How Omnichannel Can Help Retailers Win Over Generation Z
Millennials may have pioneered shopping in the digital world, but the first generation to be raised in the era of Smartphones and social media is coming of age, fast.
Generation Z is the name given to young people born between the early 1990s and the present. They already makes up a quarter of the US population and have an estimated purchasing power of $200bn. By 2020 they will account for 40 percent of all consumers.
In developing economies, where the population pyramid has a much broader base, Generation Z will have an even greater influence on retailers’ strategies.
They can communicate almost entirely through mouse clicks and screens, and the ability to make purchases online is a given. Understanding them will be critical to companies wanting to succeed in the next decade and beyond.
Getting Past the Gen Z Filter
Gen Z has had to adapt and learn how to quickly sort through and assess enormous amounts of information. They´ve learned to scan images, headlines, subject lines and captions until they find something that interests them.
And they have a limited amount of time and energy to spend assessing whether something’s worth their time, so they rely on trending pages within apps, social media and trusted curators to locate, collect and filter the most popular or relevant information to a more manageable size.
Gen Z also reles on social media to build their personal and professional brands simultaneously, to help them fit in while also standing out. Using social platforms and apps offer retailers distinct advantages in connecting with Gen Z and helping them better manage their personal and professional brands.
Rating/review sites with higher levels of customer feedback and interconnectivity, for example, also act as validators and influence purchase decisions. Retailers who provide engaging and immediately beneficial experiences are more likely to get through these filters and win Gen Z’s attention.
Gen Z are thriftier than their millennial predecessors, most having seen the impact of debt and recession on their families firsthand. They are well-attuned to being sold to, making them less likely to be swayed by flashy brand names or show loyalty to one brand alone. Instead, they prefer buying clothes that achieve a certain style – or electronics with the right specs – at an affordable price.
They are also highly pragmatic. In a recent survey by Ernst & Young, teens rated free shipping and delivery as the most important retail offering, followed by having access to sales and discounts, a flexible return policy, and frequent shopper programs.
To win them over, physical stores will have to leverage their online channels to create a flexible, hassle-free shopping experience which Gen Z can use to build their own brands in a convenient, creative and cost-effective way.
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