New generations of telco customers are changing retail forever. As Generations Z and Alpha enter the market, they are revolutionizing everything – including marketing, products and retail experiences.
A major theme is their desire for personalization. These customers will not settle for standard products, services or experiences. If they are going to purchase something, it must be customizable to fit their unique taste and lifestyle.
Who are Gen Z and Alpha?
Born between 1995 and 2010, Gen Z’s live a hyper-connected, on-demand lifestyle that centres around their devices. With a 97% device penetration rate, the Z’s retail expectations are radically different from any generation before them.
Immediately following the Z’s are the Alphas. Born between 2010 and 2025, these kids are already as tech savvy than the average adult. As the children of millennials, these kids are exposed to cutting-edge technology at home, and most already have their own device by age 4.
Making It Personal
It’s clear from the get-go that Gen Z and Alpha are a very different beast from the customer of yesterday. This is especially apparent when it comes to their desire for personalization.
Personalization is very important to both the Z’s and Alphas; they put a lot of effort into establishing their personal brand and will seek out products that fit into that ideal. The Z’s buy products that resonate with their lifestyle and image, and the Alphas will want to put their personal stamp on everything they buy.
These customers will no longer settle for generic experiences and products, and instead want everything to suit their personal tastes. Companies must find ways to celebrate individuality. Much like how clothing was made-to-measure prior to the industrial revolution, we are returning to a time where custom products and experiences are the norm. This will affect retail in every industry, including telco.
There is a lot to gain from this approach. The Boston Consulting Group estimates that prioritizing personalization will help brands outsell their competitors by 30% this year. As more of these young customers come of age, this number will grow. Businesses that fail to adapt may well be squeezed out of the market altogether.
5 Companies Who Are Embracing Personalization
Several companies have already started to offer personalized products and services. Here are 5 retailers who are ahead of the game.
Wiivv is an interesting entrant in the footwear market. Customers use a smartphone app to take pictures of their feet. Wiivv then creates a digital map of the customer’s footbed to build a custom-fit sandal or insole. Customers are able to personalize the look of their item, giving them further control over the end product. It’s a great example of a custom product enabled by technology, which Gen Z’s and Alphas are sure to love.
Check out Wiivv Science and Innovation for more information on the technology behind this cutting-edge product.
Ever wonder what brick and mortar retail locations will look like in the future? Nike has the answer to that question. Nike has long been a household name in the athleticwear market, but they are upping their game to create personalized products in an in-store environment. Their New York flagship store, the Nike House of Innovation, lives up to its name. The entire store is interactive, and personalized. Shoppers can build and design custom-fit shoes onsite and pick them up 2 weeks later. And as a bonus, their entire store has been app-integrated, making it easy to look up product information – and pay for items right on your device.
Have a look inside their flagship store in Nike House Of Innovation preview.
It’s not just physical products that can be customized – it’s also experiences. Apple does a great job of this with their Apple Music offering. This subscription-based music streaming service curates playlists based on your listening habits, what your friends are listening to, your current mood, or other artists you may be interested in. The entire experience is tailored to what you like to listen to – it’s your personal radio station. Although Apple is one of several music-streaming-type services, this category as a whole exemplifies how curating to personal tastes brings success.
Another retailer who is doing a great job of curating personal experiences is Stitch Fix. This personal styling service helps shoppers find clothing that suit their tastes. After completing a comprehensive style quiz and providing measurements, the Stitch Fix stylist will source and ship 5 clothing items to the customer. The customer is billed for any items they keep and can return any they dislike for free. Based on what is kept or returned, the customer’s profile is updated, which improves the recommendations over time. This is a great example of a service that revolves entirely around personal tastes. Just imagine how this type of service could evolve as more products themselves are made-to-measure!
How does Stitch Fix know what you’ll like? Find out in How Stitch Fix Uses Data To Pick Clothes For You.
Skin it is an example of a retailer who is offering custom products within the telco sphere. This company lets customers build their own phone case and other tech accessories. Starting from a basic design, the customer can upload photos from social media to design their own creation. While this example is fulfilled online, can you imagine if this experience was available in an actual telecom store?
How well does it work? Check out Name a cuter iPhone case. I’ll wait. (Skinit Review).
The above examples are just a few of many retailers who are already offering personalized products and services. Retailers must adapt by making personalization possible if they want to stay competitive.
But how can telcos offer this same type of experience? First, they need to pursue their digital transformation. You may have noticed that all these companies are leveraging connected technologies to provide their personalized experience; online transactions, apps, and multi-channel touchpoints all converge together to make the dream possible.
Once the right groundwork has been laid, here are some ways telcos can incorporate personalization into their offerings:
- As was already hinted about, in-store custom phone cases could be a great option for telcos. Not only does this satisfy the need for personalization, but it benefits the telco with increased sales of high-margin items.
- Giving customers full control over all aspects of their plan is another strategy. By letting customers change their plan before the end of term, or capitalize on an early upgrade, telcos can give customers the ability to curate their experience on their terms.
- Some carriers are going a step further by giving customers control over the data within their plan. A lot of carriers allow Spotify data to be white labelled, so it doesn’t count as part of your data package. By giving customers control over how they use their white label data – whether it’s YouTube, WhatsApp, or something else – telcos can empower customers to create a plan that’s personal to them.
- Footnote – Giving customers control over how they interact with their telco is a basic piece of the personalization puzzle. By offering a true omnichannel experience, customers are free to transact-anywhere, which gives them personal control over their interaction. Although it’s not a personal product or service in itself, it’s just as necessary.