Shopping in a bricks and mortar store is anything but a dying trend, with young consumers keen to enjoy the socialising and personal contact that only in-store retail allows.
These are the findings of a recent AMP Capital Retail report that notes Generation Z conducts retail research online but still values the real-world experience of visiting stores and purchasing with friends.
So how do retailers harness the power of a young generation embracing the workforce and keen to partake in retail culture? Here are the key points from the ‘Shopping with the Future Generation’ report.
In April this year AMP Capital Retail released a comprehensive report investigating how consumers aged 18-22 viewed the shopping experience.
They interviewed 1710 young people from Australia and New Zealand as part of their research, specifically looking at Generation Z attitudes as the incoming generation of key shoppers.
And despite dire predictions that real-world shopping is a dying trend, according to Generation Z it’s anything but, with shopping still a hugely popular social activity that’s complemented by research on the internet.
Here’s what retailers need to know…
Shopping is a social pursuit
There’s nothing quite like touching, feeling and acquiring products as part of a greater retail experience and it’s a pursuit best enjoyed amongst friends, according to Generation Z.
Over 87% of Australian Future Shoppers like or love the in-store experience, and 53% are more confident when shopping with their friends. This indicates a preference for in-store retail rather than online consumerism, with only 79% noting they like or love shopping online.
“Despite the lure of online shopping, Future Shoppers still prefer to shop in-store just as much, if not more than Current Shoppers,” the report notes.
“This is because they’re social creatures, drawn to the face-to-face, touch-and-feel contact that in-store shopping provides. Yes, Future Shoppers are still avid e-commerce customers, but smart retailers are attracting Future Shoppers by focusing on the tangible benefits of in-store shopping.
“This includes making shopping a social event through fun experiences like Snapchat filters and in-store photobooths, to exclusive workshops groups can enjoy in-store.”
Internet research is a powerful tool
While Generation Z is keen to embrace the atmosphere of shopping in the real world they’re not entering the retail environment unarmed.
This time-poor generation is using what little spare moments they have to trawl the internet for information before making a purchase, and they even conduct research on their smartphones while in-store.
The AMP report notes:
- 61% of Future Generation shoppers are likely to research online while in store compared to 36% of Current Generation shoppers.
- 83% of Australian of Future Shoppers would like to check stock availability online compared to 78% of Current Shoppers.
- 32% of Australian Future Shoppers say they lack free time to go shopping in comparison to 24% of Current Shoppers.
- 63% of Australian Future Shoppers use online wishlists, compared to 43% of Current Shoppers.
For retailers this means it’s imperative to have an engaging omni-channel shopping strategy where consumers can access detailed information online and the brand experience continues throughout the store.
This involves using technology like beacon marketing and push notifications, interactive displays and information kiosks that provide access to product information, and geo-targeted alerts that remind shoppers of their wishlist.
“Smart retailers are embracing the internet by aligning their in-store and online offerings, leveraging the information shared by shoppers to create new and inspiring relationships with them,” the Shopping with the Future Generation Report explains, citing Nike as a good example.
“Using radio-frequency identification technology, tablets and TV screens, Nike has created an engaging, omni-channel in-store experience through its Action Sports digital installation.
“Showcasing the product when placed on a sensor platform, shoppers are given access to more product information, images and stock availabilities. If a particular product isn’t available at the time, shoppers can share their details to be notified through email or SMS when the product has arrived.”
Brands need to mean something
But it’s not just a socially rewarding shopping experience with an online presence and products available that drive young consumers to a brand.
This Future Generation is highly aware of global issues and expects their favored cultural icons to display similar ethics and ethos. When a brand meets their ethical expectations they’re more likely to be rewarded with patronage.
- 68% of Future Shoppers prefer brands that give back
- 62% prefer brands that stand for something
- 59% are willing to pay more for sustainable products
The report notes: “smart retailers are engaging this movement by identifying and supporting social and environmental causes through partnerships with like-minded charities, introducing sustainable and/or ethical products or employing sales assistants who are passionate about the same social causes”.
Young men are emerging as a massive market
Meanwhile a new trend is emerging that sees young men amongst the most avid shoppers who are keen to stay ahead of social trends. AMP found young males love the experience of shopping in-store and online, but can feel self-conscious unless shopping with friends.
- 56% of Australian male Future Shoppers are more confident when shopping with others compared to 29% of Australian male Current Shoppers.
- 51% believe shopping is a social experience
- 59% like to be welcomed and greeted in store
AMP notes the best retailers are recognising young males as an emerging market and are catering to their needs by welcoming them into stores and improving customer service.
The final word
AMP’s findings indicate the future of bricks and mortar shopping is anything but bleak, but the environment in which it functions is changing.
Retailers hoping to embrace the up-and-coming generation of big spenders need to turn their attention to using information to assist their young consumers, ensure their brand meets socially conscious standards, and welcome young retail enthusiasts in, while encouraging the social nature of retail as an activity.