Digital natives are disrupting the way retailers engage with customers. Those born in the early 90s or after have big spending power, and that power is rising faster than any other age demographic.

To them, using technology is like eating with a knife and fork. They mastered it so early that their behaviour is digitally led and tech underpins their life choices. Simply put: where a generation X-er would decide to play golf and look online for tips and products, a generation Z-er might be part of an online community that introduces golf to them, sparking a decision they would not otherwise have made.

Generation Z: What do retailers need to know?

Generation Z has different expectations of the shopping experience. More than half (57%) of those surveyed recently by Vodat International think store associates should have mobile or tablet devices as it enables them to give a better service. If retailers aren’t building their customer engagement strategies to pave the way for their needs tomorrow – while ensuring it works for other consumer groups today – they’re in trouble.

GenZ expects digital stimulation at every turn. If they don’t get it, they go elsewhere. They want to share social media content and use digital in their shopping environments to access the information they need.

Let them create their own journey

Technology is the natural home of Generation Z, and it’s the best way to engage them. Front-line shop staff with technology are more attractive to today’s teens: 47% would rather go to a member of staff with a tablet than queue at the checkout. They’re independent too: 45% like to use self-service checkouts and 41% want digital information points, such as kiosks or digital signage.

GenZ isn’t the only segment to check information or prices on competitor websites before making a purchase, but this generation simply won’t buy anything without investigating alternatives. So introducing connected technology services such as mobile POS not only gives the digital-rich experience they desire, but presents products to them in a brand curated environment; guiding their purchase and eliminating options from competitors.

Digital natives – as the term suggests – demand digital-rich experiences. They’re cynical about multi-million-pound advertising and instead give weight to user reviews. They’re compelled to get validation from others like them before they buy a product and take word-of-mouth over sales spin in an instant.

Generation Z are also used to getting their information in clear, concise formats. To give them the short, ever-changing text, pictures and video they’re accustomed to, take a look at digital messaging. If you need to get the right message to the right people at the right time, in an age of short sound bites and information overload, the possibilities of personalisation through intelligent software are endless.

Future-proofing your customer engagement strategy

Retail is about to experience a shopper revolution. The new generation is constantly connected, yet partially attentive. They move between the digital and physical worlds seamlessly. To win the race to capture and keep their interest, you need the right technology.

High-street stores need to be somewhere every shopper wants to visit, spend time in, and make purchases. For Generation Z, technology is a crucial part of that experience. Retailers must embrace it today, striking the balance between catering to the vastly different needs of the older generations while ensuring future survival. Finding the right partner to provide your technology solutions will make the difference between success and failure.

Digital natives are about to come of age. Retailers that act now will be on the front line to reap the rewards when it happens.


By Raj Parmar, marketing director at Box Technologies

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