While you may know how to tailor your customer experience to millenials and all generations that came before them, there’s a new demographic on the scene - Gen Z. And, they don’t shop the same way, so you’ll need to make some changes to your retail experience if you want to win them over. Here’s what is different about Gen Z.
Who is Generation Z?
They are the youngest generation of consumers right now. Gen Z consumers were born in 1995 or later and are true digital natives.
They are also pioneers as social natives, being the first generation to hold that title. Social media has always been a part of their life, just like mobile technology. They opt to use those smartphones to connect with their social circle rather than actually call people.
With both of these native upbringings, it’s led Gen Z to have some of the shortest attention spans. This leaves companies with just seconds to get their message and value across. You’ll also need to create a strategy that reaches them on their preferred social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat versus Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
Also, this connection to the digital world changes their perception of the physical world thanks to the ongoing access to online information and resources. With more information at their disposal than past generations, Gen Z has a different approach to buying products and services.
Gen Z Shopping Preferences and Behaviors
Their shopping habits may surprise you given the amount of time focused on the preferences of millennials. Gen Zers enjoy using their mobile devices, but the majority of these consumers still enjoy shopping in-store.
An optimized experience for Gen Z consumers involves combining technology and a physical shopping environment. This includes personalized coupons, discounts, and directions to the products they want delivered to their mobile devices while they shop in a store. Also different is the preference for what is called “showrooming” where a Gen Z consumer makes a purchase online after checking it out in a physical store.
Gen Z consumers also want to be rewarded and like the idea of deals delivered to them when they feel like shopping. Whether they receive it digitally or they can use a physical loyalty card, these consumers want to know they are getting the best price. This preference may originate from growing up during the past recession.
While some generalizations about Gen Z can be made when it comes to shopping, the most challenging aspect of serving this demographic is that many buck the trend of these common behaviors. For example, although one Gen Z consumer only wants the lowest price possible for a product, another shopper may be seeking products and brands that align with a certain purpose or social good outcome.
As part of their view on shopping, Gen Z has a specific set of expectations that brands need to follow. When marketing and interacting with Gen Z consumers, brands must be transparent and authentic, as well as provide ways to engage and co-create.
In many ways, they surprisingly emulate the desires of their parents around what a retail brand should deliver when it comes to shopping. This means a retail brand experience must focus on value, quality, convenience, and choice. However, what’s different from their parents is how that experience should be delivered -- whether that is pick up or delivery for every purchase. This provides the option for unique, personalized digital or physical experiences when they want them.
Strategies to Capture Gen Z Consumers
Knowing how they shop, there are many marketing strategies to attract Gen Z consumers and potentially keep them for the long term:
- Provide a curated experience that includes personalized information, deals, and array of product choices.
- Train store associates to be as well informed as possible to deliver the advice many Gen Z consumers seek when they shop in a store.
- Interact with valuable social media content on the channels and platforms Gen Z prefers, including inviting them to share and co-create content.
- Focus on being part of their life versus selling them anything.
Pay attention and address their preferences for using mobile devices in your store by offering reliable, free WiFi and mobile payment options like tap-and-go transactions.