The world we know continues to change, and we as a people, are forced to change with it. Sometimes it’s in small ways, like swapping Bell Bottoms for White-Washed jeans, then swapping those for Skinny Jeans. Sometimes it’s in larger ways, like going from hailing a cab on the sidewalk, to ordering an Uber from your bedroom/office/etc. with a touch of a button. Some of us prefer the former, while others have adapted, or were even raised with the latter. It is those inbred traits from our particular generation that make us who we are. The beauty of today’s age is that our technology can handle whichever you prefer. Can your site-search say the same?
We currently live in a time where five generations make up the overwhelming majority of our country: Baby Boomers I (1946-1954), Baby Boomers II (1955-1965), Generation X (1966-1976), Generation Y (1977-1994), and Generation Z (1995-2012). And Millennials bridge Gen Y and Gen Z. These are the main generations that make up your customer base. That’s a 76-year age gap you’re trying to connect with. A rather daunting task.
Over this 76-year gap, the way people search has changed dramatically. Baby Boomers up through Generation X went to a library and owned an encyclopedia. Generation Y started this way but adapted to current forms of search via the internet. Early generations hoarded multiple maps in their glovebox. Later generations relied on printing the specific route you needed before you departed (anyone remember Map Quest?). Today we instantly look up directions complete with turn-by-turn instructions. Yes, there are still people who go to the library, own an encyclopedia, and use paper maps, but their numbers are dwindling.
These generational side-effects also change the way we all do one common thing: Shop.
Shopping is something that will never go away, but it will always change. From Sears and Roebuck’s catalogs beginning in 1886, to mega malls in the ’90s, to having your order delivered same-day by a drone. And it is the way people shop that brings us to the point of this very long-winded diatribe.
People shop online. The way they find products is through search. Whether it’s on Google to find information, on your maps to find a location, or on your eCommerce site to find a product – Search is the one aspect that is constant. How people search is not, and much of it goes back to the generational differences. Some will type, while others will speak. Some will begin with old Keyword search (i.e Nike Shoes), and then drill down via Navigation (i.e. choosing a color, choosing a size, choosing price-point, etc.). Others will say exactly what they want, using Natural Language Search, to begin the search (i.e. Red and White Nike basketball shoes under $150). Some will search on their laptops, others on their tablets, while a full 67% will search on their phones.
The point is this: Your audience is made up of many different generations, and each has their own way of doing something as simple as Search. There is no correct or incorrect way… but you, as an eCommerce Retailer, better be able to return the right results. Here at EasyAsk, our Artificial Intelligence/Natural Language Search Engine allows us to span that generational gap.
Update: We will be putting the generations to the test as we ask a member of each to go through our Search Challenge. Results coming soon… Stay tuned!