They are digital natives. They are the most well-educated among all generations. They live, eat, and breathe social media.
Meet Generation Z or Gen Z — those born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s.
But the world of eCommerce is changing rapidly with each new digital invention. So, as soon as there’s something new, we’re faced with the same challenge — how to keep Gen Z hooked to your eCommerce store?
The message is clear. If you want a slice of Gen Z on your Shopify store, you need to work on your strategies to build loyalty with Gen Z customers.
That’s what we talk about in this blog.
Who are the Generation Z?
Generation Z comprises people born between the mid-1990s and mid-2010s. The oldest in this generation would be those around 25 years—people just out of college, working, setting up homes, getting married or starting families.
This generation is known to prioritize education and causes such as social and environmental, among others.
This is also a generation that is facing issues such as unemployment, and recessions, and most have no financial security—much more than their previous generations.
All these factors influence their shopping behaviors. So what’s it like? Let’s find out.
Gen Z shopping behavior
To understand Gen Z buying behavior, let’s start by considering these interesting statistics:
- Gen Z tends to be the most informed consumer
- 65% of Gen Z consumers have bought something based on influencers’ recommendations
- They prefer to shop for the best deals rather than stick to brands
- They shop from their phones more than any generation
- 32% of them say brand authenticity is more important to them
A report by McKinsey states three key factors that impact Gen Z:
1. Consumption as access over possession: Gen Z likes the shared economy. They’re open to new shopping models such as subscriptions.
2. Consumption as an expression of individual identity: They like to look at their shopping behavior as something that builds their personality and isn’t merely transactional. They like to join memberships offered by online brands and be a part of a community of like-minded people.
3. Consumption as a matter of ethical concern: Opportunities such as supporting causes via their favorite brands and joining brands that support ethical concerns bring more meaning to their shopping.
Given these factors, how can your Shopify business build long-term loyal connections with Gen Z customers? Let’s find out.
How to build loyalty among Gen Z customers: 8 strategies
1. Offer subscriptions
Gen Z looks for the best deals, convenience, and digital modes for shopping.
And one of the best ways to provide all of the above is through subscriptions and boost their loyalty.
Another reason for your Shopify store to include subscriptions is that today, most brands have set up subscriptions. And if you don’t, your competitors will grab your customers.
Here are some factors to consider when offering subscriptions:
- Show the value proposition of your subscription plans because Gen Z shops based on values. They like to buy products that reflect their personality, beliefs, and values. They tie the product/brand’s impact on society and the environment and choose to associate with brands that align with their values.
- Make flexibility a key part of your subscription experience. It’s hard for Gen Z to stick to brands—after all, they have a zillion options at their fingertips. And hence, one way to boost customer loyalty toward your brand is to offer them flexibility.
- Provide options for types of subscriptions. For example, build a box allows freedom of choice and tends to be more suitable to Gen Z preferences.
2. Offer memberships
Gen Z is thirsty for exclusivity and community-based experiences.
Once again, Gen Z looks for value beyond transactional experiences. They look for communities, like-minded people, and brands that understand them and expect relevant and personalized experiences. And that’s where memberships come in!
By offering memberships, you can attract Gen Z to join a community of like-minded people and create personalized experiences for this segment. And by centering your offerings around “relevance”, bring more value to their association with your brand.
Here are some tips to go about memberships for Gen Z:
- Offer perks relevant to Gen Z, for example, in-person member events, volunteering drives where they can support causes, etc.
- Offer a seamless membership experience, whether it’s on your website, mobile site, or app
- Provide high levels of customer service—think tech, AI, ML, multi-channel and human-to-human interaction when needed
- Boost personalization via the perks and exclusive benefits you offer. 96% of Gen Z consumers favor brands that understand personalization
3. Show them social proof
Gen Z makes informed, knowledgeable decisions. And for that, they look to social proof. One of the best ways to build loyalty with Gen Z is to show all kinds of social proof from your customers—reviews, ratings, user-generated content, testimonials, etc.
