In 2019, Generation Z (those born between 1995 and 2009) will become the largest demographic group on the planet.
Gen Z will comprise 32% of the global population of 7.7 billion in 2019, nudging ahead of millennials, who will account for a 31.5%.
“So what?” I hear you ask.
Generation Z has some very specific expectations when it comes to customer experience and desires – but, more interestingly, their behaviors, habits and expectations are also manifesting themselves in older generations such as Millennials and Generation X.
Consider social media usage such as Instagram and Pinterest – use of these platforms commenced with Generation Z and has migrated to older generations. Gartner noted that “Generation Z’s are disproportionately influencing and impacting the world stage as they set the foundation for the future of living.”
Generation Z has specific customer expectations which impact retailers. They seek Control, Consistency, Curation and Convenience.
If you are a retailer, what do you need to know?
They want to be in control of when, where and how they interact with you – be this physically in store, by web, mobile, chatbots or virtual personal assistant. They look for flexibility and to be in control of the location, time and interaction point of every step of their customer journey – across select, transact, acquire and return.
Consistency in the experience is critical as it directly relates to perceived quality. For Gen Z, the consistency comes into major focus across price, offer, experience and product across every channel and touchpoint. From a customer journey perspective they expect every interaction to fully understand previous interactions.
Contextual recommendations are key. Offers and collections of products that are personal and specific to them and their needs are valuable. They also expect interactions to be personalized and continuous – being able to pick up from where they left off – a purchase journey that started in store being completed online and vice versa.
They seek absolute in convenience and choice but are prepared to pay for it. They need friction-free journeys and retailers who can solve problems for them – rather than creating problems. This means easy ordering, delivering product at a time and place of their convenience, making returns super easy and generally working around their full and busy lives.
Being aware of these changes is a great first step. Adapting them is going to be a challenging journey. Technologies providing visibility and co-ordination across the organization will be the key to addressing these needs. Leveraging IoT, AI and other emerging technologies will help. Software AG is proud to be helping some of the world’s most progressive retailers address the needs of Gen Z – find out more below.