Technology and Transparency Key to Targeting Gen Z Shoppers
Generation Z might seem like aliens to people from earlier epochs, but they’re the new shopping superpower, and businesses who want to stay on top will need to factor them into marketing plans.
Fortunately, it turns out they’re only human. At the 2018 Naturally Good Expo, youth marketing expert James Purcell, from Growth Tank Agency, shared his tips for understanding—and tapping into—the Gen Z market.
Who They Are
The first key of appealing to Gen Zers is getting to know them. According to McCrindle, they are the group born between 1995 and 2009.
While this may sound young, “they are the new consumer group for those brands and businesses that focus on young adults and want to be…driving early consumption and taking that through their entire life,” Purcell says.
The crucial thing to remember is that this group are digital natives who have never known life without devices and instant connectivity. “If you think about the impact of that on formative years—having everything at your fingertips—it changes your expectations of the world.”
Purcell adds that 50 percent of this group identify as multiracial; one in two will be degree-qualified, and they are estimated to have five careers across 17 different jobs.
They are Australia’s largest generation to date, making up 20 percent of the population.
What Gen Z Wants
For this large group of tech-savvy young people, social connection is a given. However, rather than being driven by FOMO like their Millennial forebearers, they are using social media so friends can stay in touch and still feel included.
Privacy is paramount, and they are likely to have several social accounts, some to share only with friends and family and others where they present a side more acceptable to potential employers.
Purcell says they are optimistic, believing people should ”do what they want to achieve their dreams.”
“It sounds a little bit fanciful, but remember, the top end of this generation are 23 or 24 and in a different life stage. They truly believe anything and everything is possible, and for many of them it is.”
Part of this includes their philosophy of working to live, rather than living to work. ”They’ve seen generations that go before them as an absolute slave to the man, and they don’t want to be subjected to that,” Purcell says.
Good physical and mental health is an important part of this philosophy. Purcell says Gen Zers think of their bodies as temples, with skin conditions, weight issues and colds being common concerns.
Added to the mix is pressure to succeed at school and university. “Stress is top of mind for these notoriously over-anxious and over-scheduled teens who are trying to fit everything into their day,” he says. “Almost half are treating or preventing anxiety or stress.”
And while they may not be in full-time employment, many of them have casual jobs and disposable income that they’re willing to spend on things that matter to them, like health.
How to Deliver to Gen Z
With wellbeing a high priority for Gen Z spending, the way businesses deliver products and services will help them stand out from the crowd. “Healthy, natural and better for you is non-negotiable,” Purcell says.
They are eco-conscious, and “believe in giving back and making the world a better place.” This means products that are sustainable or have an eco-benefit will be high on their radar. “They don’t buy the product, they buy the purpose of that product.”
And because they’ve been exposed to so much information all their lives, Gen Zers have a “high filter for bull***t,” Purcell says. “Transparency is really important in products and campaigns. Don’t try to pull the wool over people’s eyes, because you lose trust, and once you lose trust it’s very difficult to win that back.” He recommends being clear and concise with messages on packaging as well as in campaigns.
Their high reliance on technology means you’ll need to get across a digital strategy. You’re online presence should be “visually appealing and credible”. Make the most of technologies like those that can integrate your product or service into a digital grocery list.
And while an online presence is crucial, it “isn’t the be all and end all”. Offering real-life experiences can be a great way to grab their attention, which now has an average span of eight seconds, Purcell says.
You will also get their attention by engaging them in conversation and establishing a relationship. Being responsive, positive and offering great service is an ideal way to engage with Gen Z shoppers.
By standing for something that they believe in, you and your business will connect with this generation who are committed to creating a better world for themselves and those around them.