Gen-Z Marketing 101: Unlocking the Secrets to Reaching Young Shoppers
With a smartphone in hand and a hunger for new experiences, Gen-Z is leading the way in the next wave of consumer behaviour and, in turn, company marketing practices.
So as we enter a new era in marketing, what exactly do Gen-Zers want from their online shopping experience? And how can you give it to them?
Straight from a Gen-Z’s mouth, here are our refined tips.
Let’s start from the beginning. Who is Gen-Z?
Generation Z comes after Millennials and before Generation Alpha. It refers to the people that grew up spanning both sides of the millennium (born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s).
And no, we’re not just smartphone-addicted drones. Anti-social gamers. Serial TikTok scrollers with goldfish-equivalent attention spans. We’re young, fresh, tech-savvy, well-educated, and socially minded.
Far more than just a market segment, we’re a cultural force to be reckoned with.
And with 2.56 billion of us out there with a spending power of $ 143 billion, we’re soon to become the largest cohort of consumers in the world. So, you may want to hear us out.
Key Characteristics of Gen-Z Consumer Behaviour
The brands who want a sweet slice of that rainbow-layer cake need to understand our tendencies and digital expectations. Our buying habits and preferences.
We have a different approach to shopping, so we’ve wrapped up what you should know:
These characteristics make Gen-Z a unique generation of consumers. And as an e-commerce brand, you must tap into these peculiarities and make the best of them in your marketing strategy.
So how can you successfully market to Generation Z?
Well, there’s no exact science to it, but there are essential pointers to keep in mind when trying to jump on our vibe.
1. Create immersive experiences.
62 per cent of Gen-Zs find themselves attracted to brands they view as “fun or cool”. And since we value experiences over possessions, we want to be a part of the brands we support.
Gen-Z is virtual-hopping, omnichannel surfers. We grew up in the digital age, bombarded with information, so we have pretty short attention spans (about 8 seconds!) when it comes to content we don’t find engaging or valuable. Not to mention, we have, like, a gazillion other things we could be doing instead of trudging through 2D images of clothes to find an outfit for the weekend. So you’ve got to go the extra mile to grab our attention.
And the thing is, we’re quite tough to impress. Because technology and the internet have become an integral part of our daily lives, we’re less shocked by mediocre advancements in tech. We need more to align with our expectations for instant gratification.
We aren’t talking about sorcery, but experiential elements come pretty close. Ever thought about bringing your online e-commerce solution to life?
Read more about: Difference Between AI and VI – The Ultimate Battle of Intelligence.
Imagine a world where convenience, accessibility and personalisation meet advanced tech and endless shopping possibilities. Where your customers can navigate through aisles of merchandise with VR technology in the company of a trusty AI assistant at their service. And all this from the comfort of their own home!
Virtual stores meet Gen-Z expectations like they were handcrafted just for us:
- Convenience. Gen-Z customers can shop from anywhere at any time. There’s no need to physically travel there or worry about store hours since virtual stores are open 24/7.
- Accessibility. With virtual stores, you can reach a broad audience (of Gen-Z and further afield), regardless of geographic location. Customers can shop from anywhere (as long as they have a solid internet connection). You can also cater to customers with disabilities who may face physical barriers to accessing physical stores, which is mega brownie points because Gen-Z is all about inclusivity!
- Personalisation. Virtual stores offer personalised shopping experiences through targeted advertising, product recommendations, and tailored offers based on the customer’s purchase history and preferences. Gen-Z values a brand’s extra effort to facilitate engaging, personal relationships with their clients far more than other generations. So this point is key (and we’ve got more on that later).
Additionally, virtual stores often feature unique, limited-edition, and niche products that may not be available in physical stores. And Gen-Z is drawn to the novelty and exclusivity of virtual stores.
Read More: What is the Metaverse?
