Retailers looking to capture the wallets and hearts of the next generation of consumers – Gen Z – will need to step up new ways of engagement, according to a recent report from Accenture.
Gen Z, those consumers born between 1996 and 2010, are looking for enhanced digital tools such as the ability to purchase directly via visual social platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.
This means retailers must further rethink and redesign their digital shopping capabilities and methods, said report authors, after surveying nearly 10,000 consumers across 13 countries including China, Australia and the U.S.
Social media is set to become a major direct shopping channel for Gen Z with 69% of Gen Z interested in purchasing via social media directly.
In addition, some 44% said social media is a main source for product inspiration, and 37% have increased their use of social media for purchase decision-making in the last year. Jill Standish, senior managing director of Accenture’s Retail industry practice believes social media is the real disruptor in targeting these “true digital natives.”
“To succeed in this increasingly digital world, retailers must understand Gen Z’s’ expectations, influencer circles and behaviours – especially their social-media habits and how they differ from those of millennials,” said Standish.
“If they are spending their time on social platforms, this is where they want to be buying their products.”
That’s not to say physical stores are pointless. Some 60% of Gen Z shoppers still prefer to purchase in-store, and 46% will still check in store to get more information before making an online purchase, said the report.
Meanwhile, Gen Z shoppers are interested in new shopping methods, which are more automated for added convenience. Some 73% are interested in curated subscription-type services for fashion, while 71% see value in automatic-replenishment programs – adding more than half would change to a competitor if they offered the automated service.
Voice-activated ordering is a positive concept with 38% of respondents, but only 10% are currently using it.
“The ability to provide reliable and accurate product delivery and a great consumer experience requires retailers to enhance their capabilities in digitization, innovation and harnessing consumer data. Gleaning insights successfully can increase the lifetime value of each customer,” added Standish.
“The fact that Gen Z shoppers are open to new shopping methods is a real opportunity for retailers to secure new consumer data and get closer to this generation.”