Study: Digitally native Gen Z still prefers to shop in-store
Generation Z is called the mobile-first generation. However, their preference for shopping in physical stores presents new opportunities for retailers.
That’s according to a new report from Euclid Analytics, “Evolution of Retail, 2017 Generation Z Shopper Survey,” which found that 66% of Gen Z prefer to shop in store because they like to see, hold and try on products before buying. Also, 28% want to engage with store associates while shopping, the most of any generation.
The report found that digital touchpoints drive Generation Z to identify the products they want before making an in-store purchase. It is up to physical retailers to balance personalized, digital methods with compelling in-store experiences to engage with these mobile-first customers.
Gen Z, born between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s, is set to hit 2.6 billion by 2020. The first generation to have grown up alongside smart devices, social media networks, and fast-changing consumer messaging platforms. Gen Z shoppers are increasingly motivated by the convenience and personalization found online. However, 53% of Gen Z shoppers shop in retail stores at least once a week, the study said.
Gen Z also visits stores to find, not browse for merchandise. Only 47% of Gen Z shoppers like to browse stores (tied with Baby Boomers for the lowest compared to Millennials and Gen X), and 31% of Gen Z shoppers believe it is hard to find items they are looking for in a physical store (the most of any generation). While this is a challenge for retailers, there is an opportunity for brands willing to explore how to cater to new behaviors and expectations.
One of these opportunities can be gained through personalization, as 26% of Gen Z shoppers expect retailers to offer a more personalized experi-ence based on their shopping habits and preferences, the most of all de-mographics, versus Millennials (22%), Gen X (17%) and Baby Boomers (11%).
Social media is also a motivator, especially Snapchat, the preferred net-work among 44% of Gen Z shoppers shopping in a retail store. Only 16% of Millennial and 5% of Gen X respondents regularly use Snapchat while shopping.
Instagram wins for brand discovery, as 45% rely on the social network to find new cool products, followed by Facebook (40%).
"Retailers should reach out to Generation Z at this early stage to introduce their brands and forge enduring relationships," said Brent Franson, CEO of Euclid Analytics. "Our findings highlight some great opportunities for them to connect with this mobile-first population that's still very much interested in meaningful in-store experiences. Winning their loyalty will mean getting creative about using mobile and social marketing outreach in their physical stores."
Pinterest extends visual search — off its site
Pinterest’s visual search capabilities just got broader.
On Monday, March 6, the social media site expanded its visual search technology into its browser extensions — a move that enables pinners to save images found online and use them as a jump-off point for discovering similar ideas on Pinterest, the company said.
Chrome is the first extension to receive the functionality.
The new tool, called the Pinterest browser button, enables pinners to hover over any digital image, select the magnifying tool, and click on the image. Pinterest will present similar items in real-time, using its image recognition software through the browser.
“With visual discovery now available across the web, out in the world and throughout Pinterest, really anything you see can be a starting point for a search,” Kent Brewster, Pinterest’s front-end engineer, said in the company’s blog. “Using the new Pinterest browser button, any image on any website can be a jumping off point for discovering ideas on Pinterest.”
Casual dining chain jumps into online ordering game
Cracker Barrel Old Country Store’s mission is to “keep things simple and please people.” The same holds true when it comes to helping customers place orders.
Responding to its visitors’ demand for more convenience and flexibility when placing to-go orders, the chain now features a platform that allows customers to order meals through their smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop computers.
The platform, from OrderTalk, also directs users to the nearest Cracker Barrel location, and pay online through a PCI-compliant, secure program. Meanwhile, the system’s business intelligence software enables the chain to analyze customer orders to better understand trends and behaviors.
The solution is designed to improve restaurant guest experiences and drive stronger sales through higher check averages, decreased overhead costs and a higher customer satisfaction level, according to OrderTalk.
“In the digital age we live in, customer satisfaction remains a priority to us,” said Leon de Wet, VP information systems and CIO of Cracker Barrel. “With OrderTalk we can deliver satisfaction while extending our products and services into the digital world.”