Gen Z are the future of shopping.
Have you been reading this everywhere?
Well, the future is already here.
They search for authenticity, freedom of expression, and greater openness to understanding different kinds of people.
If you think your eCommerce store is equipped for Gen Z, skim ahead. However, if you’re struggling to connect and engage with them, let’s delve into it.
In this post, we’ll cover:
- Why do Gen Z buyers matter?
- Characteristics of Gen Z buyers
- 8 best eCommerce strategies for Gen Z consumers
- How to market products to Generation Z?
Why do Gen Z buyers matter?
Gen Z are technology natives.
This generation feels comfortable not having only one way to shop. They grew up with the internet and spend their lives navigating through a jungle of hyper-connected networks that are constantly competing for their money, attention, and time.
So, why target Gen Z as consumers?
- With a current purchasing power of $44 billion annually, they are a financial engine that can’t be ignored.
- Gen Z has the fastest growing economic power globally, with earnings set to hit $33 trillion by 2030 and account for more than a quarter of all global income by 2031.
- Gen Z employment is forecast to more than treble by 2030, with this group accounting for 30% of total jobs, compared to just 10% in 2019.
- As digital natives, they have the highest level of digital competence when compared to other generations.
How do you know if you're Gen Z?
The age range of Gen Z is between 1997 – 2012.
So, what does Gen Z stand for?
The 'Z' in Generation Z means "zoomer". Because this is the first generation known to 'zoom' the internet.
What are the characteristics of Gen Z buyers?
Gen Z is the melting pot generation.
They work, constantly travel, explore and have varied interests. They also combine their work with their interests to earn money and cultivate multiple sources of revenue.
Therefore it's important to understand Gen Z’s shopping habits and their motivations:
- are resilient
- like to save money
- shop through different channels
- influenced by social media and pop culture
- attracted to brands that are quirky and ethical
- appreciate transparency and will find out if brands are dishonest or greenwashing
- cares a lot about society and issues such as sustainability, mental health, and inclusivity.
8 best eCommerce strategies for Gen Z consumers
How to optimize eCommerce stores
1. Speed it up to 7G
Yes, we always talk about website speed.
But when it comes to Gen Z audiences, speed is of the highest priority.
In a generation that relies heavily on scroll and swipe, your eCommerce store must deliver not only fast but also smart results.
43% of Gen Z remember the last website they visited, but not their partner’s birthday.
So don’t give them a reason to skip your store.
Here are some ways to create a smooth shopping journey:
a. Use fewer plugins
Plugins are cross-functional so you don’t really need too many across your eCommerce store
Install plugins that are only verified on the eCommerce host site to avoid security threats. And uninstall plugins that are not in use to free up some storage.
b. Implement smart site searches
Base autocomplete search suggestions based on the customer’s past browsing behavior or purchase history. You can also customize the recommendations based on the specific category page the buyer is at.
c. Lazy load graphics and text
Lazy load your high-resolution images. Don’t lazy load images located above the header as they are critical assets.
2. Mobile first, yes. But also connected devices
While most millennials grew up watching MTV, Gen Z grew up on the internet.
95% of American teens ages 13-17 have a smartphone. They have access to technology from various sources to learn, communicate and build a community.
So, naturally, they also shop through mobile and connected devices.
A tendency to multi-task means Gen Z shoppers do their shopping when they take a break, are watching entertainment, or commuting (increasing as restrictions are lifting up).
a. Gestures and more
Gen Z customers are used to mobile gestures such as — tap, swipe, and click — when they land on your online store.
Don’t cover the whole page with pop-ups. Instead, offer a pop-up teaser that expands when clicked on.
b. Consider connected devices
No, I’m not just talking about persistent shopping carts.
Take this familiar scenario:
Customer: Hey Alexa, repeat my previous order from Target.
Alexa: Sure! Here’s your order summary.
(The checkout page pops up on the mobile screen.)
This way, Alexa Echo Dot, a connected device helped the customer through voice command.
