For years now, retailers have been focusing a lot on Millenials and their purchasing behaviors. Since they make the majority of the workforce, their income is directly linked to their spendings. But, the generation that came next, known as Gen Z, is creating a challenge for retailers who noticed the shift.
Gen Z kids are born mid 1990’s to early 2000’s. Called “digital natives”, they are born into a post-digital world that makes technology the center of their lives, which is why retailers have to embrace this idea fast and keep up.
Gen Z and Online Shopping
A true love story. The Internet and social media are not a plan B for them, since they were born into it, they use it heavily, and the content affects their decision making. This means they have higher expectations. They are perfectly capable of walking away from a store that doesn’t meet their expectations and they are willing to do the same online, by leaving bad reviews and voicing out their opinions out loud, because they rarely give second chances especially to brands and products, so marketing to them is very much case sensitive.
In fact, Gen Z kids have two main marketing-based characteristics:
- They are tech experts: their online consumption differs from other generations as they spend over 10+ hours per day between social media and e-commerce websites.
- They are natural entrepreneurs: perfectly capable of starting their own business, and can easily spot a retail scam when they see it.
Generation Z and Social Media Advertising
Unlike millenials, Gen Zers prefer cool tangible products over experiences, making them the perfect target audience for retailers. Furthermore, since they spend the majority of their time online, they are very selective when it comes to their active social media channels: Instagram and Snapchat are the most likeable, but Facebook didn’t make the cut. This being said, online retailers should not make the hasty decision of advertising solely on social media as they will end up frustrating this generation and losing credibility.
When choosing to advertise online it is important for retailers to:
- Be transparent and authentic
- Not upsell or make it obvious that you’re doing it
- Keep YouTube in mind: Pew Research found that of 13- to 17-year-olds, 89% of males and 81% of females were YouTube viewers, spending a minimum of 3 hours daily on YouTube.
They Are Creative
Against popular opinion, Generation Z is not lazy, but rather follow the “work smart not hard” concept to the core. Feeding their curiosity and tapping into that entrepreneurial spirit will allow them to unleash their creativity and create content. What’s also interesting about their creative behavior is that they want to make a difference and highlight many social causes and injustices through the content they create and post, or simply share on their feed.
Actually, 80% (Forbes Magazine) of them said that finding themselves creatively is important, so a good idea for retailers is to encourage them to create more UGC that will allow them to express themselves as well as relate to the brand and feature it in their posts.
However, for them, sometimes being creative simply means letting loose and creating a type of media content that is inspired from their daily lives, that is light to audiences, that peers could enjoy without thinking too much and without a hidden agenda like this video:
They Are Independent
And what does this mean? This means that post-millennials aspire to be financially independent, even if it’s not the case for all of them. They earn their own money and are not afraid to use it the way they like and on what they want, while being careful. And even though the idea of money terrifies them, they are smarter about it than previous generations and they are all about saving or investing, looking for the smartest deals, and thinking of the future plans. With a conservative approach to financial matters, they are more health-conscious and career focused and “image-oriented” like millenials. Retailers should look into smarter marketing tactics that revolve around discounts and flash sales that will grap the Gen Zers’ attention.
Gen Zers have a strong awareness of their own identity and personal preferences, and with their determination to succeed, they will make an interesting yet valuable target for all retailers.