The Buying Power of Gen Z: Courting Their Influence in Real Time
Gen Z is bright, aware of the world around them, and mature beyond their years in many ways. Many view this generation as the most diverse in American history, and they're shaping up to be the most well-educated, according to Pew Charitable Trusts. More importantly, they have a lot of spending power. Gen Z already has an estimated collective buying power that's nearing $150 billion. Given their growing purchasing power, companies are quickly learning to “speak” Gen Z, taking into consideration their strong values and support for social good.
Just as importantly, however, companies need to do a better job of catering to these digital natives, and the continuum of online and offline experiences that make up their customer journey. This can feel like a high bar, as retailers target Gen Zers where they are across a multitude of platforms, but are still expected to make each touchpoint more than just a transaction.
For retailers to successfully meet the needs of Gen Z, consider these three strategies:
Influence the Influencers
Social media dominates the world of Gen Z. They use it to share ideas, images, videos and, most important for retailers, feedback on products and companies. Research from Morning Consult indicates that 16 percent of men and 24 percent of women who are in Gen Z consider using purchasing advice from influencers. Marketers take note — don’t skimp on allocating budget to your social media activities.
The ability to present opinions that can actually make someone decide to buy or not buy a product is a powerful tool for Gen Z. It’s their opportunity to make their voices heard, which can be especially tantalizing to a generation who feel like they often lack a voice.
For example, my teenage son doesn’t want me buying clothes or other items from companies that aren’t socially conscious or source materials that hurt the environment. In order to engage Gen Z and secure their interest, companies should recognize their impact, engage with them on social media, and turn their voice into a tool for promotion. It never hurts if your social media channels provide users with digital assets or interactions they can re-post.
Dominate the Omnichannel
It’s all about the customer experience, right? Personally, I find it very frustrating when I see an item online, then go into the store and find that it’s not available, or it’s not available in my size or color. How important is it to ensure that your channels are in synch? Don't underestimate the importance of coordinating omnichannel marketing. Harvard Business Review found out that around 73 percent of customers prefer shopping through multiple channels. Similarly, 87 percent of retail leaders agree that a seamless omnichannel strategy is crucial for business success.
When examining a marketing technology stack, be sure to dig deep into how the technology platform manages omnichannel marketing. Focus on the ease of management of multiple campaigns, integration with other applications, and the ability to scale over time or when you have a large campaign to manage.
Create a Personal Connection With Customers
We live in a digital world and technology is a tool that can be used to strengthen the connection between retailers and customers. Applications on your phone can highlight what products are available, make suggestions for similar products, help simplify returns, and show customers their loyalty points go a long way, ensuring they feel connected to your company. Gen Z are digital natives and they're incredibly comfortable making this type of digital connection.
For retailers that want to capture the attention of Gen Z and build a long-term relationship, focus on digital strategies that engage consumers and make the customer experience as positive, consistent and interactive as possible. Next step, what’s your metaverse strategy?
Stephanie Reeves Millner is the executive vice president, strategic CX solutions and partnerships at Teleperformance, a leading global group in digitally integrated business services.
Stephanie Reeves Millner is the Executive Vice President, Strategic CX Solutions and Partnerships at Teleperformance, a leading global group in digitally integrated business services.