Shoppers in a younger age cohort show a higher likelihood of purchasing from a virtual store due to their comfort with emerging technologies and the ubiquitous place they hold (and always have held) in their daily lives. And since 52% of them stress the need for shopping experiences to ‘not be boring’, it’s time to step out of your comfort zone.
By providing memorable, immersive experiences, Gen-Z visitors will not only extend our shopping time at your store but create lasting memories that will drive us to return and shop again. And again. And again.
You’re building brand awareness in the best possible way by boosting meaningful engagement. And this, in turn, will lead to an inflation in brand awareness and customer loyalty.
2. Prioritise corporate social responsibility.
Our generation is environmentally-conscious. We’re making sustainability as trendy as crop tops and high-waisted jeans.
And another big box ticked when it comes to virtual stores? They’re about as eco-friendly as retail gets:
- Reduced transportation. Virtual stores end the need for customers to travel to a physical location. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation into busy shopping centres. Not to mention a reduction in returns, which can be as high as 40% for online purchases.
- Less packaging. Virtual stores can minimise waste by reducing the need for physical packaging or – even better – enable digital products and services that don’t need it at all.
- Efficient inventory management. Virtual stores can use data analytics and AI-powered algorithms to optimise inventory management, reducing waste and overstocking.
- Energy efficiency. Virtual stores reduce energy consumption by eliminating the need for lighting and heating in physical stores.
- Reuse and recycling. Virtual stores can encourage the reuse and recycling of digital products and services, reducing the environmental impact of e-waste.
Gen-Z tends to gravitate towards brand marketing that aligns with beliefs similar to our own. Virtual stores, like e-commerce sites, have little store footprint and waste associated with them. The critical difference, though? They don’t sacrifice the experience of shopping in a store-like environment and are more immersive and engaging than traditional e-commerce shopping.
They blend experience with convenience and serve as a unique way for brands to tailor their operations to their consumer’s expectations without forgoing business goals. Win-win, right?
So get your authentic givin’ back on!
3. Personalisation and customisation.
We told you we’d emphasise the getting personal point!
As we’ve mentioned, us Gen-Zers value personalisation from brands because we prioritise individuality and authenticity. We want to be recognised as unique individuals and expect brands to offer tailored experiences that align with our specific needs, preferences, and values.
In fact, 53 per cent of us state our “favourite brand” can “understand us as an individual. So, it’s in the stats: we’re much more likely to respond to e-commerce brands whose marketing content relates to our personal preferences, interests, needs and values.
And that’s where Artificial Intelligence saves the day. Through machine learning, AI detects which marketing messaging tones Gen-Z have best responded to.
You can base your marketing messages on interests, purchase history, location, and past brand interactions. This insightful data gathered will increase conversion rates and improve overall customer experience, making it more engaging, relevant, and memorable. Because who doesn’t like to feel loved in their own way, right? Personalisation can help build trust and loyalty with the brand, as customers feel seen, heard, and valued.
4. Exceptional customer service.
Forget your A to Z’s. We’re familiarising you with our Z to A.
Meet Zeniva, a purpose-built virtual AI assistant that supports global brands with a seamless transition from Web2 to Web3. She’s retail’s most valued EmployAI.
Zeniva is the ultimate multi-action assistant; true-to-life, human-like, but smarter.
Customers will say goodbye to endless browsing as they experience curated product options and personalised shopping experiences.
Returning customers will receive product recommendations based on their browsing and purchase history.
And Zeniva will even meet your customers at the checkout to ensure a seamless shopping journey from start to finish.
AI-powered chatbots can provide quick and efficient customer support 24/7, helping to build trust and a sense of community with customers. This is of huge importance to Gen-Z and will make your brand marketing stand out as more favourable among your competitors.
5. Strong site performance.
Gen-Zers have grown up with instant gratification and on-demand services, so we expect the same from marketing. AI can help marketers deliver relevant, timely messages and offer through chatbots, personalised email campaigns, or other channels.
Regarding our shopping habits, convenience isn’t only King; it’s a royal flush. And 62 per cent of us won’t use a website or app that’s hard to navigate.
