Meet The Always On Consumer

Meet The Always On Consumer

Last year, when upstart brokerage platform Robinhood launched their Crypto trading product, their release materials encouraged potential new customers to skip sleep, a nod to the fact that cryptocurrency platforms don’t close like traditional equity trading platforms do, and are open 24/7/365 for trading.

The homepage of, Copyright Robinhood Markets, Inc.

The homepage of, Copyright Robinhood Markets, Inc.

When I saw the messaging, I was struck by how aligned this concept is with the shift in consumer behavior over the past decade. Appropriately, there has been a dramatic evolution in the way new consumer businesses are positioning themselves to attract customers. It’s a broad trend that is worth expanding upon, and I’ve coined this shift, “The Rise of the Always-On Consumer.” Modern consumers exist in a demand-driven world, in which smartphones have become a literal remote control for life.

From Tune-In To Watch Now

To give another example, when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, we would tune in to popular television shows at the same time as all of our friends. There were no DVRs, and there was no on-demand. You might ‘tape’ a show with your VCR and watch it later, but you did so to your own detriment. If you didn’t tune in when a show was live, you were left out.

Dawson’s Creek. You either tuned in, or you were left out.

Dawson’s Creek. You either tuned in, or you were left out.

When Netflix started shipping DVDs in their iconic red envelopes, they were building the foundation for today’s tune-in on-demand world. We now watch whatever programming we want, whenever we want. Originally considered a ‘millennial’ behavior, this mentality is now the norm. It has also clearly broadened the market as Netflix recently boasted 146 million subscribers, representing more viewers than all of the cable networks combined.

It’s Not Just Media

This shift from ‘on the business’s time’ to ‘on the consumer’s time’ has pervaded every industry. Here are a few other examples:

Postmates, the “we bring basically anything to your front door” service, generated $1.2 billion in revenue over the past five quarters.

Postmates generated $1.2Billion in five quarters

Hotel Tonight, an on-demand hotel booking service, has a booking time of 11 seconds, and built their entire business model exclusively on providing mobile services.

Hotel Tonight has an average booking time of 11 seconds

Venmo, the “send or receive money now” platform, processed $14 billion last quarter alone. This is modern, mobile-only business empowers real-time transactions.

Any list of on-demand services would be remiss without mentioning Amazon’s Prime Now service that delivers a wide range of products in an hour or less.

Consumers Are Building Relationships In Real Time

Robinhood, Netflix, Uber, Venmo and other modern consumer brands are all tapping into and influencing this shifting consumer behavior. The challenge is that most traditional businesses aren’t particularly well-equipped to handle an always-on world. What happens when consumers are on 24/7/365, and your infrastructure is built on a conventional ‘business hours’ model?

Increasingly, consumers are operating in a world where they can engage with businesses on their terms. In fact, according to a recent Ipsos study, smartphone users are 50% more likely to expect to purchase something immediately while using their smartphone compared to a year ago. This means mobile consumers will not wait for your marketers, sales agents or care teams to ‘open’; they’ll make decisions in real-time based on the options available to them in that moment.

Accenture recently published a survey of millennial consumers that supports this trend. It found that 89 percent of participants report that having access to real-time product availability information influences their shopping choices in terms of which stores they would frequent.

Traditional Businesses Are Beginning to Adapt

Snaps builds innovations that live at the intersection of the two technologies of AI and messaging. We have identified these advances as the most critical to today’s modern consumer engagement stack.

First, messaging is the new default medium for communication. It’s near real-time, it’s on-demand, and for most consumers, it’s the preferred communication channel to communicate with businesses. It also has tremendous scale, with the added potential of being deeply personalized. iMessage, WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger each have over one billion consumers; most of them would prefer to message with your business over calling or email.

Secondly, artificial intelligence enables global brands to deliver an enhanced, always-on, 1:1 experience with millions of consumers. Advancements in Natural Language Processing are allowing digital agents to increasingly understand, classify and more effectively resolve customer engagements. A well-built conversational AI experience will also recognize when it's in over its head, and escalate the conversation to a human agent. Service and sales teams deploying AI will have more bandwidth to provide thorough and responsive support for complex customer engagements, materially improving overall satisfaction and service.

In addition to NLP, AI can help your brand deliver the right message, at the right time. Product recommendations, engagement time, promotional and pricing strategies are all being optimized with the progress of machine learning models. Intelligent and personalized engagements enhance the customer experience while helping brands drive positive business outcomes.

The future of communications between consumers and businesses will be frictionless, mobile, intelligent, personal and take place based on the consumers’ schedules. Brands that adapt to this shift will be positioned to improve market positions and create loyalty. Brands that are slower to evolve with the changing consumer behaviors risk losing out on the adopter market to fast-moving, always-on competitors.


Ready to engage the Always On consumer? Request a demo to learn more about Snaps' conversational AI platform.


Snaps is changing the way brands build relationships with consumers through conversation. Global brands like Nike Jordan, Marriott Rewards, Live Nation, VICE and more leverage the Snaps Conversational Marketing Platform to acquire new customers, increase lifetime value and improve customer experience with messaging technology. Snaps is an Inc. 100 business, one of the few companies listed in Facebook Messenger’s Partner Directory, a designated Leader’ by Opus Research and frequently covered by Forrester research on conversational marketing.