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Gen Z has become the ideal target audience for many brands since they are a generation that consists of a growing number of independent consumers.
However, Gen Z has different concerns and focus areas than Millennials and other older generations. For example, the cost of living is the top concern among nearly a third of Gen Zers. Members of this generation also seek shorter and highly snackable content, with 61% of Gen Zers preferring short videos under a minute long. They're also frequent users of social media and spend much of their time online as the first generation to have never known an era without the internet.
If you want to attract Gen Z with your brand, you must understand Gen Z's shopping habits, buyer behaviors, and preferences. To help you build a relationship with Gen Z, the following guide will explore who this generation is, what they look for from brands, and how you can reach this generation with your offerings.
Generation Z, or Gen Z, comprises members who are known as zoomers. It consists of individuals born anywhere from 1997 to 2012. The generation to come before Gen Z was the Millennials, and the generation coming after it is Generation Alpha.
Although Gen Z and the Millennials share some similarities, there are some key differences between them to keep in mind. According to data from Salesforce, one of the main differences comes down to what they want from brands. While Gen Z's shopping habits include finding ways to save more money and seeking more innovative brands, Millennials tend to be more willing to spend money on ideals and the brands that maintain their loyalty.
Unlike the more idealistic Millennials before them, zoomers want to spend less while investing in brands that truly make a difference. One of the main reasons for this change is inflation, as goods and services become increasingly expensive. However, while both generations are working toward saving money, the methods they use to save also differ. For example, Millennials with families tend to turn to discount retailers, whereas Gen Z sees savings as purchasing more secondhand goods. Many Gen Zers are also taking advantage of "buy now, pay later" options that further lead to cost savings.
These key differences make it necessary to understand Gen Z and how this generation prefers to shop. There are specific things zoomers are looking for, and catering to these wants and needs can help differentiate you from competitors vying for this generation's attention.
The digital native generation has several expectations regarding quality, price and value when it comes to shopping. While brands are competing with each other to meet Gen Z’s expectations, many don’t understand what Gen Z shoppers actually demand. Here are key elements that Gen Z looks for while shopping:
Gen Zers want more interactivity with brand experiences. Growing up in the digital era, they're used to engaging with brands in innovative and unique ways. They want to be able to customize their customer experiences on brands' websites, for instance, with plenty of options that help personalize products and services. They also want to take advantage of virtual and augmented reality solutions that create more immersive experiences. In short, interactivity is critical when connecting with zoomers.
Unlike previous generations, Gen Z wants to be an active part of the conversation at large. They want to be able to express their opinions, leave reviews, and share their requests or complaints with brands. In turn, they want to be heard and see their input make a difference. In other words, they value conversations over monologues while shopping.
Gen Z also seeks more entertainment than earlier generations, because this generation has grown up with highly engaging digital experiences. They also encounter many brands inundating them with information, making it necessary to find ways to entertain these audiences in unique ways. Just consider the fact that Gen Z prefers video games and other more interactive forms of entertainment over the TV and movies that Millennials enjoy.
Gen Zers often use mobile devices in their everyday lives, making mobile shopping crucial for brands to offer. They frequently use smartphones and tablets to conduct research into products and services, compare options and prices, search for promotions, and seek out products that they can't find in-store. As such, retail companies must have mobile-optimized websites, mobile apps, or both.
Most members of Gen Z are familiar with the risks of data breaches, hacking attempts, and other security threats affecting every industry. Because of this, privacy is a top concern among zoomers. If you want to encourage this generation to do business with you, you must indicate how you're using your customers' data with clear privacy policies, and you should demonstrate strong security measures that help protect your systems and customer data.
As many brands attempt to get Gen Zers' attention with flashy products and the perfect image, this audience has grown desensitized to and unmoved by these tactics. Instead, Gen Z wants brands that come across as authentic and realistic. They prefer brands that offer a unique experience that demonstrates social responsibility and an eagerness to truly satisfy their customers.
In addition to authenticity, Gen Z seeks transparency from the brands it trusts. This entails brands disclosing the nature of their practices and products, showing a genuine honesty that sets them apart from deceptive competitors. Transparency could also involve standing up for a particular social cause with a specific source of inspiration and mission behind it.
Gen Z is even more environmentally conscious than previous generations and wants to see brands appeal to this awareness. They're more likely to support brands that display sustainable practices, including using eco-friendly packaging materials and production processes. In supporting sustainable brands, Gen Zers can feel more like they're actively participating in creating a better world instead of acting as mere audiences.
Compared to other generations, Gen Z is more in favor of flexibility in gender roles as they challenge norms and stereotypes. In fact, the Gen Z Fashion Report indicates that nearly two thirds of Gen Z shoppers believe that their online shopping experience could be improved if there was a “gender neutral” search option. As Gen Z seeks gender neutral fashion, it is crucial for brands to meet their demands and ensure gender equality and inclusion especially in fashion.
