How Retailers Can Reach Generation Z

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Posted by Craig Maloney | October 10, 2017 | Filed under: CMO Articles

How Retailers Can Reach Generation Z

When we talk about Generation Z, we’re talking about the whippersnappers who came along after millennials—roughly speaking, those born after 1997. Believe it or not, this demographic is coming of age, and turning into an important consumer block. Retailers can’t afford to ignore the purchasing power of Generation Z, but to make inroads with these young consumers, it will require marketing savvy.

Indeed, the CMO has to recognize the unique challenges and opportunities that Generation Z presents. These are the consumers who truly grew up surrounded by digital media. What this means is that they are responsive to mobile and Web-based interactions, but also hip to all the tried-and-true digital marketing ploys. To reach them, the CMO will need to incorporate some fresh perspectives.

Here’s a brief roadmap for you—some general guidelines and principles marketing executives can use to reach this vital group of buyers.

It All Starts with Social

No previous generation has been as comfortable with social media as Gen Z; indeed, social is even more important to them than it was to the millennials. Roughly seven out of 10 Gen Z shoppers say their preference would be to buy a product outright from social media sites, which has a pretty clear implication for retail marketing: a real investment in Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, and YouTube can pay huge dividends.

A related implication: Visual content should dominate. The social habits of younger consumers hinge on video and images, not on text. Again, think Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Think in terms of an immersive experience and memorable images.

There’s More Than One Way to Shop

Something else to consider: Many retailers have found success by offering unique shopping models for their Gen Z consumers.

That’s because the members of Gen Z are very receptive to alternate ways to get consumer products—including subscription services, automatic replenishment, and the like. Anything that allows you to depart from the traditional one-and-done transaction model is worth considering.

Social Proof is Critical

Social Proof is Critical
Something else that distinguishes the younger generation is a reliance on the opinions of others. Before buying a product, members of Gen Z want to hear from their friends, from fellow consumers, or even from celebrities that the product in question is worthwhile.

There is much that CMOs can do with this information. Testimonial videos can make great YouTube fodder. Social listening can provide insights into what people are saying about a product, and potentially offer some marketing ideas. And recruiting influencers to talk up a product really can be a meaningful investment.

Don’t Forget Brick and Mortar Stores

Given everything we’ve said about the comfort and ease that Gen Z brings to social media and the digital ecosystem, it may surprise you to learn that these same people also really like brick and mortar stores. They are always keen to make purchases from a physical location, just so long as the experience there is a positive one.

Thus, rethinking the brick and mortar store, with an emphasis on experience, is vital. Make sure the place has a good vibe, that the service is friendly, and that customers feel valued when they’re there—not least the younger ones! Obviously not every company has a brick and mortar presence, but for those that do, don’t put all your eggs into the digital basket.

Don’t Assume That All Gen Z Shoppers are Created Equal

An important final note: We’ve been speaking in generalizations about Gen Z, but it’s smart for the CMO to remember that different markets are always going to have different characteristics—and that young shoppers in California aren’t always like-minded with those in, say, Mexico, China, or Great Britain.

For the CMO, it is vital to adapt to different markets, and to be open to the possibility that what works in one place may not work elsewhere. Try different things, track results, and use data to inform your marketing evolutions and adaptations.

Make Inroads with Gen Z

Reaching the youngest demographic of consumers will require some changes in the way marketers think—and the marketers who succeed will be the ones who are bold, creative, and adaptable.

Of course, data and strategy still matter, too—and our OC Search Marketing company can provide all that and more. EverythingOnline specializes in helping retailers reach new audiences, and that includes young audiences. Start making inroads with Gen Z today. Reach out to the marketing professionals at EverythingOnline


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