If you think you’ve begun to understand Millennials, then good news — there’s another generation of shoppers to get your head around. Generation Z (those who are born after 1995) are digital natives with their own preferences, own habits, and increasing spending power.
Suit their needs
As we all know, customer behaviors are changing. It’s a mobile-first world and that means that customers are way more connected than ever, but also more demanding. Especially the behaviors of Generation Z are drastically changing the retail industry. As a retailer, you shouldn’t underestimate the spending power of Generation Z. Fashion retailers that focus on shoppers under 20 years old have delivered impressive growth in recent years. The spending power of Gen Z is $143 billion and will account for about 40% of global consumer spending, according to McKinsey. This makes it very clear that retailers and brands need to invest in researching how this new generation shops, even if it means disrupting the traditional blueprints.
The rise of Generation Z marks a decisive shift in customer priorities. While the quality of products still matters a great deal, today’s young customers are driven at least as much by their experience with the retailer. However, increasingly Generation Z is seeking an added social aspect to their engagement – which is why Live Commerce suits their needs perfectly.
There’s a shift happening from omnichannel to the concept of being omnipresent. Brands are trying to keep their identity true and authentic. As a retailer, you can’t talk about sustainability if you’re not doing sustainable practices. Everything is fair game in today’s retail industry. There is an authentic spirit to Gen Z individuals, they really want to know and understand where and from who they’re buying from. Compared to Millennials, Gen Z shoppers have a different perspective. But Millennials changed over time – a large majority of their attitudes switched from 2016 till today, as they get older and care more about the environment.
When you look at Gen Z, they care very much about sustainability – even more than Millennials. It’s interesting to note that Millennials care so much more than they did back in 2016, so we can assume this trend will continue to grow in importance.
The need for speed
It may be tempting to adopt the same approach for Millennials as for Gen Z customers. However, Gen Z behavior is substantially different from Millennials. Their relationship with retailers has moved online and is mostly generated through mobile. Channels must be fully optimized and the mobile shopping experience is of increasing importance. But also, retailers can’t afford to stop improving their site performance. Your website might contain super relevant and engaging content, but 60% will refuse to use it if it’s slow to load. Speed is of primary essence to Gen Z – almost 60% say they make purchases ‘in the moment’. In the age of fast fashion, they want the latest styles to be accessible immediately and they will choose the brand that can provide those the fastest. To keep up as a retailer, content has to move fast, and reactive content strategies work best.
‘Dark’ stores aka virtual stores
To minimize the gap between the in-store experience and online shopping – ‘dark’ stores have become a common ground. These stores are giving retailers an extra use case for their physical locations. Stores have been transformed into warehouse-like spaces where online orders can be packed for pickup or delivery (click-and-collect). Some retailers chose to convert their physical stores to ‘dark’ stores permanently, while others found creative ways to transform their stores for the time being or past operating hours. But why are these stores becoming so popular? Because virtual stores are the future of retail!
Here’s an example one of our clients used: one of the biggest retailers in Spain increased their conversion rate by 50% – they had to close their stores and turned one of them into a virtual store. In order to adapt to the new circumstances, they changed their business model. For this, the following decisions were made:
- Change the communication strategy to expand the target market;
- Decoupling financing from communication, repositioning its price catalog through promotions;
- Direct sales conversion through the online channel, and through the Contact Center.
In order to make this change, the brand relied on Whisbi having the aim of reinventing itself and adapting to the digital changes that this health crisis has brought upon us.
They included our widget in all the pages of their website, even in the shopping cart, in order to sell products online through agents who work from home. We worked on a CRM integration so that they could see the leads in their own systems, in order to be able to analyze the type of clients they were attracting on the website.
Another example is from A1 Group: they implemented virtual stores in every single European market! A1 rolled out a company-wide live engagement strategy with Whisbi. They quoted:
“We digitize Austria – that’s our aim and that’s why we wanted to create a new and innovative channel to support our customers while shopping online with competent personal sales consulting nearly anytime or anywhere.” Timo Zöller, Head of Customer Interaction A1 Austria
Hybrid is hot
As we mentioned in the introduction of this trend report, hybrid retail is hot. Hybrid retail is a new term that has been created in recent years to describe the collaboration of both e-Commerce and brick-and-mortar stores. It provides the most important thing: connecting customers with what they want. And for the record, the customers are the ones in control nowadays. The digital shopping era has spoiled us all and made it extremely convenient for customers to just stay at home instead of going to a physical store. Retailers must blend their in-store, online, and on-the-go environments in unexpected ways. When you take a hybrid cloud approach that merges modern systems and solutions to meet customers at all times, anything is possible. The world is ready for hybrid shopping.