Last November, Google released their new Google Helpouts platform to connect users to paid advice and assistance from experts in specific fields. For many, the concept seemed groundbreaking; however, Helpouts is just a sign of the times, one of the many programs created to fulfill a growing need for specialists.
Consumers, especially members of the Millennial generation, are becoming increasingly comfortable with shopping and searching online. With the Hummingbird update, Google opened the door to the beginning of a new search engine that draws information without the need of even clicking a link. Online stores allow filters to narrow down the selection to just the right product. As the world becomes more guided by algorithms and crowd-sourced information, consumers are seeking insider specifics that they feel automation cannot provide. Experts offer a human perspective and natural ethos to provide the insight users seek.
Personalization and authority
Consumers want to know what the best products, recipes, techniques, and life choices are. However, it is not about merely the best; consumers want to know what is the best for them. In a series of recent studies by Mintel, 33% of Millennialswant quicker access to staff when they have a question, 76% of drug store shoppers say they like being able to have their medical and drug questions answered by the in-store pharmacist, and 34% of current gym members would like to try a personal trainer. We want advice and information tailored to our specific needs, in both the digital and physical spaces.
Implications for businesses
Whether brick-and-mortar or digital, businesses can improve the customer experience and increase brand loyalty by providing experts to help guide the consumer toward feeling confident in his or her purchase. It starts with a knowledgeable sales team. In online retail specifically, businesses can benefit by providing a space for product reviews and integrating live chat functionality.