Whether you see Generation Z – typically defined as those born between the mid-1990s and around 2010 – as merely a youngster subset of the Millennial generation or a distinct generation in its own right, there’s universal agreement that this is the generation eCommerce experts and site owners will need to especially cater for in the coming years.
In fact, as reported by Bloomberg, depending on which year you use as the generational dividing line, there may already be more Generation Zers in the world than Millennials.
So, what should Generation Zers’ ever-heightening prevalence and potential buying power lead you to do with your own brand’s eCommerce marketing if you wish to attract their custom and loyalty?
Give them a compelling shopping experience
Given that Generation Z is the first ‘digital native’ generation, having grown up with the online world and social media, you might have imagined that this generation is one that prefers to principally shop online. However, the statistics actually indicate that Generation Zers have a somewhat complicated relationship with the worlds of online and offline shopping.
For example, according to one recent eCommerce marketing report provided to Marketing Dive, almost two-thirds (65%) of Generation Zers prefer being able to touch and feel products before making a purchase, and 80% say they look forward to shopping in stores when they have the time.
Yes, a whopping 75% of this generation expressed a preference in the report for doing most of their shopping online when they have the time, thanks to the convenience that it offers. However, the study also uncovered a certain level of frustration about the online shopping experience among Generation Zers, with 38% claiming it’s difficult for them to find what they need online, and 35% even saying they don’t feel comfortable making purchases online.
So, what should this mean for you and your eCommerce store in the year ahead? Well, it’s important to consider the above trends alongside the appetite that this generation has for ‘experiences’, often above material ‘things’ – as shown by the rise of ‘experience’ and ‘adventure’ holidays. In fact, a Shoppercentric report found that 52% of Generation Zers regarded going to physical shops and malls to be as much of a social pursuit as it is about buying things.
So, whether your own eCommerce store also has a physical high-street counterpart, doing everything that you can to refine and enhance the all-round convenience and enjoyment of the shopping process for your Generation Z audience – with considerable scope for engagement and interaction – is crucial.
Redouble your efforts towards mobile-friendliness
Plenty of us eCommerce experts in the marketing world have been chanting the ‘mobile-first’ mantra for years, and if you’ve been ignoring those chants, there’s a good chance that you’ve already been significantly adversely hit by lost business from Generation Zers.
After all, as revealed in a ContentSquare report, Generation Z has a low tolerance for poorly-functioning apps, with six in 10 stating they will not use an app or website that is too slow to load, and 62% refusing to use an app if it is difficult to navigate.
However, if the cost of deterring smartphone-wielding Generation Zers is high, it should also be noted that the rewards for getting it right can be vast. The same study as mentioned above found that Generation Zers convert about twice as much on mobile than any other demographic; indeed, such is this generation’s affinity with mobile, that more than half of them apparently live without a desktop computer at all.
These are all further signs of Generation Zers’ attraction to shopping experiences that mirror the highly immediate, intuitive and interconnected experience to which they are accustomed on social media, replete with opportunities for interaction and immersion, not just shopping.
Appeal to this generation’s need for instant gratification
Now, I don’t mean to express any ‘back in my day’ cynicism towards Generation Z here – and in any case, most of us are probably driven to shop online at least in part due to the sheer convenience that it brings us, as well as the competitive prices it frequently offers compared to the high street.
No, what I’m really getting at here, is that if you seriously want to set up your brand’s eCommerce presence to be a thoroughly Generation Z-friendly one, it’s crucial to think a bit more laterally about what ‘instant gratification’ actually is, from an online shopping perspective.
Generation Z, after all, really are utterly ‘digital-native’, being accustomed to constant connection to social networks throughout their day, and inhabiting an online environment where events happen in real time. Not only, in fact, are they used to not having to wait for things to happen, but social media also gives them a real sense of power.
So, they should be able to interact and shop with your eCommerce site on their terms. That means the shopping experience you give them really should feel seamless across all of the connected devices that they may use to browse your platform. You will also, of course, need to give them instant access to all of the product and delivery information that they could conceivably require, and achieve consistently swift turnarounds for their orders.
But ensuring instant gratification will also increasingly mean so many other things for your eCommerce store as Generation Zers exert their ever-heightening influence. Do the products of yours that you describe online truly correspond in every way with the product they will receive in their hands? Is your customer service offering not just helpful on request, but proactive, too? Is delivery either free or very low cost, and do you deliver anytime, anywhere?
As you can see from the above, there are many dimensions to appealing to Generation Zers – as is the case with any generation – although of course, this demographic’s proficiency with all things technology, connectedness and social media will be a consistent theme guiding your efforts.
If you are unsure what next steps your own brand needs to take with its shopping experience when you have one eye on how you can better appeal to Generation Z, why not make Visualsoft your choice of eCommerce agency or even get in touch directly with me, Myk Baxter, today?