasize minimalist, high quality, “clean” brands. “This is brand affinity by osmosis,” Shopify writes.
And contrary to their predecessors, Gen Alpha will be less focused on traditional social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Rather, they’ll likely be found on gaming platforms where they can interact with their friends, advised Will Anstee, CEO of digital engagement company TotallyAwesome, during a panel discussion with MailChimp. “It’s this idea of the metaverse, where you can have your own [digital] life and buy things,” Anstee adds.
How to create an effective CX strategy for Gen Alpha
While it is clear that Gen Alpha is growing up during unique circumstances, when it comes to customer experience, their expectations may not stray far from those of previous generations.
When building a CX strategy, brands should keep these qualities in mind.
Be authentic and transparent to build trust
Like Generation Z and the Millennials before them, we can expect Gen Alpha to think of brands not just as a means to an end but as partners with whom their own values align. According to Shopify, “Transparency in business practices and a strong social impact position will go a long way to building trust with Gen Alpha as they age into consumers.”
The Drum advises that brands “figure out what transparency means to their business – and how they can best commit to it and communicate it in a way that builds trust and credibility.” This includes being transparent about your company’s mission and values, as Gen Alpha will likely seek out brands that reflect their own worldview.
Make trust, safety and security a priority
Research shows that more than half (65%) of children ages 8 to 11 already own or have access to a mobile phone. While this generation will be extremely comfortable with digital media, they will likely want to ensure their data — and their online experiences — are as safe as possible, whether they’re shopping online or engaging with others.
A survey by TELUS International found that nearly half (48%) of respondents indicated that they would lose trust in a brand if they saw inappropriate or inaccurate user-generated content on a brand’s owned sites and/or channels. In order to ensure a quality customer experience and to protect their brand reputation, organizations that have online communities, whether they be on social media platforms or within a gaming environment, will require robust content moderation strategies.
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Offer omnichannel support
As digital natives, it is expected that Gen A consumers will interact with each other across multiple channels and platforms. “As they grow up, they will increasingly integrate technology into their consumer behavior, and it will influence how they shop and interact with brands,” social researcher and author Ashley Fell told Shopify. It’s important, therefore, for brands to meet these consumers wherever they are by creating an omnichannel customer experience that improves sentiment and delivers consistent support in person, across websites, social media and mobile, and possibly in the future — the metaverse.
Provide personalized experiences
Gen A consumers are being raised in a world of personalized content and customization, from Netflix and Amazon, to building their own avatars in video games. With that in mind, brands will likely be expected to offer similar levels of personalization if they hope to build lasting relationships. By delivering a high-tech, high-touch customer journey, companies can appeal to Gen Alpha in much the same way that they have with Gen Z — 62% of whom said, in a survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of TELUS International, that they are more likely to pay more for products and services if they’re given a personalized customer experience.
Invest in technology to better understand customers
While brands can use the information currently available to make predictions about what Gen Alpha’s preferences will be, there is no true crystal ball to provide certainties. Brands can invest in technology that helps them collect and analyze the troves of consumer data available today. This customer intelligence data can provide a 360-degree view of consumers, their behavior and preferences, and will arm brands with the information needed to continually hone their strategies to meet Gen A’s developing needs.
As businesses and brands prepare for this incoming generation of consumers, many will be partnering with companies that can help them stay ahead of the curve. With deep CX expertise and a finger on the pulse of emerging technology and best practices, TELUS International can help reach Generation Z, Generation Alpha and the generations to come.
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