Across all age groups, people have embraced the omnichannel retail shopping experience. Whether they’re just out of high school or deep into retirement, consumers of all ages go both online and into the store to buy their favorite products and services.
Still, many from older generations assumed that the youngest generation of consumers, those known as Generation Z who were born between the late 1990s to late 2010s, would largely abandon the in-store experience in favor of a fully digital one. This made retail brands scramble to figure out if their brick-and-mortar stores would continue to be worth the investment. Or, should they begin to let go of their storefronts and dive headfirst into the online shopping world?
Surprisingly, Gen Z appears to love the in-store retail experience even more than older shoppers! Sure. As the first generation to only remember life with the internet at their fingertips, they’re incredibly connected to their devices, and their shopping trends prove it. However, while they may choose brands thanks to TikTok influencers or scour online review sites before making a shopping purchase decision, Gen Z still wants to get out of the house and spend their money out in the “real world.”
Gen Z Still Loves Brick-and-Mortar Retail Shopping
How much more does Gen Z enjoy shopping in-store? According to a study from Vogue Business, when it comes to clothing, Gen Z is 56% more likely to have shopped at a brick-and-mortar store than other generations. In contrast, they’re 36% more likely to shop online than older shoppers.
With Gen Z’s buying power quickly growing, currently at $360 billion, brick-and-mortar stores won’t be going anywhere.
Despite living their entire lives connected to the web, Gen Z shoppers still want to try, touch, and experience a product in person before making the final decision to make a purchase. They also value human interactions with store associates. In essence, Gen Z shoppers see the internet, social media, and mobile devices as a tool to enhance their in-store shopping experience, not one to fully replace it.
As their buying trends and habits become more ingrained, retail brands need to shift their strategies to accommodate them. After all, Gen Z now accounts for about 25% of the world’s entire population or about 2 billion people! And now that they’re joining the job market, they’ll soon make up a massive portion of the consumer population.
Here are a few trends and statistics that brands need to know about Gen Z shoppers:
- 98% own a smartphone and/or other mobile devices
- 33% plan on using “buy now pay later,” or BNPL shopping models
- 70% use mobile savings apps when shopping
- 79% love shopper loyalty programs. 60% expect them.
- 72% prefer buying from brands they follow on social media
- 77% read several online reviews before making a purchasing decision
Although Gen Z will happily visit an actual store, digital and online platforms play a huge role in deciding where to go. When you design a collaborative in-store and online shopping experience, Gen Z is more willing to make the physical journey to shop in your store and spend more money once there.
Drive Gen Z With Local SEO & Reputation Management
Clearly, Generation Z loves the in-store experience. But how brands convince them to make a purchase at your actual location has changed considerably. As you’ve likely guessed, it’s all about attracting them online.
There are countless avenues for your brand to explore, from influencer marketing to loyalty programs. However, implementing a strong local SEO and reputation management strategy offers a high ROI, and your team can start making a real impact today. All it takes is a few clicks on Google Business Profile and Yelp.
About 90% of people in Gen Z say they’ve used online search in the past month. As barely anyone of any age goes past Google’s page one, without an optimized online presence, you’re as good as invisible. They’ll never even see what great reviews, special offers, or fantastic loyalty programs you have in the first place.
That’s where a fully optimized local SEO and listings strategy for online visibility comes in. These days, you need complete, accurate, and enticing online listings to attract buyers of all ages, but especially those in Gen Z. Read our blog, 6 Essential Steps for Increasing Foot Traffic to Your Retail Store With Local Listings, and learn to create listings that will attract loyal Gen Z buyers.
Integrity, quality, and amazing customer service matter more to Gen Z than any current group of consumers. It’s even more important than the price or brand itself. That’s why your business needs to show off as many great online reviews as possible across platforms like Yelp, Google Maps, Facebook, and more.
Reviews are an expected part of the modern shopping experience. In fact, about 95% of Gen Z will search online and read reviews to research products, understand the in-store customer experience, and validate their decisions before making the trek to buy. Read more about launching a great review and reputation management program in our blog, Improve Customer Trust and Maximize Retention With Reputation Management.
Generation Z has grown up in a constantly connected world, never knowing a life without smartphones and mobile devices. Rather than using their technological know-how to go remote and completely bypass physical stores, they are using smart devices and technology as a tool for finding new stores and enhancing their in-store experience.
Your retail brand can also use innovate tools designed to attract and retain your perfect customer at any age. Chatmeter’s all-in-one local SEO and Reputation Management solutions will enhance your online presence, boost your reputation, and create incredible experiences at every point of the customer journey. Schedule a demo today to see the software in action.