Voice commerce or voice shopping is not new. But it is still going through its learning years.
Today, customers can automate and control their home appliances remotely. All they need is a mobile app that connects to their appliances. Even the fridge is smarter than ever.
Offering voice search options for product discovery on your eCommerce website/app is a great way to start connecting with customers and smoothing out the shopping journey so that it’s easier to shop on your store through connected devices such as Alexa, Google Home, and other apps/devices.
Optimize website copy with conversational, long-tail keywords as well as questions, so that buyers can easily use voice to convey their search queries using natural language that they normally use while speaking to someone.
3. Be the change
Brand neutrality on societal issues is no longer an option. Gen-Z expects brands it supports to take a stand on everything from the environment to mental health.
After widespread BLM protests, many brands did not just voice their support but also promoted products exclusively crafted by the BLM community. This appealed to Gen Z’s charitable side and also got them talking.
Here are some quick facts:
64% will pay more for environmentally-friendly products
73% of Gen Z only buy from brands they believe in
71% stay loyal to brands they trust, even if they make a mistake and then acknowledge it.
Gen Z is popularly known as the generation green, sustainability generation, and even welcome generation (for quickly adapting to changes instead of being lost in the after-effects of the pandemic).
Staying neutral out of a lack of vision or fear of offending some consumers is a failing strategy.
a. Don’t force it, though
If you are feeling lost, take a look at your products. Can you categorize them to suit a cause or a particular community?
Show shoppers visually by showing how to use a particular product, showing real people of all skin types in product images, and featuring influencers from different communities.
Take advantage of opportunities like celebrated days such as Pride month, Black History Month, and Sex Ed for all month.
You can create your own days as well. For example, curate products or campaigns that shoppers can use for their own self-care appreciation week.
b. Collaborate with the community
Next, you can start by collaborating with organizations and communities and add a donation option during checkout or pledge to support a cause by marking some percentage of your profits.
Choose from various organizations that lend help to people during emotional crises, opportunities for the transgender community, sexual harassment, and recycling fashion amongst others.
4. Later is better
While Gen Z are popular shoppers, their top concern is the ‘cost of living’.
As expected, the aftereffects of the pandemic will continue for some time as economies face global inflation in the coming years.
Most Gen Z consumers live from paycheck to paycheck and work multiple jobs or hustle different gigs to make a living.
Naturally, they hesitate before spending money in one go.
a. Offer later payments
eCommerce brands can alleviate these concerns by offering different payment options. Research shows that 55% of Gen Z will use a “buy now, pay later” option at least once per year.
They are more willing to consider paying in installments and be on a flexible payment plan than other shoppers.
b. Retain with rewards
If you think BNPL doesn’t suit your eCommerce business model, then look to offer multiple payment options with benefits such as wallet discounts, card payment discounts, loyalty program discounts, and subscription plan discounts. Just make sure you deliver on these benefits to keep customers coming back.
5. Skimmable vs detailed copy
92% of Gen Z multi-task while browsing the internet.
That’s why everyone will tell you to write skimmable content. But does it work?
Most eCommerce brands write content that is easy to read but leave out the necessary details. So skip the overly polished marketing messages and be real.
a. Don’t be boring
Talk about the product in detail but not in boring terms. Use adjectives and story-telling descriptions to build a better reading experience. You can relate to the Gen Z shoppers with pop culture references.
b. Change with product variant
While most online stores link the product variants on the same page through tappable elements, they don’t go any further in customizing the experience. Make sure to change the visuals and copy when a shopper clicks on a different color or type.
6. Produce real videos
The most human form of digital communication is video. It helps build a direct connection between you and the customer as well as trust in your brand and your products.
Did you know? 40% of Gen Z use TikTok for search instead of Google.
Videos have been shown to increase conversions on eCommerce websites.
