The Retail Hive: Digital Café, 15th February
For the latest instalment in our Café series, we sat down with a group of senior retailers to discuss a topic on everyone’s mind at the moment: Gen Z.
The next generation of shoppers are clear about their wants and needs, yet there are still lots of questions surrounding how retailers can successfully tap into this market. Today, millennials and Gen X make up a considerable amount of discretionary spend, but it won’t be long before Gen Z overtake these two cohorts in their spending habits. Effectively targeting Gen Z now is essential for retailers to stay ahead of the curve.
Specifically, retailers should take the time to fully consider: the expectations, core values and shopping mentality of Gen Z; moving away from traditional media; influencers and brand collaborations; and finally, subscriptions, payments and pester power.
Inside the Mind of Gen Z
The majority of Gen Z shoppers have grown up with Amazon’s delivery model, relying on this eCommerce company for seasonal gifts and everything in between. As a result, Gen Z consumers often expect efficient and varied fulfilment options at the checkout, and are quick to turn their back on services that fail to meet this standard. Perhaps the answer to this is retailers trying and testing multiple delivery styles, helping them to nail the right one for this particular demographic. Whilst this might come at a cost in the short term, this may help retailers to attract and retain a brand new customer base in the long term.
According to our members, the home is the new changing room for Gen Z, with many shoppers favouring buying products online to purchasing and trying these on in store. This has led to a spike in Gen Z consumers ordering items online and swiftly returning any unfavourable ones. Therefore, when forecasting, retailers must make sure this impact is taken into account.
With regard to Gen Z values, our members agreed that inclusivity, health and wellbeing, gender fluidity, and sustainability are a big focus for Gen Z right now, and have the power to draw in this target group—however, authenticity is key as Gen Z will see through disingenuous campaigns, such as greenwashing.
I’ve Got a Text!
When tapping into the Gen Z market, moving away from traditional media is also seen as important by our members. Now more than ever, retailers are choosing to partner with popular TV programmes—namely hit shows like Love Island—to really get their brand name and products out there, piquing Gen Z’s interest. This doesn’t simply involve advertising products during prime-time slots on TV; as our members explained, other channels should be used in conjunction with live TV shows and adverts, such as on-demand streaming services and apps—with Love Island ticking all the boxes here.
Additionally, Love Island is home to many powerful influencers, with viewers becoming heavily invested in the islanders over the course of two months, turning to TikTok and Instagram to keep tabs on them all once the show ends. Strategic partnerships with individuals or other brands—who already have a strong Gen Z following—will guarantee success for retailers when acquiring new consumers.
Outside-the-box collaborations are another great way to target this demographic. We’ve all heard the news about the recent Tiffany & Co. x Nike collaboration—celebrating 40 years of the Air Force 1 sneaker. What’s so interesting about this partnership is you wouldn’t naturally put these two brands together; Tiffany & Co. are renowned for their very elegant, opulent items—often showered in diamonds—whereas Nike are pioneers in streetwear fashion. Tiffany & Co. have opened the door to a new wave of consumers, who are interested in casual clothing and accessories with a luxury twist.
Subscriptions, Payments and Pester Power
Our members touched on the price point for luxury brands, agreeing that this can sometimes be out of reach for Gen Z consumers. In attempt to solve this issue, retailers should experiment with lower price ranges, roll out subscription packages, or offer a buy now, pay later service to their customers—with the latter being especially helpful and appealing to Gen Z during the current cost of living crisis.
That being said, retailers shouldn’t underestimate pester power when it comes to Gen Z. After all, children are known to be persuasive with the latest products and trends, and by parents often having the funds to buy high-end products, they can be left to foot the bill.
Join Our Next Café
The Hive Cafés provide our members with the perfect opportunity to bring their stories, roadblockers, and individual expertise to the table—in a group of trusted retail peers. As always with our Hive Cafés, we urge all of our members to come armed with their favourite hot drink, stories and insights!
Browse our full schedule of one-hour, drop-in Cafés on our Meetings page, and simply fill in the contact form to book your place.
Chatham House Rule applies.