You should also consider what specifically influences Gen Z shopping behavior and habits. Some key influences include:
Zoomers use social media very frequently, with certain platforms more popular than others among this generation. In descending order, the most popular platforms among Gen Z are Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. It indicates that Gen Z enjoys highly visual platforms that are ripe for video marketing campaigns.
Members of Gen Z also want products of consistently great quality, just like previous generations. With so many options available today, quality is a critical differentiating factor that can keep zoomers loyal to your brand.
Although influencers continue to impact Gen Z's shopping habits, this generation has begun to make the switch to content creators. The main reason for this transition has been the increasing demand for authentic, real, and relatable content. Content creators can put together high-quality content that goes beyond merely influencing and inspiring audiences in this generation.
Another major influencing factor, particularly for Gen Z online shopping, is personalization. Zoomers seek more personalization than Millennials and baby boomers because they want brands to speak more directly to them and their needs. Personalization shows that you value your audiences and care about crafting the ideal experience for each individual. It also simplifies the buying process as shoppers can more quickly find what they want and need based on their interests. Ultimately, personalized and engaging content will go a long way in attracting zoomers.
Yet, the rising privacy awareness becomes a challenge for brands. It is like walking a fine line for many marketers to personalize the experience without being creepy. For more insights into the personalization vs. privacy dilemma, check out the blog post, “How much personalization is too much?”.
Gen Z enjoys the physical in-store experience, but they're tech-savvy and tend to spend most of their time online. To establish a strong relationship and keep zoomers' attention, you should implement an omnichannel marketing strategy. For example, you should include scannable materials such as QR codes in physical retail locations that take customers to your website, where they can learn more about your brand and offerings. You can also virtualize your in-store experience with virtual reality and augmented reality experiences that replicate physical shopping experiences and products. One way you can use VR is to create a virtual showroom where users can explore and view your products.
You should make it easy for Gen Z to pay for the items they want. Make sure all your customers can pay via credit card or even faster methods such as Google Pay and Apple Pay. This will move people faster to purchase by simplifying the checkout process.
There are several products and services that Gen Zers tend to spend most of their money on. These items include:
Zoomers spend most of their money on a variety of electronics and tech products. These offerings include video games, mobile apps, and other technology that can entertain them or improve their lives in different ways.
Gen Zers also spend much of their money on many types of beauty and skincare products, as this generation believes in maintaining a healthy appearance. One of the reasons for this is the popularity of social media influencers and their campaigns promoting many of these products. Also, many zoomers regularly use social media and want to maintain their appearance for the perfect post.
With the increase in physical and mental health awareness, Gen Z is also likely to purchase many health and wellness products. They keep up with the latest trends in health and wellness, and they seek new ways to consistently improve and maintain it. Additionally, they're more drawn to natural remedies and eat less fast food than the generations before them.
Gen Z places a high emphasis on education, with this generation likely to surpass Millennials as the most educated. They're putting aside funds for college earlier than Millennials did, and they're pursuing more educational programs. As a result, they're more eager to invest in their education, including a wide range of educational content on multiple platforms.
All of the Gen Z shopping habits mentioned above are going to change the shape of eCommerce. Specifically, brands will need to innovate and stand apart from others by offering a transparent, authentic, and interactive brand experience that builds a strong connection. They'll also want to consistently entertain and engage these audiences if they want to stand out from the many brands saturating the market.
Brands can use many tools such as social media, mobile apps, and other digital experiences to establish a solid relationship through a combination of digital and in-store interactions. They can also develop content that personalizes the experience that each shopper has with the brand and its offerings.
To cater to the unique needs of Gen Z, you must use the right content in the right format. As Gen Z seeks out authentic and fun experiences, one of the best types of content to develop is short-form and vertical video content. Zoomers prioritize experiences, which is why Storyly Stories are perfect for connecting with Gen Z.
Using Storyly Stories, you can produce and stream shoppable video Stories in your app and on your website that capture the attention of Gen Z shoppers and connect with your young audience. Shoppable Stories is a fun way to showcase your offerings and make it easy for viewers to shop through the video, seamlessly connecting entertainment with eCommerce. Moreover, you can use App and Web Stories to ensure authenticity, provide inspiration, tell your brand’s standpoint about sustainability and diversity, and build interactive/collaborative communications. Remember, these are what your Gen Z customers demand.
On top, Storyly’s in-Story checkout feature eliminates other barriers to conversion with a streamlined checkout experience. Users can add featured products to their cart, choose product variants like size and color, and directly complete their purchase without having to leave the Story. Ultimately, speeding the path to conversion will allow Gen Z to purchase their favorite products right away through an engaging shopping experience.
With a better understanding of Gen Z shopping habits, you'll have the chance to connect with this generation and boost sales among zoomers. Platforms like Storyly and effective strategies will ensure you don't fall behind as you connect with all target audiences, including upcoming generations.