WP Engine, the WordPress technology company, has recently launched its fourth annual Australian study – Generation Resilience – which examines the way different generations engage and interact online.

Armed with this information, retailers are better equipped to build digital experiences that attract and engage Australian consumers and ultimately drive revenue growth, according to WP Engine country manager for Australia and New Zealand, Mark Randall.

“Retailers of every size and across every industry should take the time to understand how they can engage with today’s fast-moving, digital savvy consumers and build the types of digital experiences demanded by online audiences today,” Randall told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“Listen to your customers and their concerns – remember every enquiry, comment and complaint can be viewed in a constructive way. Choose the right content management system, invest in your website’s performance, make check out easy and seamless, and connect with your customers on a human level, whether it’s through social media, customer service or review sites.

“Also adopt an ecommerce solution to make more money faster. The right technology partner can help you optimise your site, ensure your online business is secure and privacy compliant, and enable blazing-fast product.”

When asked about how the pandemic has reshaped the retail industry, the key observation from Randall was a faster break down of the divide between physical and digital due to the surge in online activity.

“Almost overnight, retailers were thrust into rapid digital transformation, and they had to adapt their strategies to serve a much broader audience. For instance, older generations have been forced to shop online during the pandemic and they have specific frustrations with the current experience, in particular tolerance around the logistics,” he explained.

“This means retailers need to build flexible and agile digital experiences to suit a wider range of demographics and demands. Headless technologies help retailers deliver an omnichannel digital experience by meeting customers through the different channels and devices they’re interacting with in real-time.”

In good news for retailers, two-thirds of Australians feel more confident buying things online, including half of Baby Boomers; however, with more confidence comes new demands, Randall warns.

“Almost three-quarters (72%) of Australians say businesses still have a long way to go when it comes to creating seamless experiences online. Specifically, Australians’ top frustration when it comes to online shopping is slow delivery, followed by shipping, packaging, and handling costs, not being able to see, touch, try on the product before buying and slow websites,” he said.

“Young Australians in particular, are demanding a more ‘human web’ – they expect all websites will become more human in experience by exhibiting emotions when you visit or interact with their pages and have digital learnings and AI capabilities in the next five years.

“Being digital pioneers, Gen Z predict interacting with the internet will also happen by voice and movements rather than keyboards and mice while authentication with the internet will occur through biometrics in just five years.”

On a final note, Randall said, “The key takeaway for retailers if they want to remain competitive in this new digital paradigm, is that they must start exploring and adopting new, evolving technologies to connect and interact with their customers in an authentic, personalised way.”