3 ways Gen Z is shaking up the shopping experience
Millennials have long dominated brand and retailer's minds for well over a decade now, but newer on the radar is the next generation of Gen Z. They are the 16-22 year olds whose shopping habits aren't the same as their older millennial counterparts. Influenced by the Great Recession, technology, and their Gen X parents, they still prefer shopping in stores than online, according to a survey from IBM and the National Retail Foundation. However, this doesn't mean retailers can revert back to the glory days of brick and mortar of the early 2000s. Gen Z is 25% of the population, so retailers need to keep this new consumer in mind. Here's how they're changing shopping habits as the first group graduates college this year and plans to venture out on their own:
1. They want interactive, tech-driven store experiences.
If retailers want to draw in this generation that has had instant access to everything, the store experience needs to be interactive from virtual dressing rooms to mobile payments. Stores like Best Buy and Apple are creating this product playroom that is both social and tech-driven. On-hand human experts compliment the experience. Sephora mix of online features, like the virtual artist app, and in store expertise help drive this trend as well.
2. Make stores pretty and throw out the old rules of retail
This generation doesn't know a life without the internet and because of this, aspirational browsing and experiences are an important habit for them. When your store combines the behavior of Facebook and Pinterest in person, the experience you provide to Gen Z is just as important as price. Retail consultants, FITCH, explain that Gen Zers have the following aesthetic and sensory preferences when it comes to store design:
Gen Z orientate by contrast and colour, before exploring product features.
Gen Z don't look up when shopping; they navigate at eye level.
Signage is invisible; their focus is on the product.
Music signifies 'open for business'; silence suggests closing time.
Touch and access to the product are key for Gen Z; clinical displays are offputting.
A major frustration is hidden price tags - they fear they'll want it and then realise they can't afford it.
3. Show and Tell
Fitch further explains this generation is connected and wants to be seen and heard. Having made their purchase, Gen Z immediately want to connect with their peers, creating, watching and responding to 'haul' videos. Beats by Dre understand how Gen Z love to share, making it easy to upload pictures of themselves in their new headphones. Look at the polling feature on Instagram stories: while in the dressing room at a retailer, consumers can include their network in the decision process. Remember, you're not only selling to the purchaser, you're selling to their friends as well.