Of the many disruptions affecting the state of the retail industry today, the one you should be paying attention to most comes in human form. Winning brands are pragmatic in their approach to not only market to, but also become integrated with, Gen Z– the next generation that now succeeds Millennials. You might think this market segment of young teenagers may not be worthy of ad dollars spent on getting their attention, but think again. Gen Z are digital natives who have fostered a strong entrepreneurial spirit. Forward-thinking companies work with Gen Z in order to make business decisions, together. Here are three principles to note:
The Self-Starter Generation
According to a study conducted by Northeastern University, Gen Z is the “self-starter generation”. Career-focused ideologies make up 42% of individuals who someday expect to work for themselves. In light of that, Gen Zers do much of their own research before buying a product and rely on online resources such as review pages, unboxing videos, and discussion forums before making a final decision.
Retail companies that dedicate more time into measuring and understanding consumer behavior see exponential benefits in the long run. This tactic is being applied to the design and management of brick and mortar stores. While Gen Z grew up with technology, 53% still prefer in-person communication. Window displays, aisle structures, and strategic product placements all amount to a richer experience meant to captivate shoppers deeper and for longer periods of time. Knowing where shoppers move and how long they dwell is key for improving sales conversion.
Successful retail brands, such as Unilever, understand that besides a great product, there needs to be a great purpose as well. The company has aligned its values with what Gen Z seeks out most–transparency. Retailing starts with communication. The more informed your buyers are, the more likely they are to remain loyal and become brand evangelists.
Gen Z represents a buying power of $44 billion, and influence an extra $600 billion in household spending. That’s why it’s important to help your buyers see themselves in your brand. You can do so by using unique models, depicting unconventional situations, and by using non-traditional forms of advertising. Have you looked through any of your customers’ social pages? Check out their Instagram or Facebook and you’ll be sure to see at least a handful of selfies. Unedited images outside the airbrush of magazine and billboard ads have a greater impact on a buyer’s decision making.
Brand engagement is a powerful medium that helps bridge the gap between product advertising and product experience. YouTube channels and SnapChat stories have created a new kind of celebrity that most Gen Zers listen to, and whose endorsements help assure buying decisions.
“Brands that seek out and build relationships with Key Opinion Leaders (KOL’s) see higher ROI from dollars spent on influencer marketing over traditional product advertising” — Michelle Conroy
Michelle Conroy, a social media strategist based in Los Angeles, says the reason for this lies in testimonial advertising. Video placements in the social media stratosphere showcase how products are used, and oftentimes have a direct impact in the way buyers relate to a brand or believe in the quality of its products.
To find out how social media strategies can benefit you, start here to build your influencer marketing campaign. Want to know more applications specific to your business, reach out to us and schedule a live demo.