How Gen Z Is Shaping the Future of Retail

gen z in retail

Newsflash— Gen Z’s new standards for the consumer experience are about to shake up the world of retail as we know it. While the Millennials occupying today’s workforce have dictated many market trends to date, this new group of young adult and teen consumers has already made its mark: Gen Z will account for one-third of the U.S. population and 40% of consumer spending this year, which far surpasses the influence of its predecessors. 

As stores prepare to reopen their doors to the public, it’s imperative that retailers adapt to the newly emerging shopping habits of their consumers in order to remain relevant and, more importantly, to survive in the post-COVID economy. 

So, how exactly should retailers expect to adapt? Here are a couple of key trends that market research has uncovered about Gen Z consumers, and how they’re pushing the boundaries of the in-store experience.   

High Expectations, With An Impact to Match

Having grown into a tech-fueled era of instant gratification and boundless choices, Gen Z consumers have no reason to tolerate retail experiences that are any less than exceptional. A 2019 survey from A.T. Kearney revealed that 32% of Gen Z shoppers have let a poor in-store experience prevent them from making a purchase at least three times in the past year. 31% have said the same for a poor online experience, compared to just 21% of Millennials. With this many consumers second-guessing their purchases, retailers risk losing billions of dollars in revenue every year. 

These critical shoppers aren’t afraid to make their opinions count, as well. 74% of Gen Z consumers are willing to share their customer service experiences on social media, and 70% of parents admit that their Gen Z children influence household buying decisions, according to research done by Interactions

We know that waiting times can make or break a retail experience, so why not replace long lines with a streamlined queuing system? RSVD empowers retailers to distribute demand throughout the day, so that they can manage capacity for smoother and safer operations. It’s with this technical edge that retailers can easily deliver the fast, seamless transactions that Gen Z expects from a positive consumer experience. 

Demands for Modernized Brick-and-Mortar Retail

gen z in line

While Gen Z consumers are commonly referred to as “online natives,” they prefer to shop in-store. An IBM-sponsored study by the National Retail Federation found that 67% of Gen Z shop in brick-and-mortar stores most of the time, while only 2% steer clear of them altogether. Whether it be to disconnect from social media or to interact with products before purchasing them, most Gen Z consumers value the retail experience more than the material goods themselves. 

A preference for brick-and-mortar may remain intact, but more and more Gen Z consumers want to see technology fuel the shopping experience. For instance, consider the promotional sphere: 86% of Gen Z anticipate exclusive offers and coupons while shopping in-store, and 67% will look for them on their phones. To maximize customer satisfaction and boost revenue, retailers need to give customers the ability to access coupons and incentives proactively. 

Enter RSVD. Our real-time marketing tools provide retailers with a platform to grant exclusive offers to customers who’ve checked-in and entered the storefront. Such a valuable, location-based feature is bound to enhance upcoming purchases and shape the customer experience in unprecedented ways. 

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