The web is getting more and more personal. Websites now know who you are and what you are there to look for. Ecommerce sites can save your sizes and preferences allows for a more efficient shopping trip.
This trend shows no sign of slowing down, in fact, even more, measures are being taken to deliver the most customized experience possible. Those who grew up using the Internet value personalization over security.
A study of over 1,200 people in the U.S. ages 14 – 59 conducted by the Center for Generational Kinetics for WP Engine, explores the mindset, preferences, and expectations of four generations of Americans (Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers) for their current and future digital experiences. “The Future of Digital Experiences” study found that for Generation Z, the youngest generation surveyed, the digital experience is their human experience. These digital natives expect to have websites not only learn their preferences but anticipate their needs.
One of the biggest takeaways from the study shows that Generation Z craves an incredibly personalized website experience, and not delivering that could leave you left behind.
Who makes up Generation Z?
Generation Z is made up of people born after 1996 and is about 25 percent of the population meaning the oldest members of Gen Z are 21 years old. It’s been estimated that they control approximately $44B in purchasing power already. According to the study, 27 percent of Generation Z doesn’t feel comfortable going an hour without accessing the Internet.
While the majority of Baby Boomers use the Internet to find information, for Generation Z, it’s a way of life. 57 percent said that the Internet determines what they do on a daily basis. Appealing to this group will go a long way in the lasting power of your website and ultimately, business.
In order to keep their attention, personalization needs to be a huge priority moving forward.
More than a website
According to the study, the future of the web will absolutely be a more personal experience. 60 percent of Generation Z believe that in five years, websites will know what you’re looking for before you even tell them. Even more than that, 55 percent believe that websites will become more human and even start exhibiting emotions.
This shows that people are looking for much more than a website. They want personal shoppers, industry experts, and friends throughout the web. It won’t be enough to simply provide products, but site owners must make customers feel special and heard.
Interactions throughout the web
Websites must learn to interact with each other. 58 percent of Generation Z believe that websites will talk to each other and give recommendations based on what you buy elsewhere. This is a huge point. Generation Z wants the entire web to feel like it’s there for them, not just one site. Being able to connect to other shops will give you a huge advantage.
If you’re looking for jeans, why go to three different sites and type into the search bar every time? When sites are able to talk to each other about your shopping and search history, you’ll have a more efficient experience.
The future of personalization
Probably the most telling finding of the future of personalization is that 50 percent said they wouldn’t return to a site that didn’t anticipate their needs or wants. That is a staggering number. Half of Gen Z respondents will stop using a site that isn’t predictive enough.
So how do you keep up? The survey indicated a variety of ways respondents believe the web will become more personalized. 79 percent of people believe that in five years, commands will be done with biometrics, fingerprints and voice recognition, over a keyboard and mouse.
62 percent see VR and augmented reality changing the way we view the world. WordPress, being ahead of the curve, has already begun to find ways to utilize VR. Consider utilizing VR moving forward.
Allowing users to create a profile is an easy way to make people feel like your website is talking directly to you.
There’s no denying that the future is going in a more personal direction, and not keeping up with this trend could leave you behind. Having a focus on making each customer feel seen will be imperative to remaining competitive in the next few years. Because Generation Z grew up using the Internet, their needs and wants vary dramatically from older generations. As developers, acknowledging these needs and wants will do a lot for success.