Mind the Generation Gap: Live chat and Chat Bots edging out email as retail channel of choice

Independent research from Narvar and YouGov has revealed that there is a vast generational gap in how customers wish to communicate with brands and retailers: today, millennials are 20 percent less likely to contact a retailer via email than baby boomers, and are five times more likely to use live chat on a website.

Millennials and baby boomers strongly believe that fast and direct communications about an order is the number one factor in securing their loyalty. This makes it clear that the modern retailer needs to look carefully at the quality of the communications experience they are providing across all channels, both before and beyond the buy button.

Amit Sharma, CEO, Narvar commented: “A best-in-class communications experience is one which helps to build brand loyalty. That means authentic, personal, thoughtful communication across any channel – both pre and post-purchase. Building long term customer relationships is crucial considering that acquiring a new customer is at anywhere from five to 25 times more expensive than retaining existing ones, and that increasing customer retention rates by just five percent increases profits by 25 to 95 percent[1].”

Who is doing Communications well?

Amazon was highlighted as a standout online retailer for communication by 35 percent of respondents, but staggeringly, nearly one in five of all respondents (19 percent) said that no retailer offered the best post-purchase communications experience. This shows unequivocally that there is still a way to go before retailers can truly say they provide exceptional communications experiences for customers.

Harsh Jawharkar, CMO, Narvar comments: “We are increasingly finding that a one-size-fits-all approach to customer communications is no longer suitable. The advent of new communications channels such as digital assistants, chatbots and IM present unlimited opportunities for retailers to have new touchpoints with their customers. Offering personal, authentic and thoughtful experiences across these channels only has positive outcomes for loyalty and sales levels.”

Mind the Generation Gap

The Narvar research also reveals that:

        20 percent of all device owners in the UK are using voice-control for online shopping

        The number of consumers expecting to use a voice-controlled device to shop online within 2018 has tripled

        Live chat is the number one channel of choice for one in three of millennials, whereas only 16 percent of baby boomers would use this channel.

        Nearly 10 percent millennials would attempt to contact a retailer via IM such as Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, whereas only two percent of those over 45-years-old would opt for this channel.

        Communicating via telephone is much more popular with baby boomers (22 percent) than with millennials (14 percent)

        Just half of all millennials have email as their number one communication choice, versus three quarters of baby boomers.

        Four percent of millennials would be happy to be approached by a chatbot on Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, versus only one percent of baby boomers.

        Being contacted by a retailer over SMS was twice as popular with those aged 35-44 as it is with millennials (eight percent vs four percent).

        In fact, millennials were the age group least likely to want to be contacted by a retailer over SMS.