Gen Z and Millennials vs. “Old School” Shopping: Boost Sales by Bridging the Generational Divide
This retail holiday season, millennial and Gen Z shoppers wield enormous buying power. Reaching these audiences with promotional messaging requires non-traditional advertising channels, social media interaction and influencer marketing. Cross-optimization of every channel — in-store, online, and app — is required to boost holiday sales, as these audiences love the convenience of online ordering, but want the instant gratification of in-store purchases. There’s a generational divide in shopping habits and your current efforts might not be hitting your target audience.
Moving into the last few weeks before Christmas, do you want to try some new ways to boost retail sales and attract millennial and Gen Z shoppers? Here are three tips:
- Leverage social media and other new marketing channels
Gen Z refers to the group of people who were born between 1995 and 2005. Unlike millennials, Gen Z is hyperconnected with technology and social media, because they’ve never known a world without devices and the internet. Gen Z has a front row seat to hacking scandals, data leaks and cyberattacks, so they’ve learned to be careful with their personal information and credit cards. Retailers should have an embedded POS system that doesn’t give hackers access and out-of-scope (OOS) payments that keep card data out of the retailer’s system to increase Gen Z consumers’ confidence when making a purchase this retail holiday season.
Growing up in a digital age has taught Gen Z to be cautious, so they create fake profiles on social media accounts for general use and save their real accounts for people they trust. Your brand needs to establish a connection with customers that’s strong enough for them to consider you a part of their “trusted circle.”
- Millennials and Gen Z are wary of traditional advertising
Millennials and Gen Z shoppers don’t pay much attention to traditional advertisements, so print ads and other conventional messages aren’t going to reach your target audience. More than anything, millennials and Gen Z want authenticity, so they look for referrals from peers or social media influencers who are using your products or services. Give millennials and Gen Z shoppers easy access to the input they want from trusted sources this retail holiday season by using influencer marketing — an indirect communication using an “influencer” or opinion leader to relay a message. The best approach to influencer marketing is usually multi-faceted, including social media outreach through the influencer’s own YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
- Shopping should be convenient and experiential
The in-store shopping experience means a lot to Gen Z and millennial shoppers. In-store shopping has an edge over shopping online because it allows people to see, feel, and try items and it gives them the instant gratification of getting their items right away. Although two-thirds of millennial and Gen Z shoppers prefer the ease of shopping online, they will go to a store to avoid waiting for their orders. Cross-optimizing channels this retail holiday season gives Gen Z and millennials the best of both worlds with options like buy online, pick up in store or buy online, return to store, which help them avoid long lines. Every store associate should be equipped with mobile point of sale (mPOS) so they can implement price matching, check inventory levels and locate out-of-stock items. Nothing dampens the holiday spirit like disappointed or frustrated customers, so utilize sales and labor reports to ensure you have enough associates on the floor to handle the holiday traffic.
Gen Z and millennial shoppers are dominate consumer demographics this retail holiday season, so it’s important that your strategy deliver the types of shopping experiences they expect and that will win their business.