Mobile App Insights

What We Learned About Consumer Behavior at RIC 2018


For the first time, there are six generations of consumers who are actively participating in the economy. While this is an incredible piece of trivia—and a testament to modernity’s achievements in medicine and quality of life—it presents a challenge to retailers. How can a retailer meet in the middle of this huge time span and reach every single generation?

This was a hot topic of conversation in the presentations and on the floor of the Retail Innovation Conference 2018 in New York last week. Shopgate was there to meet with retailers and partners, and we learned a lot about this generational challenge. As mobile app developers, this is a very special challenge to us—after all, smartphone apps are generally associated with social media and other fads embraced by the youngest mobile users. Of course, as mobile marketers and marketing service providers, we have to tackle this challenge and provide answers to our clients.

So what did we learn? Consumers aren’t that different, regardless of age and experience.

Consumer behaviorist and featured RIC speaker Ken Hughes explained this quite simply, highlighting a few key facets you must emphasize in your marketing strategy. These key touchpoints are something that every generation desires as they get ready to swipe their credit cards and invite new products into their lives. Fortunately, these commonalities are more relevant to a mobile marketing strategy than ever.

Consumers of all ages want freedom to shop the way they want.
Of course, different generations define this differently. Members of the silent generation may want freedom from invasive advertising, or payment options beyond a credit card. Meanwhile, generation Z wants freedom from long waits and expensive shipping. This is the very essence of mobile apps—mobile meets consumers exactly where they are, on their own time, without long sales pitches or the need to shop across multiple channels or stores.

Customization is attractive across generations.
Who doesn’t want a personalized experience that makes them feel special? Retailers across the board are experimenting with customization, from timeless Coca-Cola’s “Share a Coke with…” campaign to startups that create unique products for each shopper. As Ken Hughes explained it, making a sale is no longer simply just a transaction. You have to understand the person you’re selling to and the unique shopping experiment you want. Mobile apps are perfect for this, particularly on the Shopgate platform that allows you to mine and analyze data to study your customers.

Authenticity is ageless.
What’s the fastest way to turn a customer away? Make them feel scammed or lied to. Therefore, you have to make your brand feel as honest and authentic as possible. Don’t make wild promises or try to set up a sterile, artificial shopping experience. Instead, earn the trust of all ages with messaging and services that are warm, personal, and friendly. This is made especially easy with emoji-enabled push notifications and the coupons that are so easily created within Shopgate apps.

Above all, RIC 2018 reinforced a philosophy that Shopgate has embraced with open arms this year: mobile experiences must be remarkable to generate downloads, engagement, conversions, and retention. 

Want to know more about remarkable mobile experiences?

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Sarah Meadows

Written by Sarah Meadows

Copywriter | Sarah writes and edits for the marketing department of Shopgate. Her previous experience includes creating content and handling public relations for public offices and organizations at her alma mater, the University of South Carolina. A true Southern girl, Sarah’s hobbies include reading William Faulkner, following college football, and looking for a good glass of sweet tea in Austin.

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