So, keep it short and sweet. Time is of the essence: TikTok, TikTok, TikTok. That means:
- Quick page load time
- Mobile-friendly website interface
- Easy website navigation
And when it comes to checking out? You have to check out. 30% of Gen Z say an easy and fast checkout process is essential to a positive purchasing experience.
AI can help retailers keep track of their inventory levels and make real-time adjustments to the checkout process based on availability. For example, if a product is out of stock, the AI can suggest similar products or inform the customer when the product will be back in stock.
Read more about Top Metaverse Trends of 2023.
It also automates and speeds up the payment process by automatically filling in billing and shipping information, suggesting payment methods based on past behaviour, and flagging potential issues before they cause delays.
All your customer has to do is pay!
6. Develop a sense of community.
Since Gen-Z values connection with brands, community building around your eCommerce business is one more marketing approach to attracting and retaining young consumers. By doing so, you will also promote brand advocates’ emergence and enhance word-of-mouth marketing’s effectiveness.
If you want to foster brand loyalty, give your customers a sense of belonging when they shop with you.
Here are easy and tangible 3 tactics to consider adding to your implementation strategy:
Give more than you take.
Leave the Gen-Z community member with more than they came with – with every interaction.
The Metaverse can help you create a community around your brand by providing a virtual space where consumers can engage with you in immersive and interactive ways. You can create branded virtual experiences, events, and activities that people can participate in, connect with each other, and share with their networks.
Host virtual events that support social causes to show that you’re committed to making a positive impact. Offer educational resources in virtual classes or exhibits that can provide real value and help people develop new skills. Provide access to resources that may not be available to everyone, such as virtual libraries, art collections or databases. Incorporate sustainable practices that demonstrate your commitment to social causes and the wider community. That way, your brand will create meaningful experiences that resonate with your Gen-Z audience and build long-term consumer-to-brand loyalty.
Invite your online viewers to get involved in easy, low-barrier ways.
Give them space to speak and be heard. How? Well, the Metaverse is a built-in collaboration with users to enable them to generate assets, content, and value.
And Exarta assists individuals to become the exclusive owners of their own content and, eventually, the web itself. Here’s some context: if Web 2.0 users generate the content, Web 3.0 users will generate the platform, create content and reap its benefits.
The Exarta Metaverse will also award its users voting rights and control over the project’s direction. Smart contracts dictate the rules of DAOs, which allow independent users, developers, and businesses to construct the Metaverse and make decisions on how Metaverse governance unfolds. This will fulfill your Gen-Z consumers’ desire for enriching, community-driven experiences.
Your consumers will experience full self-sovereignty. And when everyone can control their identity? An online community where inspired creators can collaborate will thrive.
Read more: Why Dropping Centralised Systems is Essential to the Metaverse.
Show genuine care.
That’s for the people you’re managing and the community you’re growing. Sometimes, the reason brands get stunted when strategising the community is that their attention doesn’t always align. It’s like they’re trying to be something they’re not just for engagement. And we Gen-Zers see right through that.
Leverage the Metaverse to gather feedback from your community. When they co-create content with you, reward their engagement. When you host live virtual events or pop-up stores, showcase diversity and inclusion in your avatars. Create opportunities for Gen-Z to collaborate with one another.
By using the Metaverse’s social and experiential nature, you can build a loyal and engaged community around your brand.
Gen-Z is divergent and revolutionary, so you’ve got to stay adaptable for marketing success.
To stay ahead, businesses must stay attuned to these changes, shifts in shopping habits, and consumer demands.
The future is unpredictable, and relying on past strategies may not guarantee success in the future. Stay ahead of the curve by keeping an eye on current trends and adapting your business strategies accordingly. Staying relevant and profitable in today’s ever-changing landscape requires a forward-thinking approach.
And that approach, friends, is the Metaverse.
This article was written by Hannah Clayton.
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