E-commerce strategies are constantly evolving to adapt to the ever-changing online business landscape. And guess what – Gen Z is now at the centre of these changes.
If you want to flourish as an e-commerce business, taking Gen Z consumers and their needs into consideration is key. Gen Zers are now young adults whose spending power is calculated at around $140 billion as of 2022. Besides, online shopping is a native practice for Gen Z whose Internet savvy is surpassed by no other generation.
How can you turn Zoomers into the devoted customer base of your e-commerce business? That’s exactly what you’re going to learn in this blog. Below, you’ll find 6 top trends you can follow to ace e-commerce marketing for Gen Z.
Key Characteristics of Gen Z Consumer Behavior
To know how to cater to Gen Z consumers, you need to have a clear understanding of their buying habits and preferences. These young people approach shopping differently compared to Gen X and even their fellow Millennials. Here’s what you should know:
- Gen Zers strive to make responsible buying decisions and are very conscious consumers. You need to stand out to be chosen among competitors;
- Gen Z is very value-driven. Shopping is not only about consumption – they want to buy from brands and marketplaces that reflect their beliefs;
- Social media has a powerful impact on Gen Z's purchasing decisions. As an eCommerce brand, you should be visible on social media to reach young consumers;
- Gen Z has a shorter attention span than older generations. Constantly bombarded by information from multiple channels, these consumers rarely dwell on one thing for long. Capturing their attention right from the start is key to being noticed as a business;
- They expect relevant, personalized offers from brands they shop with. You can’t use one-size-fits-all marketing tactics to get popular with Gen Z. You need to follow the right trends and focus on personalized marketing efforts.
These characteristics make Gen Z a unique generation of consumers. As an e-commerce brand, you must tap into these peculiarities and make the best of them in your marketing strategy.
But without further ado, let’s get down to specifics. What can you do to attract and retain Gen Z customers to your eCommerce business?
1. Ensure a seamless online experience on your website
If you want to make your e-commerce brand popular with Gen Z, they should enjoy spending time on your website. A well-thought-out UX design of your online marketplace is something you should prioritize when it comes to catering to Zoomers.
The main features you need to provide to your website visitors include:
Quick page load time. Research shows that website conversion rates decrease by more than 4% with each extra second of loading time in the span of 0-5 seconds. 47% of website visitors expect a web page to load within 2 seconds. Make sure your website runs fast and customers are not left to wait for your pages to load;
Mobile-friendly website interface. People joke that a smartphone is a natural extension of a Gen Zer’s hand at this point. And well, it’s not that far from the truth. Chances are, they will visit your website from a mobile device more often than from a computer. Keep it in mind when developing your UX design.
Make the pages “swipeable”, preview page design on mobile, and keep your content concise to fit on the smartphone screen – this is the bare minimum. Also, make sure you have added good live chat software to your website – one that does not have a boatload of code and that loads easily on mobile devices.
Easy website navigation. Don’t leave your visitors guessing what icon to click or which section to look for to find what they want. Avoid overloading your page with unnecessary categories, links, etc. A good solution is one main menu icon that opens a drop-down list with more detailed website sections;
Convenient checkout process. 30% of Gen Z say an easy and fast checkout process is essential to a positive purchasing experience. Test your checkout section to ensure it works smoothly.
If you ace these aspects of your eCommerce website UX, you won’t need to worry about Gen Z consumers leaving your web pages before you get a chance to convert them into leads and real customers.
2. Leverage social media marketing
We’ve already mentioned that social media is a major part of Gen Zers’ lives. This digital-native generation spends a lot of time on YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and other platforms on a daily basis. And it’s not only about posting content and staying in touch with friends. Social media effectively shape Gen Z's buying habits.
Think about the viral #tiktokmademebuyit hashtag. It has over 4 billion views and helps users discover products other people have already vouched for. In fact, nearly 60% of users claim that TikTok encouraged them to buy something even when they had no initial intention to do so.
If you want to attract young consumers to your eCommerce brand, mastering social media marketing is a must-do. Build a social media market strategy that will help you target Gen Z:
- Make sure you establish an online presence on popular social media frequented by Gen Z consumers. Create a branded account for your eCommerce business and invest time and resources in its growth;
- Regularly post engaging content that will encourage users to interact with your business. Leverage interactive content types: quizzes, polls, social media contests, etc. Gen Z loves it when brands are interested in their input;
- Collaborate with social media influencers. Influencer marketing is booming right now. In fact, 58% of Gen Z have made at least one purchase based on the recommendation of a social media content creator. So we suggest you hop on the trend and start an influencer marketing campaign to boost your brand awareness among young consumers. Again, you can take your cues from Amazon: this major e-commerce marketplace aces influencer marketing by collaborating with popular content creators from various niches:
- Start a branded hashtag campaign. Hashtags are a powerful tool that can make your branded content easily discoverable across social media. Create a unique branded hashtag for your eCommerce business and include it under every post you publish. And can also organize a hashtag campaign to engage your followers. For example, take a look at Etsy’s successful #makeitmeaningful campaign that generated thousands of user-generated content:
- Leverage social media ads. Social media algorithms will make your ads visible to the right target audiences. Besides, they are more organic than traditional advertising.
3. Improve your customer service
Gen Z values high-quality customer experience just like any other generation. What these young consumers prioritize even more, however, is exceptional customer service. Zoomers expect brands to be available and responsive 24/7 to help them solve a problem or answer a question. And as an eCommerce business, you need to live up to these high standards.
