As a retailer, you will understand the importance of keeping ahead in the ever changing world of eCommerce. While Millennials have been your prime target audience in recent years, the landscape is again changing with Gen Z becoming central to your retail strategies. Today we will be discussing Generation Z, the generation of consumers born between 1995 and 2005: how they want to shop, and what is trending with them.
Gen Z. It turns out marketers have good reason to overuse this catchy term lately to highlight business owners of the new generation and their buying power. According to the results of a survey amongst CS-Cart store owners that we carried out, there has been an interesting split in the data related to the differences in age-related shopping behavior. Younger shoppers – all those aged under 35, but in particular those aged 18 to 24 (Gen Zers)– are already driving a radical change in online shopping.
So let’s first see what the key Generation Z characteristics are:
They love fashion– Apparel brands are very popular with this younger generation. A huge 93% of them said they buy clothing every month; around half say they also buy footwear and accessories just as often. Despite having very lower incomes Gen Z spends much more of their income online compared to previous generations.
They are visuals – They respond more greatly to visual stimuli. This applies both to reaching them and having them making a purchase decision. Design, quality, and fit mattered most to younger shoppers, whilst price was the most important factor for older shoppers aged 55-plus.
They are social media addicts – They spend nearly every waking hour online. 46% are connected 10+ hours per day! They deeply value the opinions of their social community, deeply, seeking advice on most purchasing decisions. Much has been made of the influence of social media for style inspiration and according to Drapers’ survey, 25.7% of shoppers had gained inspiration outfit from Facebook and 21.5% from Instagram.
And now we are turning to the new fitness clothing brand owner, Asad Bashir, who appears to have hit all three targets. Let’s find out from his first-hand experience what it’s like to sell to Gen Z shoppers.
Asad, you are launching a new brand, SacrificeNow, that is aimed at a younger audience and it already seems like you are winning their hearts and minds. Can you share with us how you do this?
Asad: Young people were my primary customer in mind as I was creating my brand. Right at the beginning, I knew how I would approach them. Gen Zers are known for not being loyal to any brands and I was ready to work extra hard to earn their trust. I wanted to show them SacrificeNow is not just about cute fitness outfits, I wanted my brand to have an impact on their lives. My brand is what I stand for. I chose to put my support into sports and I chose to be honest up-front. So I keep saying to them, “If you want to achieve success, you need to be willing to sacrifice. If you want to develop a toned body, you need to invest enormous amounts of sweat, energy, and time working out.” “Sacrifice now for a better future” is the message you might often see in my social posts.
How do you reach Generation Z?
Asad: Understanding the role social media plays in Gen Zers lives is vital. They frequently document their life on social media, and they kind of like to show-off. They feel pressure to always have new clothes. This can also serve my brand as a promotion tool. When somebody buys an outfit from my store, I encourage my shoppers to share this experience on social sites. This can be a photo, a video, or a twitter post.
And how do you encourage them to share?
Asad: We provide a discount in exchange. We send out a promotional leaflet with every item bought stating promotion terms and discount. But from my experience discount is not the only motivation with them, very often Gen Zers just like the idea of contributing to brand development, being part of the story, so to say.
In other words, Generation Z can be active in helping you to create user-generated content?
Asad: Absolutely. If you find the right way to encourage them to do it, you receive free content. What I need to do next is to feature their Instagram posts on my storefront that creates a sense of social proof of my brand and attracts even more customers. And here Instagram Feed Widget by SimtechDev comes in handy.
What is the biggest challenge in dealing with Gen Z?
Asad: As I mentioned before, they are no brand loyal. You can easily lose them to your competitors. But I was prepared from the start.
Have you observed any peculiarities in their shopping behavior?
Asad: Yes, there is one pattern I have noticed. They browse the store putting stuff to their carts and as they proceed to check out, right on the checkout page, they suddenly realize they want to read some reviews for products they have chosen. So they open a new tab and “ask” Google, but they get so drawn in reading the reviews, shared social posts featuring the products and so on that they might simply forget to checkout, or leave it for later.
And I guess this is when you have to rely on your follow-up emails?
Asad: Right. This is when we make good use of our abandoned shopping cart strategy. We send our shoppers emails to remind them to complete their purchases. But we make sure our emails make it to our shoppers’ primary inboxes and not in Gmail promotions tab. This tab is like marketing email purgatory and nobody really opens emails in that tab. So what we do, every time we have to craft our email changing the subject line, greeting and personalize the letter itself. In fact, when you personalize your emails not only do you get them to go to the primary inbox but also you make them important to your customers. Overall, I am happy with the conversion rate of our reminder emails – almost 50 percent of them reach their goal and bring people back to complete their orders.
What advice would you give to businesses who are rethinking their marketing strategy now to deal with Gen Z growing customer power?
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to really know your audience. I did and am still doing a lot of traveling to promote my brand. I give away my products and receive priceless feedback. I know that my audience is visual, design is the number one factor when making their purchase decision. “If I need leggings, I look for leggings by color or texture”, for example are things that they tell me. So I invest in designs. It’s interesting that they appreciate the quality later. Often I get feedback on how they adore the lasting quality: after multiple workouts and machine washes the leggings are still in perfect condition. Another thing I learned unlike those who came before, Gen-Z social media users have more fragmented but frequent use, checking their feeds regularly, but not stopping for long periods of time to properly read through the content. For example, since Gen-Zers use Instagram to showcase their aspirational self, you’ll want to create content that speaks to their aspirations and nothing more. It takes time to learn how to talk to them, not at them.
Thank you, Asad, for your honest answers about your eCommerce experience with Gen Zers, this is always most valuable to learn from entrepreneur’s practical experience.
I will allow myself to be a quick spoiler here and say that SimtechDev is soon releasing a new theme for CS-Cart storefronts – Gen Z. Follow us and be the first to take advantage of the theme tailored to your audience.