Reaching Gen Z: They’re Driven by Digital Touchpoints to Identify Products, but Prefer In-Store Experience

Two young girls look at clothing in store

Retailers Must Utilize Social Engagement, Mobile Tactics and In-Store Interactions

Digital touchpoints—whether on social media, a brand’s website or via targeted emails—help Generation Z identify the products they want, and then drive them in-store to make the purchase. Therefore, physical retailers need to balance personalized, digital methods with compelling in-store experiences to engage with these mobile-first customers, according to new research from retail analytics and omnichannel engagement firm Euclid Analytics. The firm’s new study, Evolution of Retail, 2017 Generation Z Shopper, which polled over 1,500 consumers from the U.S., highlights the shopping behavior of Gen Z consumers alongside other consumer shopping behavior and preferences.

According to the survey, 53 percent of Gen Z shoppers shop in retail stores at least once a week, and the National Retail Federation indicates they hold an estimated $44 billion in buying power, creating a tremendous opportunity for retailers to attract and engage with a new set of customers. The Gen Z population, born between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s, is set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020 and is the first generation to have grown up alongside smart devices, social media networks and fast-changing consumer messaging platforms. As a result, Gen Z shoppers are increasingly motivated by the convenience and personalization found online, forcing retailers to cater to new behaviors and expectations.

The study reveals what retailers should know about the Gen Z shopper versus other generations—and how they can adapt their marketing strategies to engage with this mobile-first shopper.

Key findings include:

  • Gen Z values the in-store experience: 66 percent of Gen Z still prefer to shop in store because they like to see, hold and try on products before buying and 28 percent of Gen Z shoppers want to engage with store associates while shopping, the most of any generation.
  • Gen Z visits stores to buy, not browse: Only 47 percent of Gen Z shoppers like to browse stores (tied with Baby Boomers for the lowest compared to Millennials and Gen X) and 31 percent of Gen Z shoppers believe it is hard to find items they are looking for in a physical store (the most of any generation).
  • Personalization gains focus: 26 percent of Gen Z shoppers expect retailers to offer a more personalized experience based on their shopping habits and preferences, the most of all demographics, versus 22 percent of Millennials, 17 percent of Gen X and 11 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Snapchat provides social proof: 44 percent of Gen Z shoppers use Snapchat the most while shopping in a retail store, while only 16 percent of Millennial and 5 percent of Gen X respondents.
  • Instagram wins for brand discovery: While Gen Z shoppers use Snapchat the most while shopping, they rely mainly on Instagram (45 percent) to find new cool products, followed by Facebook (40 percent).

“Retailers should reach out to Generation Z at this early stage to introduce their brands and forge enduring relationships,” said Brent Franson, CEO of Euclid Analytics, in a news release. “Our findings highlight some great opportunities for them to connect with this mobile-first population that’s still very much interested in meaningful in-store experiences. Winning their loyalty will mean getting creative about using mobile and social marketing outreach in their physical stores.”

Download a free copy of Evolution of Retail: 2017 Generation Z Shopper here.

Source: Marketwired; edited by Richard Carufel

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