Gen Z customers are very social shoppers, so it’s important to provide them with great customer service, even if they don’t make a purchase right away.
There's some good news and there is some bad news for brick and mortar retailers. The good news is that Generation Z prefers to do their shopping in person, with the NRF recently identifying that 98 percent of Gen Z still does some of their shopping in stores and 67 percent shop in brick and mortar stores most of the time. This generation’s surprising preference for bricks over clicks means that physical retail is not dying anytime soon, but don’t get too excited.
Here’s the bad news… the United States is still over-stored — with more than six times the retail square feet per capita than other developed countries — so physical retail is more competitive today than ever before.
Although Generation Z customers spend lots of time online, they’re understandably wary of digital advertising. These are customers born after the mid 90’s who are inundated with information and advertising on a daily basis. Perhaps this is why, according to AdAge, 69 percent of Gen Z avoid ads. Instead, they only gravitate towards brands that walk the walk with quality product, great customer service, and a reliable omnichannel experience.
Keeping this in mind, consider the tips below to create a standout physical presence in your retail store for Generation Z shoppers!
While traditional retail investments hinged on celebrity endorsements, modern retail’s main focus is on personalizing the individual customer’s shopping journey.
Tip #1: Personalize the shopping journey
According to a recent report by Accenture (via Evergage), 75 percent of customers are more likely to buy from a retailer that personalizes their shopping experience through recognizing them by name or making recommendations based on their purchase history. While traditional retail investments hinged on celebrity endorsements, modern retail’s main focus is on personalizing the individual customer’s shopping journey. Personalization is also key to appealing to next generation customers, who value personalization over privacy.
Tip #2: Make it social
Young customers love to connect with one another via their buying preferences and favorite brands. To encourage them to share images from your store, provide them with a great photo-op like a cardboard cutout or an interesting chair. You’ll also want to check the lighting around your display. If it’s not flattering for selfies, nobody will want to share the pics from their experience.
Gen Z customers have major FOMO (fear of missing out) and social media attention is a currency nowadays – which you need to leverage. Shopify reports that companies with User Generated Content (UGC) in their ads received 4x more click-throughs than other brands. In other words, social media posting and sharing, as well as liking and commenting on customer photos leads to more brand visibility and increased customer engagement.
Associates should be well-informed, engaged and prepared to interact with Gen Z customers despite the reality that a purchase may not happen right away.
Tip #3: Welcome return engagement
Expect Gen Z customers to make multiple store visits, both alone and in groups, before making a purchase. According to FITCH, “Gen Z will seek approval from their peers, delaying gratification in case something better comes along, while constantly tracking prices using apps.” Make it easy for them to conduct social research while also welcoming discussions with Gen Z customers about their potential purchases. This may include conversations with store associates as well as with their peers, so associates should be well-informed, engaged and prepared to interact with them despite the reality that a purchase may not happen right away.
It’s important for employees to be polite no matter how many times a young person comes in with their friends to “visit” and inquire about a product. Respect the process and in return, welcome sales.
Tip 4: Looking often leads to buying
Since Gen Z customers are known to wait for the price of a product to drop before they buy, it’s important for retailers to know where these customers are hanging out in their store so that they don’t pull a product before interest leads to purchase. In fact, Forbes reports that 31 percent of Gen Z customers are frustrated if the product they want isn’t in stock, which frustrates retailers as well.
Despite their youth, Generation Z-ers are legendarily discerning customers. Your company can appeal to these cautious shoppers by tracking the customer’s journey in your store and staying stocked up on items of interest.
By engaging with Generation Z across channels and personalizing their customer experience, you’ll be uniquely positioned to profit the next generation’s return to brick and mortar.
Tip #5: Ante up for next gen sales
To truly stay competitive in retail, it’s important to determine what inventory young customers are tracking down in your store and measure their lurk times against actual purchases. Dor can enable you to track store traffic, as well as measure marketing efforts to figure out where you need to make some changes if those purchases aren’t happening. From there, you can cross-check your prices with those of other retailers — both local and online — to identify what tweaks you need to make to ensure you’ll be the one making the sale the next time the young visitors to your store are ready to buy.
Gen Z customers are very social shoppers, so it’s important to provide them with great customer service, even if they don’t make a purchase right away. By engaging with Generation Z across channels and personalizing their customer experience, you’ll be uniquely positioned to profit the next generation’s return to brick and mortar.