A survey found that Gen Z shoppers refer to at least 19 different sources of social proof before making a purchase decision. What does this tell you? Display social proof. Here’s how:
- Run influencer marketing campaigns with influencers followed by Gen Z
- Display user-generated content, for example, from social media or request customers to especially create and share content
- Add product reviews, brand reviews, and ratings on your website
- Include images and videos in the social proof to attract Gen Z
Here’s an example of influencer marketing by ASOS:
4. Highlight your value proposition
Generation Z shops based on value. Gen Z is an intelligent bunch. They constantly look to enhance their lives. And that’s why, as an eCommerce brand, you need to have an understanding of the value you provide. Then, talk about it loud and clear.
Follow these steps to get it right:
- Include what your Gen Z customers expect from you. There might be some aspects that are a given for Gen Z customers. Ensure you include those in the value you offer to them
- Craft the value proposition keeping Gen Z in mind. Get a sense of the demographics and psychographics of your customers—the kind of products, prices, and benefits that they prefer
- Make your value proposition unique. For example, many subscription options in your industry might be offering the same benefits. Hence, include something that stands out or a unique mix that your competitors don’t offer.
5. Run a loyalty program that appeals to Gen Z
Flexibility, personalization, and authenticity appeal to Gen Z. You can incorporate these factors into your loyalty program.
Loyalty programs are meant to boost customer loyalty. But a run-of-the-mill program won’t cut it if you want to engage Gen Z customers. Hence, follow the below practices to up your loyalty program game:
- Offer flexibility. This generation has many options at its fingertips. And hence, if you make your loyalty program too rigid, your customers might lose interest. So, think flexible payment options, easy ways to earn and use loyalty points, etc.
- Design engagement-based loyalty programs. Make your loyalty program benefits go beyond sales and transactions. For example, give points every time customers engage with your brand in between sales and transactions.
- Combine causes with your loyalty program. Let Gen Z customers know your brand supports their social and philanthropic choices. For example, in 2020, Sephoa’s Beauty Insider program enabled customers to donate their accumulated points to the National Black Justice Coalition.
6. Set up an omnichannel presence
Gen Z expects a seamless digital experience. Remember, this is a generation that hasn’t seen times before the digital revolution. And hence, their expectations from brands are much higher when it comes to tech and digital.
- Gen Z likes to shop from many different channels
- They expect an omnichannel experience where brands have many platforms integrated
- They prefer to interact with brands on various channels, at any time
- They’re most comfortable using apps, social media, WhatsApp, etc.
- Use automation, chatbots, and AI to engage Gen Z customers around the clock
- For example, if you run subscriptions, ensure you include all channels such as apps, chatbots, website, SMS, mobile, etc., to keep your Gen Z customers engaged
7. Set up a referrals program
For Gen Z, referrals, reviews, and recommendations from friends are far more compelling than adverts. Gen Z likes to make informed decisions. They also tend to refer their friends to brands they like, share their favorites on social media, and like recommendations from friends.
To boost customer loyalty, leverage your Gen Z customers. Encourage them to share referrals via a referral program. Here’s what you can do:
- Set up a referrals program
- Create referrals strategies and campaigns to build brand loyalty by generation
- Offer personalized incentives—think experiences, account upgrades, points, discounts, and custom incentives
- Track your referral program results and optimize
- Bring gamification into your referrals program
8. Help Gen Z support causes via your brand
Gen Z is more conscious about causes around them. This generation was born in a world that faced a lot of problems its preceding generations—millennials and baby boomers—didn’t experience. Think about environmental, sustainability, social, and cultural issues.
Gen Z is, therefore, more aware and concerned. Their shopping decisions, and the kind of brands and products they support, are highly impacted by the causes they support.
Here’s how you can enable Gen Z to support causes via your brand and boost customer loyalty.
- Let customers know the causes your brand supports. Make it a part of your brand personality
- Make support a part of your subscription, membership, loyalty, or referral programs. For example, it could be a part of the benefits or you could bring together subscribers to donate towards a cause.
- Support many causes, and tie up with other support organizations, so your Gen Z customers can choose what they’d like to support—this way you can hook more customers
- Create a community of like-minded customers and foster interactions and connections among them
Do you have what it takes to attract Gen Z to your Shopify store?
The ideal scenario for your Shopify business would be that you’re able to boost brand loyalty by generation.
But in reality, to do that, you have to keep up with the changing behavior and preferences of your customers, quickly and efficiently.
That’s why you need a robust app such as Appstle.