Generation Z Don’t See Your Business The Way You Do

In the second part of this Gen Z series, I look at digital dancing and why your stores are more important than you might have thought

Life’s so unfair isn’t it? Just when you thought you’d got millennials cracked, what happens? Along comes generation Z, with an estimated 2.6 billion members globally.

Not only that but they want……no, they expect to be able to engage with your brand – and you with them, and what’s more, they even want to get involved in your product design!

The truth is that they are redefining the very relationship we have with brands.

Being the first true digital native generation, they have never known a world without the internet, therefore their attitudes towards technology are fundamentally different. 

This is very important when you consider your brand experience; why? Because Generation Z don’t recognise ‘omnichannel’ – a term largely coined by baby boomers – it’s all simply one brand entity which might be accessed one moment via a mobile device and the next by entering your store. There is no difference. 

“Being the first true digital native generation, they have never known a world without the internet, therefore their attitudes towards technology are fundamentally different”

One thing however is clear: Generation Z are far less tolerant of any technical glitches than any other group. That’s because technology isn’t considered something special, it is not an adjunct to the ‘digital experience’, it IS the experience.

But here’s the apparent contradiction for retailers.

Last year the National Retail Federation and IBM’s Institute for Business Value conducted research and surveyed over 15,000 consumers aged 13-21 from 16 different countries.

The results may come as something of a surprise.

It found that this group – born into a world of digital devices and who love mobile – almost universally still prefer to shop in-store – all 96% of them!

So what does this mean for brands?

“Don’t overlay digital onto your existing business, digital IS your business”

Veronique Laury, Kingfisher CEO

And therein lies the key to unlocking Generation Z; whilst beneath the waves everything might be frantically working to keep the ship afloat be sure that above, all must appear calm and serene.

Technology in perfect harmony with the brand, choreographed elegantly such that the entire experience is seamless.

Remember; Generation Z are unable to see your business the way you do; keep that in mind when planning your next digital screen or mobile app and ask yourself: is this adding to the dance or have I got two left feet?

 Andrew Busby is a former retailer, Founder & CEO of Retail Reflections and an IBM Futurist.

By Andrew BusbyRetail Reflections