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Gen Z’s Role in eCommerce 

Posted on March 18, 2021
by Emma Burgess

Those born up until 1996 have seen fluid boundaries between online presence and the ‘real world’. Regarded as the ‘digital generation’, Gen Z has not always been a priority for marketers, but that’s changing. 

Gen Z impact on eCommerce in 2020 

Some of the best-known, longest-surviving brands on the high street are now struggling, while significant momentum gathers for digitally native, online-only brands and fast fashion disrupters. Most Gen Z’s have little memory of a time before the internet, their relationship with retailers has been online and a big part is mediated through socials.  

Forbes surveyed 100 digital advertising firms and found that 62% now consider Gen Z to be a priority. At present Gen Z makes up 25%of the U.S. population, and in two years, 40% of its consumers. This generation already controls $44billion in spending and that figure will rise as they hit the workforce in earnest.  

Given the recent addition of shopping pages to social media channels, it’s easier than ever to purchase an item, and who drove this change in demand? Gen Z. This drive in total commerce thrives on consumers always on’ mindset, when 55% of fashion shoppers have made a purchase based on viewing a ‘creators’ post and a brand’s shopping channels. Virtual marketplaces, social media platforms and mobile commerce all play a role in omnichannel retail to capture and thrive on fresh audiences with this mentality. Merchants are already adapting their marketing campaigns to suit the wants of those under 24. In a recent survey, only 25% of Gen Zers said they liked online search ads, instead favouring a cheaper, 5 second Instagram ad.  

Gen Z shaping the future of eCommerce  

Whilst no one can say what will happen in years to come, the past year alone witnessed an irreversible change in consumer behaviour. Gen Z’s entrenched habits will be reflective of the demands and practices in future careers. In a world where Netflix and TikTok dominate this generation’s screens, prospective entrepreneurs are heading to the same platforms to market and capture this audience. 

 How can online retailers capture this audience? 

 1) Be authentic 

 Having an active social media presence as a retailer doesn’t mean trying to shoehorn your business into the latest meme or trend. Social consumers are savvy enough to see through these tactics and instead prefer more native posts or visually aesthetic short clips. Retailers should be themselves, be to the point, and create a swift journey from first sight to transaction. 

 2) Be present 

 Social media has long been a tool for airing complaints about products and service. As a retailer, having a social media presence is one thing, actively maintaining it is another. Be alive to complaints, and be empathetic. Show that you care by not ignoring them, acknowledge and solutionise where possible. This will go a long way to enriching your customers, and prospective customers, experience and impression of your brand. 

3) Be found 

Google shopping has made the purchase journey even quicker. The search, source and select model can now become the search and select model, with Google’s algorithms and integrations with marketplaces showing products to searchers without them even landing on the marketplace. Use this to your advantage. Most online shops integrate with Google and Bing, so make sure that the marketplace you choose has this capability and use it.  

Huboo are an award-winning fulfilment provider based in the UK and mainland Europe, you can view their services here.