How Retailers Can Engage Generation Z Shoppers

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How Retailers Can Engage Generation Z Shoppers

By Patrick Giusti - 12/30/2016
You’ve seen them wandering around shopping malls or up and down department store aisles: Teenagers typing furiously on their smartphones or holding them aloft as they take selfies, immersed in their own digital worlds. Unlike their parents, these young shoppers grew up in the digital era, and they rely heavily on technology to help them communicate, navigate and make purchasing decisions.
 
As a result, hyper-connectivity and having immediate access to a wealth of information is standard for Generation Z consumers, the demographic cohort born in 1995 and onward. They utilize smartphone apps to navigate many day-to-day interactions with the world, shopping included. For example, 75 percent of Gen Z-ers would rather shop at a retailer that accepts mobile payments over one that doesn’t, and another 75 percent check a store’s app for special offers while they’re in the process of shopping.
 
Considering that they already make up 25 percent of the total U.S. population with $44 billion in buying power, Generation Z’s shopping habits will soon become the norm for people of all ages. What, then, do retailers need to do to ensure they are reaching the connected consumer?
 
In a nutshell, retailers must create a physical shopping experience that is digitally connected, interactive and personalized. Generation Z shoppers are using their smartphones at every point along the path to purchase – from building a shopping list, to finding a nearby store, to locating items in-store, to paying for their items – and they expect retailers to provide a seamlessly connected shopping experience that gives them the information they need at their fingertips.
 
To achieve this, retailers must start by digitally indexing their stores. “Digital indexing” refers to the process of creating a cloud-based digital map of the physical store that shows current inventory and connects to enterprise sales data and shopping behavior.
 
Through the foundation of digital indexing, other in-store technologies such as beacons and fulfillment programs can function in a way that truly adds value to the customer. Further, this software creates new opportunities for retailers to better target consumers and turn leads into sales. For instance, 57 percent of shoppers are more likely to frequent places that have in-store push notifications about deals and offers. With digital indexing, retailers can follow the shopper’s journey from start to finish and offer hyper-targeted, location-based deals along the way.

The store app can take it a step further and gamify the shopping trip, leading customers to store locations they may not have planned to visit and rewarding them with app-exclusive promotions when they arrive at those areas. On the back end, retailers can analyze the data and adapt according to what works and what doesn’t.
 
Even as we’re experiencing a digital revolution, customers still prefer the in-store experience. Of Gen Z consumers, 64 percent would rather shop in-store than online. The connected consumer of today expects a comprehensive, omnichannel retail experience that balances the physical and digital. Retailers must adapt to fulfill this expectation or risk being left behind. 

Patrick Giusti, Chief Revenue Officer of Point Inside