Marketers are still learning to connect with Gen Z, so we tend to default to how we approach millennials. However, these millennial strategies will likely miss the mark with the emerging Gen Z cohort. These digital natives are constantly connected to their mobile device and use it for almost all brand interactions. The majority of their time is spent on apps and web-based mobile experiences. In fact, 95 percent of teens have access to a smartphone, and 45 percent say they're online "almost constantly."
We created digital touchpoints with millennials, but Gen Z requires more of a continuous conversation, facilitated via mobile, at all points throughout the purchase cycle, regardless of whether that’s online or at brick-and-mortar.
Why focus on Gen Z? They’re already making their mark, with 86 million members in the U.S. and over 2 billion worldwide. Also, Gen Z holds $44 billion-plus in annual purchasing power and influences the majority of household purchases.
Pre-Purchase: Let Gen Z Experience Your Brand With ‘Storyliving’
Gain Gen Z’s attention through "storyliving": modernized storytelling which enables consumers to experience a company’s brand narrative or brand DNA.
Adopting Gen Z’s propensity for mobile technology, marketers can facilitate those conversations in meaningful ways to build a deeper relationship with brands in the pre-purchase stage.
Using web-based augmented reality (AR) to allow consumers to experience your brand’s personality is a great way to create the fun and cool experiences this generation gravitates toward. IKEA Place does a really great job of using AR to enable shoppers to “try it before you buy it” by virtually placing furniture in the shopper’s space at home.
Purchase: Connect Digital and Physical Worlds
This generation prefers to research products online, but shop in-store. This collision between the physical and digital worlds presents an opportunity to build brand affinity and encourage purchases by bridging the gap between offline users and online consumers.
Create an interactive experience with a short quiz at-shelf for consumers to learn about products, receive product recommendations, and get a chance to win. In addition to motivating brand interaction, these efforts can garner data acquisition into a CRM database for future conversations.
Spacesavers Frame Styler uses an online tool to preview recommended frames on a user’s scanned face prior to their in-store eye exam. Talk about bridging the physical and digital worlds!
Post-Purchase: Continue the Conversation With Gamification
Games use individual, physiological and social motivators that encourage repeat action and specific behaviors. Therefore, brands can use gamified experiences to create fun, bite-size engagements that leverage Gen Z’s desire to interact with innovative brands. This strategy allows you to continue the conversation beyond purchase and stay top of mind among known consumers.
If your brand already has an app with a solid audience, gamification in-app is a plus. However, you can also consider starting with web-based games. For instance, provide a personality test that recommends additional products or an advergame that highlights your product’s features.
Fabletics’ VIP program follows the pillars of gamification by making its program fun, bite-sized and rewarding. Answer several quick preference questions in a survey to earn special offers and see recommended products. Fabletics sweetens the deal by adding a fun spin-the-wheel function at the end of the survey to earn an additional discount.
To read more about connecting with this newest generation, learn three other tactics to capture their attention and loyalty, and see some in-market examples of brands that are doing it right, check out HelloWorld, a Merkle Company’s Generation Z eBook.
Julie Wojtowicz is a director, strategy and insights at HelloWorld, a digital marketing solutions company. Julie works with the world’s largest brands to provide strategic consulting designed to drive acquisition, increase consumer engagement, and ultimately strengthen relationships between brands and their customers.
Related story: How to Prepare for the Next Generation of Shoppers