Here’s what retailers should know about Gen Z

Generation Z is here to show that brick-and-mortar may indeed have a future, while also emphasizing the importance of a retailers’ omni-channel execution.

Generation Z is here to show that brick-and-mortar may indeed have a future, while also emphasizing the importance of retailers’ omnichannel execution.

A recent study released by Profitect reveals that 76 percent of Generation Z (Gen Z) shoppers picked in-store as their top shopping destination. The survey of more than 1,000 U.S. Gen Z shoppers, aged 18-22, also indicated that 42 percent of respondents prefer to shop in-stores vs online highlighting the need for retailers to create a good in-store experience. A further 34 percent prefer to shop in-stores and online equally, while only 23 percent indicated they prefer to shop online only.

“Our survey of Gen Z shoppers found that the in-store shopping experience still plays an important role in the shopping journey, even with digital natives,” said Guy Yehiav, Chief Executive Officer of Profitect. “From price and deal shopping, to ease of returns, to interest in checking product availability, the data demonstrates that retailers should not neglect the importance of a strong in-store and online strategy.”

In line with respondents’ preference to shop in stores, the survey found that 46 percent of Gen Z shoppers noted that browsing in-stores is their biggest influence to shop.

“Executives now seem to understand the importance of driving the younger generation to their stores. They have learned the value of assessing the feelings of the consumer and that innovating the in-store experience is just as valuable as building up a digital presence,” said Yehiav in an interview with Retail Leader. “I do not believe brick-and-mortar is dead. I believe it is changing and the best way for retailers to change is to develop through the expectations of the consumer and effectively evolving to create a positive shopping dynamic.”

According to the survey, 67 percent of respondents indicated that the factor that mostly prompts them to add more items to their shopping basket is their feelings at the time. Beyond that, 40 percent of respondents said in-store displays influence them to add items to their basket. In a nod to the importance of retailers’ omni-channel presence, 33 percent noted that online and in-store advertisements influence them to add items to their basket.

When asked to select the two biggest reasons to shop at a particular retailer, only 11 percent of respondents noted that in-store experts or consultants who can help them shop was important.

However, while all responses about preference for in-store associate were relatively low, more than half of the total respondents (57 percent) said that poor customer service would be the biggest reason for them to stop shopping at a favorite retailer.

“While the data indicates that Gen Zers like to research their needs by themselves rather than consult an expert at the store, it also shows that the shopping experience can easily turn sour if experience with staff is poor,” explained Yehiav. “Given this information, retailers should ensure that in-store staff is properly trained and available when they are needed. Staff performance data can indicate which stores and employees are performing better than others so retail leaders can make smart decisions on training.”

To read full survey results, click here.