Generation Z includes retailers’ first set of digitally native consumers. Born after 1996, these customers have never known a world without the internet.
As a result, they have high expectations of interconnectedness between online and in-store shopping experiences. Smartphone in hand, they browse merchandise online and pickup in-store while communicating in real-time with friends on social networks, apps and text messages.
They were born to shop omnichannel style.
Different paths to purchase for different generations
Sometimes also referred to as “Centennials,” they, together with the previous generation of Millennials comprise more than half of the world’s population.
But the two groups approach shopping very differently.
Whereas Millennials eschewed purchasing “things” in favor of experiences, Centennials are happy to buy technology as well as health and wellness products.
More than any other generation, Gen Z shoppers tend to rely on mobile channels first, particularly YouTube and Instagram. Snapchat and TikTok figure into the mix as well.
Once the initial product research is completed, the brand itself comes under scrutiny.
Many in this age group have bought products because they have values that align with the retailer or brand. Others have boycotted a business to show disapproval of certain practices.
Gen Z is very attuned to the retail ecosystem and not only wants to be a part of it but also understands how to influence it. Irregardless, a syncing of data and inventory across channels is an important feature for brands that want to remove barriers to purchase for Gen Z consumers.
Retail Pro Prism gives retailers the ability to have a centralized view of their inventory across channels, in turn allowing them to give this to their customers.
Loyalty motivators for Gen Z
With a spending power of more than $140 billion, retailers are learning that though digitally native, Gen Z cares about connections and community.
They prefer to shop where they can chat with their friends online as well as with store associates in person, while feeling confident that their purchase decisions are supporting businesses that treat employees well and are not harmful to the environment.
Stores such as Nordstrom combine a traditional brick-and-mortar setting with the more personal experience of a pop-up store.
Mobile POS easily creates a personal feel as it allows sales associates to meet customers where they’re at, whether for item lookup or free-standing checkout, and lends itself perfectly to pop-up environments.
Retail Pro readily supports mobile POS since it’s a browser-based software, which means you can choose whether to use it on Apple, Windows, or Android devices.
AI-driven software helps retailers gather information and analyze data of Gen Z shoppers, which they can use to help create intimate experiences and personalized moments.
Those retailers who have established and communicated an authentic identity that mirrors Gen Z’s ethos will be rewarded with these shoppers’ loyalty.
Timely Delivery vs. Sustainability values
While all demographics want fast, reliable delivery, research finds that Gen Zers are the most impatient. Many want same-day delivery and yet are also very interested in carbon-neutral or emission-free deliveries.
While that appears to be a somewhat conflicted stance, these shoppers are also willing to pay more for more sustainable delivery and returns services: They understand the consequences (higher cost) for the services they want (faster, ecologically responsible delivery).
Retail Pro Prism gives you a clear view of across your channels, which increases your ability to identify points where you might be able to save time for your associates and customers’ orders.
Top retailers are investing in key technologies that provide the enhanced customer experience these young consumers are demanding.
Digital customers will check websites for in-store inventory even for stores that don’t have BOPIS or curbside pickup, which leads to a disconnect between channels that ultimately can lead to customers going to competitors.
As younger generations are digitally native, they’ll embrace technology, digitization and collaboration, and require the brands they buy to do the same.
For retailers, that will lead to more success and profitability.