STORES Magazine - January 2018 - 66
Generation Z -
Redefining the Retail Experience
by KATHERINE CULLEN
Katherine Cullen is director of retail and consumer insights at NRF.
espite their youth, members of Generation Z (Gen Zers) are
already a force to be reckoned with. Born in 1995 and later,
they are projected to be 2.6 billion strong by 2020. Within the
United States specifically, they are estimated at roughly 22 percent of the population and are on track to catch up to Millennials
in terms of size and influence.
In order to help retailers understand what motivates and shapes
this rising generation of consumers, NRF worked with IBM's
Institute for Business Value in a multi-part global study of Gen Z.
The third and final installment of the study looked at what Gen
Zers expect while shopping, how they view and use technology,
and the desire to create their own experiences.
MOBILE IS AN EXTENSION OF THE IN-STORE EXPERIENCE
Although Gen Zers are digital natives, the physical store
remains their dominant sales channel, with 67 percent saying
they shop in stores most of the time. However, as a generation
that grew up having information just a text or mobile search
away, they don't draw a clear line between physical and digital
retail. Nearly half (47 percent) of Gen Zers surveyed says they
use their smartphones when shopping in a store. And they're
using their phones to research, compare prices and solicit advice
from their peers.
NOT JUST CUSTOMERS BUT CO-CREATORS
Rather than have brands create personalized shopping
experiences for them, Gen Zers would prefer to have a say in
customizing their purchases. This is of particular interest for
female consumers: 52 percent of female Gen Zers would like to
see tools that allow them to customize products for themselves,
compared with 45 percent of men.
For more insights from the study, visit https://nrf.com/resources/
IBM INSTITUTE FOR BUSINESS VALUE, "WHAT DO GEN Z SHOPPERS WANT?"
RETAIL ON THEIR OWN TERMS
Gen Z is not unique in looking for convenience, value or a
frictionless experience when they shop. Where they may differ is
in their expectation for on-demand interactions. Gen Zers place
a premium on the ability to quickly find what they want and to
decide where and how they shop.
"Brands should recognize that Gen Z wants control of the
shopping experience and should provide Gen Zers with the
means to customize the shopping journey according to their own
preferences," says Simon Glass, global retail leader for the IBM
Institute for Business Value.
"As Gen Z matures into an economic powerhouse in its own
right, retailers should already be planning how to become
essential to Gen Z consumers, determining what 'frictionless'
really means to Gen Zers looking for simplicity and convenience
and how to leverage value-add technology as part of an
omnichannel experience that is both engaging and rewarding."
STORES January 2018