Debenhams is the latest in a long line of retailers that have entered liquidation after failing to innovate and connect with younger consumers. It’s crucial for all businesses to keep up with modern consumer demands in order to stay relevant and avoid a similar demise.
Generation Z, especially, are the up-and-coming buyers, so it’s important to take their specific shopping habits into consideration when carving out your business plan. But what exactly do Gen Z, or Zoomers, expect from a business in the modern digital economy?
As online shopping has become the norm over the past few years, so has the expectation for fast delivery. More than half of millennials expect same-day delivery to be an option at check out, and 23% of shoppers will pay a premium price in order to get their goods on the same day.
In order to keep up with the changing demands, it’s a good idea to start investing in working with courier companies who can get your goods to your customers as quickly as possible. CitySprint, for example, offers same-day delivery as one of its core services, pledging to collect packages within an hour of the order being placed, and offering real-time tracking so customers can keep an eye on where their package is and when to expect it, even if they have to pay extra in delivery charges.
Eco-friendly and sustainable purchases
A 2019 report on consumer spending found that 62% of Generation Z prioritise shopping with sustainable brands, with 54% going on to say they’re willing to pay at least 10% more on sustainable products. Take a look at your products and see if it’s possible to make any areas more sustainable and environmentally-friendly.
Meanwhile, resale and consignment stores have been gaining popularity over the past few years, with companies like Poshmark, ThredUp, and Depop garnering more active users than ever, and the industry as a whole growing 21 times faster than the retail market.
Now, many brands are keeping lines of communication open with customers even after the point of sale, encouraging them to recycle their products rather than throwing them out, or offering ways to upcycle. Patagonia, for example, has its ReCrafted collection, which makes one-of-a-kind pieces made from deconstructed and repurposed clothes that have been sent back to the company.
Following in these footsteps can encourage more sustainable purchases to be made with you over competitors.
Personalised experiences and real relationships
Having been raised on personalised offerings and suggestions from the likes of Spotify and Netflix, more Gen Z shoppers are coming to expect similar personalised experiences from the brands they shop with. This idea of recommending specific products and services based on previous activity is something more brands should be looking towards.
It’s no longer a case of simply having your customer’s name at the start of newsletters. After all, customers are parting with their hard-earned money, and they want to feel like their specific needs are taken care of.
Improving on customer service and implementing customer retention schemes can help with this. For example, keep a record of each customer’s order history in order to make informed recommendations based on their spending habits. If your business has too many customers to do this manually, there are a number of recommendation algorithms available that do this for you.
Whether you want to highlight trending products, offer contextual recommendations based on purchases made, or even offer products based on what the user searched for, there’s an algorithm that can help you.
Natural brand loyalty
Brand loyalty is what you should ideally strive towards with every customer. However, it’s been found that Zoomers value the idea of loyalty more than previous generations — especially among females. Three in four Generation Z women admitted to shopping with the same brands for beauty and skincare products at least two-thirds of the time.
In order to boost loyalty among your younger customers, it’s important to focus on the areas they consider most important. Generation Z are less interested in joining loyalty programs, so brand loyalty needs to be based on trust rather than rewards.
Social media is your friend here. Zoomers spend an average of almost three hours on social media per day, according to the World Economic Forum, so it’s important for you to have a noticeable presence across a range of platforms. Create engaging content that users can interact with, respond to comments and build a rapport with your audience, in turn building a real relationship.
It’s not enough to leave your interns to play around with your social media accounts, you need to have a dedicated team to create an effective social media presence for your audience to engage with.