Gen Z’s Approach to Shopping and Retail
At one time, retailers could build a dedicated following simply by offering lower prices than the competition. All that has changed with the rise of Gen Z—they prioritize convenience, social proof, and authenticity. That’s not to say that this generation will overlook a good deal. These shoppers simply factor more than price alone into their purchasing decisions.
Gen Z’s expectations may be lofty, but for retailers that manage to capture their attention, the rewards are well worth the effort. The following trends are especially worth examining, as they promise to upend many aspects of the retail industry we’d previously taken for granted.
Research First, Buy Later
Impulse shopping is on its way out. With Gen Z, the process of buying even seemingly minor products is not nearly as simple as it might seem to the average Baby Boomer, Gen X, or even Millennial customer. In the eyes of young shoppers, each purchase warrants thorough research.
While young consumers take the recommendations of their favorite influencers to heart, they also seek insight in the form of customer ratings. Data from PowerReviews reveals that over 95 percent of Gen Z consumers validate their decisions with help from online reviews. Many will scour dozens of entries on rating sites prior to deciding which products to buy or which services to invest in.
Despite their willingness to spend hours researching products, Gen Z also wants the shopping process to be as streamlined and convenient as possible. With research suggesting a brief attention span of just 8 seconds, it’s more important than ever that retailers provide exactly what young shoppers want, when they want it.
This can take many forms, including several highlighted in the IBM report What Do Gen Z Shoppers Really Want? Store proximity, product availability, and pickup or delivery options were chief areas of concern in this study. Nearly half of the respondents claimed that, when shopping, they viewed the ability to quickly find the products they need as more important than anything else.
Social Media Shopping
With Gen Z, convenience and social proof are essential. When these qualities join forces, young consumers won’t be far behind. Hence, the popularity of social media solutions such as Instagram Shopping, which delivers a seamless experience by allowing users to shop items directly from photos and videos. Likewise, TikTok is experimenting with shopping features that could grant the platform a future as a social commerce powerhouse.
No explanation of Gen Z’s blend of social media shopping would be complete without referencing the strength of influencers—these powerful accounts captivate the attention of young social media users. Their branded campaigns are useful not only for building awareness and goodwill, but also for inspiring users to purchase specific products featured in branded posts.
To read more about Gen Z, get the eBook “Gen Z and the Future of Retail.”