Most of Generation Z—the generation born after 1995—still aren’t old enough to move out of mom and dad’s house. However, for those who are too young to make or spend their own money, Gen Z still has a huge influence on what their families are buying and how much they spend. According to a National Retail Federation study, consumers spent $829.6 billion on Gen Zers alone in 2015.
Bob Goodwin of InfoScout supports that claim:
“Regardless of age, when a Gen Zer is present on the trip the family spends more. At club or wholesale retailers like Costco and Sam’s Club, we see families spending up to $12 more when their child is present.”
Whether they are flexing their consumer muscles as young adults or inspiring their parents to dip a little deeper into their wallets, Generation Z is now taking a front seat in e-commerce sales and marketing strategy discussions. Here’s what you should know about their spending patterns so your e-commerce business can plan accordingly.
1. They are Not Cheap
With millennials, online retailers tend to worry about offering the best prices, the cheapest (or free) shipping, and the most appealing discounts. However, Gen Zers do not seem to have those same price tag apprehensions. With a buying power of $44 billion and 75 percent of them currently spending over half their money on whatever they want each month, price is not an object.
2. Quality Prevails
So, if they do not care about price, what is it that drives Gen Z loyalty? According to the NRF, it is quality, as 66 percent of survey respondents said that what they care about most is that a brand sells the highest quality products possible.
3. The New Omnichannel Experience
The omnichannel shopping experience used to be focused on creating a unified experience across all online channels: social media, website, live chat support, etc. Now, with 67 percent of Gen Zers doing most of their shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, omnichannel for retailers now means there needs to be a sync-up between the online and offline experience.
“With technology constantly evolving but some shopping habits remaining the same, retailers need to be agile enough to serve both needs,” said Matthew Shay, NRF president and CEO. “Retailers are constantly focused on experimenting with innovations both online and in-store to stay relevant to evolving consumer demand.”
4. Stock Up
With Gen Zers having never known a world without Internet access or always-on connectivity to everyone and everything through their smart devices, it’s no surprise that patience is not their strong suit. With 66 percent of Gen Zers considering out-of-stock items to be a major commerce faux pas, staying on top of inventory is important for both online and brick and mortar retailers. Make the process easier for your warehouse by looking into shipping software that includes inventory management capabilities.
5. An Emphasis on Security
For any e-commerce business that wants to collect customer information online, it is a well-known fact that there is no compromise when it comes to website and payment gateway security. Gen Zers know this, and that is why they place such a heavy reliance on security in their own travels around the web, with 61 percent being more willing to share their personal details with an online retailer if there’s proof of security readily available.
6. Skip the Ads
Gen Zers are highly aware of the sort of tactics online retailers may use to try to get their business. If their shopping experience is interrupted or an online business comes off as self-serving, expect them to transfer their loyalties elsewhere. This is why there should be less focus on ads and popups and more focus on creating relatable and relevant content.
7. Be Like Apple
As part of this preference for unified shopping experiences between the offline and online, Gen Zers want brands they engage with to actually care about their consumers. One of the ways they want them to demonstrate this is through quick, attentive, helpful, and knowledgeable customer service. Think of the kind of service one would get from Apple. Other ways to show your Gen Z customers (or customers of any age) that you care? Review your e-commerce email strategy to make sure you’re contacting customers with order and tracking information. Offer a pain-free returns solution. Give them different shipping options.
Generation Z is unlike any generation the e-commerce world has had to deal with before. They are technology dependent and yet still prefer in-person shopping experiences. They are super quick to transfer loyalty from brand to brand if their expectations are not met. Moreover, their communication preferences differ significantly from previous generations. The more online businesses can acquaint themselves with these (un)spoken Gen Z rules now, the better they will be able to serve this audience in the long run.
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