Time to Start Watching Out for Generation Z in Retail
The past few years’ retailers and brands have had a major focus on Millennials. Generation Z has almost been forgotten because the general consensus was that they would be similar to Millennials and their buying/shopping habits would just blend in. The problem is, they are not. So what is the effect Generation Z in retail?
Did you know Generations Z’s spending power is currently more than that of Millennials? And Gen Z actually comprises the largest percentage of the population in the United States? They are expected to contribute $44 Billion to the US economy. Higher than any generation in the past. This could mean a lot of revenue to retailers/brands if you understand how to work with Generation Z.
Key Points on Generation Z
- They are major multi-taskers. Generation Z likes to work with 5 screens at once vs 2 screens of Millennials. That means that at one stage they probably have the television, a phone, a laptop, a desktop and portable music device going.
- Gen Z grew up on smartphones. Ask them what a flip phone is and you will a lot of blank stares! This makes them true digital natives.
- They prefer to communicate with images. For Social Media they tend to favor Whisper, Snapchat and Secret. And they are not fans for the most part of Facebook. Gen Z’ers will still text but those texts includes emogees and pictures. They will also drive the shift to live video or video through smart media.
- Generation Z is very creative. And they are sick of hearing about problems. They want answers or want to be the answer that fixes the problem. Compared to Gen X or Millennials (reputation) they want a job and will over educate or train themselves to get it. They want to be able to say they earned their success.
- Generation Z has grown up understanding social issues and environmental issues from around the world. Making them extremely aware regarding companies’ social responsibility.
- Lastly, they buy on quality and reputation. If they have a bad experience they will gang up on the brand through different forms of media or just completely avoid that brand. You need to be on your toes always providing the best service and product to keep up with this generation.
Generation Z in Retail: How to Get Ready?
Looking at the points above, transforming the shopping experience is a must. Retailers will need a “proper” omni-channel environment to meet the needs of this generation. Those that are just half-heartily putting in technology and creating multi-customer service environments will end up leaving the retail scene.
How do you start the shift? First, look at your environment and brand. Are you thinking and acting like Generation Z? Do you have Omni-channel ready technology integrated to a common back-end (ERP, OMS sharing with a CRM)? Have you started looking into IoT and smart sensors in your environment? Not just for analytics of your shoppers but also for interacting in a smart and proper way with your customers. Does your shopping experience let your customer to be creative (gamification, let they try things)? Can the customer interact and be serviced by you brand anywhere and at any time?
This generation will drive change in every industry, but especially retail. Generation Z in retail will be the biggest threat and greatest opportunity to retailers in the coming years. They can and will kill your brand overnight if you do not understand or take care of them properly. Retailers cannot sit back and be re-active to Gen Z’ers. With an average attention span of 8 seconds, Generation Z will expect you to have it ready, when and where they want it. I predict that retailers who does not adjust to this generation in the next 12 months, will be losing customers and shutting doors to stores and their business.
Adam Moncrieff has been in Retailing and Technology Solutions for 17+ years. He has worked with large and small retailers globally, with brands like Walmart, Staples, GoDaddy. Reach out to Adam directly at: Adam.Moncrieff@OrderDynamics.com