Move over Millennials, there’s a new customer in town – meet ‘Generation Z’

A new breed of customer is waiting in the wings. Born between the mid-nineties and 2010, this customer is part of a generation where tech disruption is the norm, “Googling it” is how you find out information and Facebook is for parents.

It is a generation that spends around 7.6 hours a day socialising, often online, and whose digital communications skills are stronger than its face-to-face skills. This is Generation Z.

The retail sector has seen a lot of changes over the years, but none so much as the changes to the profiles of its customers. From Baby Boomers to Millennials, we are now entering the dawn of ‘Generation Z’, a group not too dissimilar to its predecessor – in that they are highly connected, rely on social media and view experience as more important than ‘stuff’.

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Generation Z could be a force to be reckoned with. By 2020 they will account for 40% of the adult population with a projected spending power of $44m (£31.8m) in the US alone. Not only that, but it is suggested that their influence will move upwards, and older generations could start to act like them too.

So retailers should take note and start adapting practices to engage with this group now. What follows below are three key strategies that can help retailers understand how ‘Generation Z’ can become brand advocates and drive success for them.

1. Embrace their responsiveness

For ‘Generation Z’ technology is their megaphone. Writing reviews is par for the course with 40% providing feedback often or very often, usually through a retailer’s website, Twitter or Snapchat.

In addition, this group genuinely believes that companies want information that can improve the quality and the relevance of the products and the services that they offer. It is this responsiveness and desire to provide feedback that retailers need to embrace as the starting point for engaging with this demographic.

When customers (and indeed employees) know that their feedback will be used to influence the overall experience of that brand, it all adds to the retailer’s value proposition.

2. Implement a micro-interaction strategy

Generation Z expects to share the experiences they have, with the brands they love, based on the feedback they provide. However, while this generation is tech innate and great at multi-tasking across multiple devices, as individuals they only have an attention span of 8 seconds. Retailers wanting to engage with this group need to provide the ability to do so over multiple platforms, in short, bite-sized ‘conversational’ form if they want to harness their views and shape future experiences.

3. Be relevant and act in the moment

This is critical. Those interactions that do not add immediate value to Generation Z’s experience will be dropped. Collect feedback whilst the experience is occurring, in that exact moment, allowing for that instant engagement and interaction with the customer. This provides that all important insight into practices that need to be amended to meet expectations.

‘Generation Z’ is driven by a desire to find new and better ways of doing things, and the retail industry would do well to learn from the example they set. In a business world where the goal posts keep shifting, those retailers that embrace this mentality, and adapt and change to better serve the needs of their customers, will reap the rewards from this lucrative demographic.

For those who fail to do so, some helpful feedback from this discerning group of customers awaits.

Medallia realises the pace and impact of changing demands is unrelenting and companies often have difficulty keeping up with their customers. It aims to help businesses ‘win’ by improving customer experiences.

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