For the past decade, marketers have had their hands full trying to decode the best way to engage with Millennials and now the era of Gen-Z’ers has come knocking already. Although just a generation apart, there is a massive shift in millennials and Gen-Z shopping trends and buying behaviour.
Did you know that about 67 million people, born between 1997 and 2010 make up this group? They account for almost 20% of all US population, which makes them an audience base to definitely take account of for brands in the e-commerce industry. These individuals are ahead of the latest tech trends and also have significant expectations from a brand demanding their loyalty.
Gen-Z represents a $150 billion annual sales market that continues to gain purchasing power as the generation comes of age and expands its educational and professional horizons, according to eMarketer research.
For retail brands to engage with Gen-Z, firstly it is important to understand the ‘Who’, ‘What’ and ‘Why’ of this demographic group. Here are a few data points that might help –
That was all about who are Gen-Zs and how they think, let’s, now, take a closer look at this generation’s buying behaviour:
- One of the top purchasing factors for these individuals is ‘price’, which is followed by the ‘quality’ of the product/service.
- Gen-Zs like their products just like the content they consume – authentic, relatable and transparent.
- This generation prefers to avoid products and content that is studio-made, something that most retail brands refer to as traditional advertising.
- They share one similarity with Millennials, which is making environmentally-positive decisions. This is also why sustainably manufactured or sustainably sourced products appeal to them, always.
- When it comes to a preferred buying experience for Gen-Zs, it can be defined in one word – omnichannel. That’s because they give equal importance to online as well as offline stores, recommendations of friends and family as well as social media when shopping.
- Influencer factor- Gen-Z’ers do not trust celebrity ambassador voices as much as they trust the voices of micro- and nano-influencers.
- Community- They identify themselves with a community of like-minded people and are receptive to the recommendations and emulate the buying behaviour of such a group.
- Heavy consumption of videos: 72% of consumers prefer consuming videos with content related to products and engaging actively with them.
- Higher shopping frequency – They don’t earmark specific timelines for making purchases. They are digital-first purchasers who are always-on. Increased product discovery touchpoints and ease of completing transactions have facilitated this behaviour.
Taking the above into account, here are some of the key Gen-Z shopping trends that brands must be aware of so as to craft engaging experiences for Gen-Z’ers
Bring live shopping experiences to life.
Going live and offering Gen-Z’ers fun, interactive experiences could be one of the sure-shot ways to garner their attention. Coresight Research estimates that the US livestream e-commerce market will total $17 billion in 2022, up 54.5% from an estimated $11 billion in 2021. This would increase livestreaming e-commerce penetration (as a percentage of the total e-commerce market) from 1.3% to 1.9% in the same time frame—resulting in more than double the 0.8% penetration we saw in 2020 (when the US livestreaming e-commerce market totaled $6 billion).
These live streaming shoppable options can allow the demographic to interact with the presenter in real-time while also getting the opportunity to buy things on the go. Creating such experiences with influencers on board or with brand representatives shortens the purchase cycle significantly as it moves from discovery to consideration to conversion quickly.
Delve into shoppable videos
It is a known fact that nugget-sized content is what works best for Gen-Zs. This holds true even in the case of shopping. If brands are able to create bite-sized shoppable videos that capture the audience’s attention for the exact amount of time, then they can be sure of their business growth.
Double down on user-generated content
Gen-Zs are extremely social individuals who want to feel like they belong to a larger community. This is one of the reasons why they prefer frequenting all social media platforms. Retail brands can see this as an opportunity to tap into the influencer culture and create video content that not only relates to Gen-Zs but also inspires them to participate and make the purchase.
It’s a no-brainer that Gen-Zs spend more time on their phone than any of the preceding generations. More than 60% of Gen-Z’ers used their mobile phone to make 2021 holiday gift purchases, significantly higher than any other age demographic, according to eMarketer. It is imperative for brands to craft experiences and seed engagement touchpoints that are made for mobile.
Get ready to be social
As social media continues to expand its sphere of influence, more and more Gen Zs look forward to interacting with brands on social media. Such experiences can be brought to the brand’s own digital properties — its website and app. Coresight Research’s social commerce survey in March 2021 found that nearly nine in 10 respondents who use social media for product research or discovery give up on making a purchase at least sometimes due to a platform’s lack of in-built checkout functionality.
Phygital is the way to go
Gen-Zs are taken by the phygital way of doing things. As a retail brand, if you want to attract and retain more customers, then offering them a combined experience of shopping in-store with the convenience of e-commerce can be a great way of marketing.
Establish an emotional connection
Create experiences and communication touchpoints that are authentic. Gen-Z values authentic voices and stories over-cliched marketing humdrum. Influencers from the relevant niche may serve as better ambassadors in this regard than a high-profile celebrity.
Create curated experiences
Along with a variety of products, Gen-Zs seek curated shopping experiences, such as immersive holiday shopping experiences, across the purchase journey and tend to trust and engage with brands that deliver such experiences.
Gen-Z’ers might seem like a tough cookie to crack but engaging with them can be made easy by taking the Gen-Z shopping trends into account while crafting experiential marketing strategies. Armed with the Gen-Z shopping insights, brands create an immersive and interactive buying experience for the Gen-Z group that boosts conversion and leads to sustainable growth.
Firework’s ‘Christmas in July’ video commerce experience powered by the flagship Gen Z Labs initiative is a one-stop shop to learn about how your brand can engage with next-generation customers using livestreaming commerce and digital transformation. Get a first-hand experience of how you can create immersive shopping experiences on your digital storefront for your customers, this holiday season.