The habits of millennials, the most connected and technologically-savvy generation, are changing the ways consumers interact with businesses, as well as each other. Speed, convenience, and seamlessness are all crucial components in the modern consumer’s experience and all are enabled by cloud computing.
Millennial (Gen Y) Habits
Millennials are no stranger to a connected lifestyle. Having grown up in the era of hyper-connectivity, the instant access to resources, whenever, wherever they are, is the norm. While this trend of expedited experiences is popular across all age groups, millennials, in particular, are embracing the shift with open arms.
Millennials have helped raise technology’s prevalence and popularity across society as a whole. Technology is driving a culture of convenience that caters to consumers who expect instant gratification. Consumers constantly crave convenient and faster experiences and will gravitate towards methods that simplify and speed up their daily interactions.
In addition to speedier experiences, consumers also expect omni-channel ones. This is defined as a seamless and simple experience, no matter how they’re connecting: continuity across all channels. According to Accenture, 68% of all millennials demand an integrated, seamless experience regardless of the channel.
Consumers no longer think of the online and offline experiences as separate. Let’s consider this omni-channel path: a customer sees something they like on social media, clicks the link to research further on their mobile phone, continues browsing on their desktop, finally purchases online, and chooses to pick up in-store. The modern consumer moves fluidly across multiple channels. If each transition fails to be smooth, the customer may opt to leave the process before making it to checkout.
Companies are acutely aware of this need for omni-channel and are creating services that cater accordingly. Apple’s Handoff feature will let users continue their activity from one device to a different device without pause. Apple also has one of the most prolific uses of mobile payments in-store. All of its employees are equipped with mobile devices which give them the ability to take payments anywhere in the store while having access to the most up-to-date information to best assist customers. This is enabled by cloud computing.
Cloud Computing: The Enabler
Instead of physical storage, cloud computing is dependent on the internet to host, store, manage, and process data. The benefits are endless: lower infrastructure fees, limitless capacity, higher security, and ubiquitous accessibility.
Cloud computing is not a new concept. From Skype to Google Docs, cloud-based applications are ingrained in everyday life. According to Salesforce:
Cloud Computing Changing Consumer Experiences
An omni-channel experience cannot be achieved with a siloed system because consumers are interacting with a brand on multiple channels and expect instant results. From payments to communications, cloud computing is answering businesses’ increasing need to be agile with integrated infrastructure across all touch points.
A payment processing platform hosted on cloud technology can help provide a consistent experience across channels. Customers want to be recognized and rewarded for their loyalty – to receive personalized offers regularly. Cloud computing allows you to use data collected from one touch point (purchase history), to be used in real time to enhance customer experience via other touch points (product recommendations email). The technology allows retailers to keep up with consumer demands, ensuring a frictionless experience however a customer chooses to connect.
Businesses that use a cloud-based payment processing system have an aggregated dashboard of their payment data (transactions, customers, and employees), allowing them to make better business decisions and manage situations such as sufficient inventory and employee allocation. Data analytics also reveal consumer preferences, insights about marketing strategies, and locations in need of attention.
“An integrated cloud solution connects agents to knowledge bases and connects users to agents via the channels they prefer”. Cloud computing helps companies of all types cater to the on-demand economy. In the same way that consumers seek expedited experiences, the business process is becoming streamlined as well. There’s a shift of office-based work to working on-the-go. Cloud-based services are accessible from anywhere with a device and an internet connection. Applications that users in field need reliable and rapid access to, like CRM (customer relationship management) or sales, rely on cloud computing.
Thanks to the culture of convenience, consumers in the on-demand economy are using their multiple devices to interact with brands, and expect companies to react with agility. Cloud technology and its connected architecture allows businesses to address and meet consumers’ desires for fast, integrated, and seamless experiences. Adopting cloud-based omni-channel infrastructures will better equip businesses for today’s modern market.