Shoppers today watch videos on how to use products and video reviews before and after making a purchase.
a. The ‘shorts’ way
Given Gen Z’s appetite for short-form video content, marketers should consider incorporating visual platforms into their strategies and developing bite-sized content like Instagram Stories.
b. Avoid stock
Don’t just curate videos from stock websites. Instead, produce real and authentic videos. Use trending music and transitions to get customers’ attention. Additionally, remember that 61% of Gen Z consumers prefer short videos under 1 minute.
Research shows that 82% of Gen Z shoppers will buy from a brand after reading reviews from other customers on social media. Many eCommerce brands send products as gifts to micro-influencers to produce video reviews and then use those to promote products.
7. Influence through social
Social media is quick with trends and changes.
Moments are fleeting. Stories last for 24 hours. Memes last only for a few minutes.
Furthermore, social media is not just a tool for sales. Customers rather engage with brands with a sense of humor. They also look for customer service on social media. They rather tweet or comment under posts regarding order issues
a. Choose the right channel
When it comes to social media, 81% of Gen Z say Instagram and YouTube are their preferred social networks of choice. And when asked which networks Gen Z wants to see brands use more of, 56% said Instagram while 38% pointed to YouTube.
Entertainment IS news to at least half of Gen-Z consumers.
A report shows that half of the Gen Z adults (49%) get the vast majority of their news from social media (including YouTube and TikTok), compared to 17% of older adults.
Social media isn’t just an addition to their eCommerce habits, it’s their primary online shopping source. 97% say social media is their top method for researching shopping options and 83% of Gen Z shop on social media.
b. Use tools
A social listening tool can help brands more easily discover the trends that captivate Gen Z consumers, eliminating any guesswork and ensuring every post is bound to resonate.
With the data and insights gleaned from social, marketers are well positioned to create content that’s guaranteed to keep followers engaged and strengthen customer relationships.
8. Slide into…streams
Gen Z has popularized the age of streaming and binge-watching.
Livestream shopping or buying and selling products during a broadcast are fast becoming popular.
a. Know where your audience is
While this eCommerce strategy is fairly new to the U.S., brands with a presence on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, or TikTok may want to look into how they can leverage their live streams to support business goals.
b. Capitalize on holiday seasons
A popular example is Walmart which will celebrate the upcoming holiday season with 30+ shoppable live stream events, spanning eight social and media platforms including BuyWith, BuzzFeed, Facebook, IGN, TalkShopLive, Tasty, Twitter, and YouTube.
How to market products to Generation Z?
You can say that Gen Z is somewhat immune to the traditional advertising and marketing/ PR efforts since they come off as outdated and insincere.
So, how can you market to Gen Z without getting canceled?
a. Be bold
Let’s go back to how after widespread BLM protests in 2020, numerous brands came forward to announce company-wide changes. This included both internal and external efforts.
Internally, brands implemented policies and conversations to create better working conditions for POC employees. Externally, some brands revised product names to show solidarity.
Conveying a message that shows brands are listening to what matters might be a risk. However, if done right, it portrays your brand has a conscience and is not just here to sell endlessly.
b. Build a helpful community
Gen Z are social online.
They refer to community forums to get further information on brands and products. While Facebook groups are good, explore Discord, Reddit, and Twitter as alternative platforms to build communities.
c. Personalize with trust
While Gen Z loves a personalized shopping experience, only 39% of them trust brands to protect private data.
Emphasize cookies and privacy policies, and add credible trust badges and symbols on the checkout page to assure customers about safe transactions.
d. Offer interactive customer service
Giving Gen Z shoppers your undivided attention is now the same as boosting brand loyalty.
Multiple customer service options, timely responses and are cited as great indicators of a good brand. 85% prefer to chat or automated customer service interactions over phone calls.
Make your next move
eCommerce brands must rethink how they deliver value to the Gen Z consumer and personalize experiences.
Gen Z is a big and profitable market to tap into to engage, communicate and connect with customers.
Are you looking to optimize your eCommerce store for Gen Z? Get a free site audit from ConvertCart today.