Appealing to digital migrants and digital natives in the Omnichannel age




The growth of online commerce has seen the emergence of two types of shopper.  Firstly, there is the “digital native”, a modern internet-enabled shopper that feels perfectly at home online using social media and retail sites like eBay.

Meanwhile the older generation of “digital migrants”, who grew up without the internet, are less adept at shopping online. Both have stark differences in preferences.

The challenge for retailers and carriers is to deliver an exceptional customer service that meets the demands of both types of customer. They will only get one shot at this: research from YouGov showed that as a result of a poor shopping experience,71% of UK adults would be likely to switch to an alternative retailer when next shopping for products online.

Two tricky customers

The digital native relies heavily on online channels for shopping. Their typical characteristics include purchasing more items, prioritising delivery speed and using a wide range of retailers.

>See also: Why omnichannel retail is more than just a buzzword

Digital migrants, on the other hand, still feel more comfortable shopping in store and only venture online for very specific items. They prioritise quality and customer service, typically shopping only with a select few trusted brands. Key to serving both groups successfully is having a flexible delivery network.

 Offer flexible delivery options

So how can retailers please each customer? Providing a choice of delivery options is a firm foundation to build on as it allows each shopper to choose the option that best suits them rather than mandating an arbitrary time slot.

The digital native who prioritises speed over convenience may prefer next day or same day delivery services, so they can get their hands on items sooner.

For digital migrants, offering very specific delivery windows will be important to them as it provides them with maximum convenience. While these shoppers tend to purchase less often, they may buy higher value items, so value-added options such as tracking services and insurance cover could well be appreciated.

 Take ownership of the last mile experience

For retailers in this competitive space, reputation is now more important than ever; substandard customer service reflects poorly on their brand. You have only to look at last year’s late deliveries during Black Friday to see how customer relationships can be damaged by retailers breaking their promises. Whether the consumer is a digital native or a digital migrant, you need to fulfil your promises or risk losing out to the competition.

>See also: Demystifying the age of multi-channel retailing

To deliver a positive customer experience, retailers also need to continually engage customers from the initial purchase right through to delivery.

Directing either a digital native or a digital migrant away from a retailer’s site to that of a carrier can disrupt their brand experience, as well as potentially deterring them from making subsequent purchases.

Digital natives in particular are more likely to be tracking orders, so will want to see tracking information coming from the retailer rather than their logistics partner.

Owning the whole customer journey from the initial purchase through to fulfilment will be key to success, especially when disgruntled shoppers can easily voice their frustrations over social media.

Manage returns effectively

In the same way that today’s omnichannel environment is allowing consumers to buy products flexibly, they are now demanding the same flexibility and positive experience from the returns process.

According to YouGov’s research, 63% of UK adults factor the ease of being able to return items into which retailers they shop online with. Digital natives will typically order multiple items often with the view to returning them.

>See also: Why retailers should recruit a Chief Omnichannel Officer now

This is especially applicable to online fashion, where shoppers will typically buy multiple sizes and colours. On the other hand, digital migrants might hardly ever return an item and purchase higher value items overall.

Being able to tailor returns to both these groups will be increasingly important in the future and will help retailers foster customer loyalty from returns, as opposed to simply treating it as a cost-recovery exercise.

Omnichannel commerce has become more competitive: retailers and carriers can no longer afford to target just one type of customer. Having the right insight into deliveries and returns can go a long way to ensuring differentiation and effectively serving the needs of today’s digital natives and digital migrants.


Sourced by Niklas Hedin, CEO, Centiro

Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

Related Topics