5 Ways To #WinBig With Gen Z Shoppers

Although Gen Z members are young, they have serious buying power. Born between 1994 and 2002, Gen Zers are a huge group—making up 23% of the U.S. population. Not only that, they’re serious spenders, both online and off. 

For instance, research shows these average expenditures over a six-month period: In Consumer Electronics, online spend was $182 and offline spend $125. In Apparel, online spend was $164 and offline spend $155.  And in Toys/Games/Sporting Goods, online spend was $124 and offline spend $95.

As this generation’s income grows over time, so, too, will its buying power. This means Gen Z is more than worthy of your attention. If you address its members’ specific shopping preferences, you’re likely to see a big payoff. Let’s look at a few key characteristics of Gen Zers, and the ways retailers can best provide what they want.

1. Who is Gen Z?

While Gen Z shoppers have a lot in common with other age groups, they also have characteristics that are unique to them. Mobile and social media are their tools of choice, meaning they navigate the world with their smartphones and are in close contact with their peers via social, keeping tally of what’s new, what’s hot, and what’s not.



2. Social and Mobile Shape Their Lives

Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and Twitter are key to Gen Z members. Overall, all Gen Zers are on social numerous times a day—does your marketing strategy match their usage pattern?

Gen Zers spend more time on mobile than any previous generation, using it for 32% of their transactions. In addition, Gen Zers stream content—TV shows, videos, music, podcasts—more than older shoppers, for an average of 23 hours a week. And, yes, it’s usually on their smartphone.

3. Real World Retail Matters

This generation that’s so plugged in to mobile and the online world has an affinity for the real-world retail experience. If they’re going to buy, they want to experience the products first. Seventy-one percent of them enjoy shopping in bricks-and-mortar stores, and 80% like to visit and experience new stores.

That said, Gen Z is very particular about a few things. Not surprisingly, pricing is important. Great store design really matters to them, too. And in stores, they want unique merchandise, displays that show products in use, and ways to try out the products.

Gen Zers are also omni-shoppers. They’re researching merchandise online, then experiencing it in stores—and buying it in both places, depending on what works best for them. Their shopping styles include:

  • 34% Webrooming—research online, buy in-store 
  • 27% Scan and Scram—see it in store, buy from another retailer online
  • 18% Click and Collect—buy online, pick it up in store or at a kiosk
  • 18% Showrooming—see it in store, buy it online
  • 15% Click and Ship—see it in store, buy it later on retailer’s mobile site/app

4. Your Online Store Also Needs to be Spot-on

Just as Gen Zers expect your bricks-and-mortar store to be beautifully designed, your website had better be eye-catching, too. Not only does it have to look good, it should provide easy navigation, aesthetically pleasing images, features like 360-degree item views, accurate item descriptions with dynamic content, video demos geared toward their age group, reviews optimized for their skeptical minds, and free shipping (with low- or no-cost returns).

5. Personalization, Please

Gen Z shoppers expect personalization in the ads they see and the merchandise offered. YouTube and social media present windows into millions of retail and fashion influencers – Gen Zers simply don’t want to look like everyone else. Use data to help you provide new and different merchandise in your mix, and don’t be afraid to run out of it. Gen Z is constantly shopping, and they’ll be back soon to see what’s new.

Gen Z is a brand-new generation of shoppers, and they’re more than willing to buy. By tailoring your retail offerings to their unique preferences, you can build a generation of enthusiastic customers who are loyal to your brand.

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