With the UK’s 12.5 million Generation Z population now becoming consumers and earners, they are an increasingly important market for business. And as a tech-native cohort, online businesses should be doing everything they can to attract them. Here, we look at what companies can do to make themselves more appealing to people born between 1997 and 2010.
Reviews are key
Gen-Z are avid consumers of online reviews, with more than 95% of them using them as part of the purchasing journey. Online brands not only need to make it easy to find and access reviews; they also need to make them more multi-media. Technologically astute Gen-Z often want more information and social proof than what is merely written and like it when textual comments are backed up by customer-generated images and even videos.
Greta Thunberg perhaps epitomises the Gen-Z attitude towards the environment. Theirs is the generation that, if change doesn’t happen, will bear the brunt of climate change. As a result, they hold deeply held beliefs in the need to live more sustainable lifestyles and this has a direct impact on their shopping habits.
Online stores wanting to attract Gen-Z (and the many other people who are also becoming eco-friendly consumers) need to prove they have sound green credentials. This means implementing sustainability across their business and their supply chains.
Green consumers want to spend their money with net-zero businesses that have minimal use of plastics, whose operations have no negative impact on the environment and which go out of their way to reduce waste. With carbon footprint tracking apps, like CoGo, now able to provide consumers with detailed information about the environmental impact of their spending, the tech-loving Gen-Z are increasingly empowered to make sustainable spending decisions.
With price a determining factor in the purchasing process, powerful businesses have often got away with paying very little to suppliers in order to sell products more cheaply. Big companies end up making mammoth profits while those who work in the supply chain, often from poor countries, live in poverty.
While fair trade is nothing new, it is an issue that Gen-Z are particularly concerned about. Many would rather pay more for products where suppliers are treated fairly than save money. Where fair trade takes place, employees are better paid, local economies grow, societies have money to invest in improvements, and issues, such as poverty-stricken farmers producing cocaine instead of coffee, are eradicated.
Online brands wishing to attract Gen-Z should look at ways to implement fair trade policies and ensure these are publicised on social media and other channels used by this cohort.
Attitudes to gender identity and gender equality have changed dramatically over the last decade, with society as a whole being more accepting of different gender identities and less tolerant of gender inequality. While many older people will have seen society’s attitudes and values around gender change, Gen-Z has grown up in this new environment.
Online businesses wanting to establish relationships with Gen-Z need to show that they hold these same values. It is something that has to go much further than tokenism, too. They will want to align with brands that can prove there is no gender pay or opportunity inequality and which embrace all gender identities.
Dining with a difference
Brands that make and sell food, whether in restaurants or stores, need to be aware of the different approaches Gen-Z have to eating. For a start, they are less inclined to accept unhealthy, processed foods, even when ordering a takeaway, preferring instead fresh, organic ingredients. They love to cook, too, and will often do so following YouTube chefs on their iPads.
Key considerations in their food buying will include sustainability (locally produced), fair trade and convenience (local again), particularly with them preferring to eat when they are hungry rather than at set meal times – something partially the result of changes in traditional working patterns.
When it comes to specific dietary lifestyles, it is worth noting that Gen-Z has proportionally more vegetarians (11%) and vegans (3%) than any other generation.
Diversity and equality
Growing up as part of a multiracial society means Gen Z sees diversity and racial equality as essential attributes of any brand they choose to shop with. They seek brands that actively employ people from different ethnic backgrounds at all levels within the organisation and where everyone has equal opportunities. They also want to see different races positively represented in advertising and catered for in product offerings, such as beauty companies selling make-up ranges for all skin colours.
Beyond race, Gen-Z has similar values when it comes to other areas of equality, such as LGTBQ, disability, body shape, social background and age.
Secure, reliable websites
As tech-native consumers, Generation Z expects the websites they visit to be secure, fast loading, mobile-friendly and always available. In addition, they want all the online shopping conveniences that modern technology provides, for example, personalisation, omnichannel shopping, click and collect and instant communication via chatbots.
Businesses will need to develop their websites to keep pace with advancements in technology and ensure they have the hosting capacity to guarantee their sites always perform optimally, regardless of how many users they have.
With 12.5 million people, Generation Z is a significant segment of the UK market and one that has a natural leaning towards online shopping experiences. While this is positive news for online businesses, brands that want to attract and develop long-term relationships with them need to have a thorough understanding of how their behaviours and values differ from other generations. Hopefully, the information provided here has offered you some useful insights.
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