Brands and retailers are united that Gen Z is where it’s at. Successful marketers have examined this generation's defining characteristics to create products and experiences that are specific to a more diverse, better educated and more digitally savvy generation. From our most recent industry events we've heard new facts, tips and ideas on how to target this powerhouse generation.

Some things you might not know about Gen Z:

  1. Gen Z not only has purchasing power, this generation is a big influencer of Baby Boomers and Gen Alpha.
  2. The most important values to Gen Z right now are: sustainability, emotional connection and long term outlook with current trend agility. 
  3. Tik Tok and Instagram is still where it’s at. Leveraging customers or micro-influencers for promotion and creating a seamless e-commerce experience helps to drive sales. Trendier platforms and media types (live streaming, Metaverse) have not really caught on yet.

For more details, read on...

At Shoptalk Europe our President Sarah Engel led a discussion alongside ASOS, Wallapop and Ogilvy on Adapting Brands and Messaging for Gen Z where the retailers discussed that Gen Z is the first time they have targeted true digital natives. 

What’s the latest marketing techniques to target Gen Z?

Gen Z is looking for present, emotional connection that provides stability and security and most of all sustainability and consciousness of the downfall from their actions. 

Recommendations for marketing to Gen Z from the session included:

    • Be brutally honest and clarify your current role in the generation. 
    • Involve them, personalize based on their interests, and humanize the brand. 
    • Set a long-term brand strategy, but react to hypes, trends, and technology.

Straight from the Gen-Zers' Mouths

During the CommerceNext event held in New York City, our team joined a roundtable discussion with other retailers and brands talking directly to Gen Z'ers. Throughout the discussion we covered social media platforms, purchase behavior, the Metaverse, live streaming and so much more.

Where do they spend time? Facebook is struggling to relate with Gen Z, and Instagram and TikTok are the two major social media platforms with time spent. 

Where do they shop? One surprise was that the Gen Z are influenced by social media, but then go directly to the website to shop and seldomly shop from the link in the comments/bio or shop within the social media platforms. 

What brands are on focus with Gen Z? Those that are relevant, timeless, provide value and are convenient with fast, free shipping or a local store for pick up. 

How to get those brands in front of Gen Z? 

  • Micro-influencers are the most trusted as the macro-influencers are not relatable and most of the time are promoting products out of their “affordable” price range. 
  • Gen Z is conflicted when it comes to where they want to shop. We heard lots of positive comments around Amazon store fronts but a desire to shop local or with smaller businesses to prevent the “rich getting richer”. 
  • What’s a livestream? Not one Gen Zer knew what live streaming was when we mentioned it. They love the videos on product pages showing how an item fits and moves, but don’t have the attention span to sit and watch a full live video.
  • The Metaverse is still an idea, not so much a reality.The fear of the unknown hit home with Gen Z just as much as the rest of us, but as the brands and retailers start to dive in (PacSun and American Eagle), the more common the Metaverse and the unknown will disappear.
  • Sustainability is important but difficult to follow through on because much of the time it’s more expensive. Ultimately that means Gen Zers are not shopping their first choice but they still try to stay away from fast fashion. 

Ultimately, we heard that Wendy’s, Duolingo, Scrub Daddy Sponges and Lion’s Gate (MGM) are all earning creds with Gen Z. Finding brands that are living inclusively and showing it the likes of ASOS and Old Navy are appealing, especially when marketing products across all sizes and ethnicities. 

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