How to Make your Brand Appeal to Gen ZJanuary 26, 2020 - 12 minutes read
Marketing your business mission to the new generation.
There’s no denying it: we are living in an age that is increasingly digital. With the passing of every year and the dawn of each new generation, we’re migrating towards an existence that is becoming virtual, cloud-based, and tech-driven.
The millennial cohort came along and changed the face of eCommerce with its digitally native ways and online shopping behaviors. Now, there’s a new wave of tech-hungry consumers in town.
Generation Z—or Gen Z for short—are the newest kids on the block, and they’re willing to spend online. A recent study suggests that members of Generation Z hold $44 billion of buying power in the US alone.
If you can reach out and connect with these young, tech-savvy upstarts on a personal level, you have a lot to gain.
Here, we’re going to consider who Gen Zers are and how you can make your eCommerce brand appeal to them.
Who is Generation Z, and what do they stand for?
Also known as iGen or Centennials, Generation Z is the collective term for those born between 1997 and 2010. Akin to the majority of the Millennial generation, Gen Z has been raised in a digital world. Mobile technology and social media are the norm for this influential and ethnically-diverse group of digital natives.
The oldest members of the Gen Z cohort are likely to enter the workforce this year en masse. With a steady income and the freedom that digital technology affords, if you can connect with these Gen Zers and their slightly younger counterparts, you can expand your brand while scaling your business exponentially.
However, regardless of your promotional efforts and tactics, if you really want to get under the skin of Generation Z, you have to ensure you get your messaging just right. That means understanding their fundamental preferences or values.
To help guide your efforts, here are some interesting insights into the Generation Z population:
- While Millennials generally value experiences over material items, with Gen Z, there is a slight lean in the opposite direction. While Gen Z values brand experiences, the vast majority of these digital natives are on the lookout for cool products and innovations.
- Sixty-six percent of the Gen Z population frequently uses more than one device at any one time. These multi-screeners spend the majority of their lives online, across multiple touchpoints. Create a seamless brand experience across the board, and you’re likely to attract Gen Z to your eCommerce brand.
- An extension of the Millennial mindset, most Gen Zers are eco-conscious, ethical in their shopping habits, and willing to take action against climate change. By demonstrating your ethical side and going greener, you’re likely to gain the attention of this increasingly socially aware, tech-hungry cohort.
The new age of eCommerce: Appealing to Generation Z
Now that we’ve explored the core values and behaviors of the “technology-endowed online shopper,” we’re going to explore a mix of actionable ways you can make your brand appeal to Generation Z.
Focus on brand values
Even more so than Millennials, Gen Z craves transparency from today’s businesses and brands. Yours is no exception.
The foundations of all of your Generation Z marketing efforts—your brand content and messaging—are the very elements that will inspire and engage this growing new audience. When you’re creating content for your blog, social media, website landing page, product pages, or any other touchpoint, you should make sure you’re 100% transparent while clearly communicating your brand values. Doing so will attract members of the Generation Z crowd to your brand.
Tip: Born into a largely virtual world, Generation Z value their digital privacy above all else. By shouting about your dedication to consumer security and privacy, you will increase trust and earn priceless Gen Z consumer kudos.
For help with your brand messaging activities, explore our guide to the evolution of the eCommerce customer for inspiration.
Sell a brand experience
While Generation Z favors innovative products more than Millennials, as fully-fledged digital natives, this breed of online shoppers demands a superior brand experience.
Whether you’re a solely digital eCommerce brand or own a physical store, you must create a flawless and seamless experience across every single medium and touchpoint. Elements of the buyer journey must be cohesive, working together to guide the curious Gen Zer on their path to shopping enlightenment. One snag or hint of friction, and it’s likely that your Gen Z prospect will quickly go elsewhere.
With this in mind, when you’re mapping out your customer journey, you should ensure that you adopt an omnichannel mindset. These four inspiring omnichannel marketing examples will help you do just that.
Here are a few other practical guides that will help guide you to brand experience success:
Don’t forget video
Commonly coined “Millennials on steroids,” Generation Z has adopted many Generation Y traits and taken them a step further. Video consumption is one of them.
When it comes to video, most members of the Generation Z cohort are like Pac Man, dining on visual content wherever possible. It seems that despite an emerging number of visual platforms, YouTube is still popular among Generation Z.
In video creation, the sky’s the limit. Generation Z value innovation and experimentation, so get creative and place more focus on making branded videos of all varieties. These can come in the form of mini-documentaries, music videos, branded ads, Q&As, user-generated content, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and more.
Want to create a branded video that people will want to watch? Here is what you need to do.
Tip: TikTok is a video-centric social platform that is incredibly popular among the Gen Z population—it boasts 500 million active users worldwide. This could prove to be an invaluable way to connect with and appeal to Generation Z this year and beyond.
Offer self-service options
When we say self-service, we mean providing experiences, functionality, and campaigns that tap into the autonomy that Generation Z craves. As empowered digital natives, members of Gen Z understand technology on an intuitive level. Offer experiential freedom, and you will grow your audience.
A prime example of this is chatbots. By using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology to streamline your eCommerce store’s inquiries and checkout options, you will remove reliance on human agents, allowing Gen Zers to resolve issues, ask consumer questions, and make purchases swiftly.
For example, money management provider Cleo repositioned its chatbot inquiry service by introducing “Roast Mode.” An AI-powered online chat service designed to resonate with younger digital natives, Cleo’s Roast Mode is visually-striking and speaks in a direct, non-cliched language that resonates with Generation Z. As a result, Cleo’s new chatbot-powered function has proved a hit among Generation Z.
Make it personal
In today’s digitally-driven world, a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing won’t do. Millennials hate blanket advertising, and Gen Zers lament it even more. If you want to reach out and connect with the Generation Z audience, focusing on personalization is a must.
Gen Zers are increasingly willing to share their personal information in exchange for fully personalized experiences, including tailored deals and shopping suggestions, content that answers direct needs and curiosities, and browsing journeys that offer individual value.
This year, to appeal to the Generation Z cohort, you will need to place a greater focus on your personalization efforts. Brands such as Netflix, Amazon, and Airbnb are renowned for their superior levels of personalization. Conduct a little mystery shopping, study their personalization strategies in detail, and use this as fuel for the inspiration fire.
“My experience of great storytelling, working with classics, is just finding a way to present it simply but let the story do its own work, or be an invite to the audience’s imagination.” – Kenneth Branagh, actor
By getting to the heart of Generation Z’s wants, needs, and preferences and presenting your messaging in a way that is direct while offering real personal value, you will make your brand appealing to this ever-growing army of online shoppers.
Keep it fluent, keep it simple, never stop taking the time to invest in technology, and understand your audience, and you will become a Generation Z favorite in no time.
For more eCommerce-inspired inspiration, explore these essential apps that every eCommerce business owner should use to run their empire. Increased productivity and commercial growth, the mobile way.