You can take the following steps to up your customer care game:
Offer multi-channel customer service. Your customers should be able to reach you via the channel of their choice. It can be an online chat, DMs on a social media page, a hotline call, etc. Even one ignored channel can discourage Gen Z consumers from shopping with you;
Implement AI chatbots. According to Zeropark, AI solutions are becoming the “hot thing”. Chatbots are the new black when it comes to instantly available customer service and marketing automation in general. Modern AI algorithms make customer communication with a chatbot fast and seamless, answering questions and guiding a person down the buying journey with your eCommerce brand. With a quality chatbot, you can provide your customers with interactive and visual responses containing video, subscription forms, or embedded content;
Combine customer service automation with human communication. While Gen Z enjoys advanced AI solutions, communication with live agents is still very important. Make sure you have a team of customer service agents that can get in touch with a customer and address their request swiftly;
Provide relevant information customers can explore themselves. Gen Zers are independent problem solvers. Often, they’d rather google an answer to their question instead of turning to a chatbot or agent. So help your customers down that journey. Have detailed FAQ pages and how-to guides on your website to provide valuable info.
4. Master personalization
Gen Z consumers value personalized shopping experiences. They are much more likely to respond to e-commerce brands whose marketing content relates to their personal preferences, interests, and needs.
Focus on personalization across all aspects of customer experience to make Gen Z your loyal customers:
- Build targeted landing pages for specific customer personas;
- Communicate with your followers on social media (through DMs, comments, etc.);
- Personalize your other, more traditional marketing channels. Take email as an example. Use email list segmentation, address recipients by name, and send emails at the times your customers usually check their inbox; Make sure your email list is verified to avoid sending emails to the wrong people.
- Leverage user-generated content. UGC is a great personalization tool for your eCommerce brand. If you’re actively promoting your branded social media accounts, chances are you have a database of UGC your followers create around your business. Include this content in your ads, email newsletters, web pages, etc. You can build engaging content-sharing bots with giosg Interaction Builder to showcase the USG content on your website.
- Offer personalized coupons and discounts to your customers.
6. Communicate your brand values and philosophy
You already know that Gen Z consumers want to know what businesses they choose care about. This young generation wants to contribute to positive change by giving their money to a brand that has a mission and philosophy they can relate to.
It could be anything, including social, ethical, environmental, or human rights issues. Understand what is truly important to you and ask yourself how your eCommerce business can bring a positive change. Being genuine is key.
No matter which philanthropic cause you choose, let your young customers know what exactly you are doing to support it and how their purchase can help it.
Don’t think you know have to donate tens of thousands of your hard-earned dollars to a charity of choice to show you care. You can go down very different paths here:
- Spread awareness through educational materials on your website;
- Become part of a bigger social campaign (joining Pride Month, for example);
- Support/ popularize public events related to your cause;
- Implement sustainable shopping practices, etc.
Look at Pela as an excellent case study. This brand sells products from compostable materials to tackle the issue of plastic pollution. The company openly shares the brand philosophy consumers can support and empathize with:
Besides, Pela’s customers can see exactly how they are contributing to a better future for the planet:
Bottom line: put your brand values out there and think about how you can act on them to make the world a better place. Gen Z consumers will appreciate your effort and support you with their money and loyalty.
7. Build a community around your business
Since Gen Z values connection with brands over common values, community building around your eCommerce business is one more approach to attracting and retaining young consumers. This way, you will also be fostering the emergence of brand advocates and boosting the word of mouth marketing.
If you want to foster brand loyalty, give your customers a sense of belonging when they shop with you. You can build your customer community around shared values, passions, and/or interests – again, the choice is yours.
To build a community around your e-commerce brand, you need to consistently engage your customers in brand-related activity.
- Ask for your customers' opinions about your products and services. You can run polls and surveys and reward active participants. This information is sure to prove valuable when for your overall business growth;
- Organize live or virtual events and special campaigns. It can be a live shopping event, Zoom meetup, a weekend brunch, or a charity sporting event – you name it;
- Create a content hub for your community. Build a forum, a separate website section, or a public social media page to bring your customers together and start conversations. For example, Sephora really nailed community building with their Beauty Insider customer community:
- Create a loyalty program. Gen Z might be all about novelty, but this generation still appreciates the value of a good loyalty program. Creating one is a great way to incentivize people to stay with your business;
- Encourage UGC creation. Ask people to create product reviews, unpacking videos, or simply post photos of your product online. Gen Zers love being involved in brand representation and will enthusiastically respond to you.
Pro-tip: invest your time and effort in creating transparent community guidelines for your customers. It will help you prevent conflict and controversy within the community and, consequently, around your brand.
Gen Zers are picky and conscious consumers. To attract and retain Gen Z customers effectively, your e-commerce business needs to prioritize several things:
- Ensuring high-quality user experience with your website;
- Building a solid social media marketing strategy;
- Boosting customer service;
- Personalizing customer experiences;
- Communicating brand values;
- And fostering community building.
Last but not least – remember that Gen Z values authenticity. Think outside the box, be creative with your marketing solutions, and don’t be afraid to experiment. You’ll be sure to find your Gen Z customer base.
If you wish to read more on e-commerce trends, check out our blog on Live commerce trends.