Switching off is not a concept that most consumers are familiar with. We’re trying to fit more activities, across more channels, into every single day. In fact, some would go as far as saying we’re ‘always-on’.
The Always-On Consumer was a term coined by Vivaldi Partners last year to describe the 48% of shoppers who go online multiple times each day, using an average of 3 devices and logging on from at least 3 locations, invariably engaging with retailers and brands along the way.
There are 5 types of Always-On Consumer:
Social bumblebee – extrovert, spontaneous, avid social media user
Mindful explorer – early tech adopter, minimalist, very loyal to favourite brands
Deal hunter – discount driven, listens to social media for tips
Focused problem solver – sticks to tried and tested brands, prefers store shopping
Ad blocker – ignores online ad content, mostly shops online for household staples
One thing they have in common, though, is the relentless pace with which they interact and digest information, not to mention the expectation that their needs will be met right there and then.
Because of this, it’s not just consumers that are always-on – retail stores must be too. The high technology dependence and low tolerance levels of today’s shoppers mean any interference in their offline encounters could result in defection to another, potentially more reliable brand. The store can’t ever afford to sleep on the job.
This so-called ‘interference’ could consist of a lack of goods availability, or a long queue at the checkout. Some retailers may claim these are inevitable experiences in the bricks-and-mortar environment, though, in-store technology enables store associates to smooth over such shortcomings; I’m thinking specifically of using mobile POS for queue busting and mobile clienteling.
However, these devices – and fixed POS terminals too – are all reliant on the store network, which underpins every element of the customer experience. Connecting devices is crucial to delivering seamless customer service. The disruption of store networks can cost retailers thousands in lost sales, while the damage caused to consumer relationships can be far greater, and longer lasting.
With this in mind, organisations cannot afford to rely on outmoded networks that are not optimised to cope with the multi-channel, multi-device demands that modern retail places on the store. They need a business-class network that can cope with high traffic, high pressure trading – across multiple sites in many cases.
Remember: the Always-On Consumer is an unforgiving being. Get caught napping even once, and these high spenders are likely to take their business elsewhere.