Keeping down with the kids is tough. If you’re an established and traditional business, it can be be tricky to relate to people who have never loaded film into a camera, who don’t remember the Brazilian Ronaldo, and who don’t have a clue what a floppy disk is.  

Each new generation brings an entirely new set of challenges which companies need to address: How do we change our marketing tactics to get noticed? Will technology make our product redundant? What do our target consumers want, think and feel?

Who is part of Generation Z?

Those contained within Generation Z, (generally) defined as including people born between the late 90s and the early 2010s, have experienced the disappearance of cash in two ways: on a macro level, some of their earliest memories will have been affected by the recession and being surrounded by a cash-stringent mentality; and on a smaller scale, physical cash has disappeared from pockets, replaced by payment innovations in their droves, with cards, e-wallets and various other gizmos (such as QR codes) taking centre stage.

Here are a few of Generation Z’s key shopping habits that merchants should be building into their business strategies:

Social media shopping

If you are selling goods and services to Generation Z and aren’t using social media as a tool for your e-commerce activities, you’re doing something wrong. A recent survey indicated that more than half of Generation Z-ers spend more than six hours on social media per day.

When it comes to shopping, social media has evolved in the past couple of years to allow shoppers to purchase without even leaving the app. Small pop-up windows appear in apps such as Instagram and Facebook, and within a few clicks the sale is made. The window disappears and the customer keeps scrolling down their social media feed.

Buying through social media is quick and effortless, which is why it’s so prevalent within Generation Z. 

Click, click, collect

Generation Z are the anti-time wasters. Growing up in a world where everything is constantly getting faster – internet connection, deliveries, payments – leaves no desire for a shopping experience that is slow and steady. They have notoriously short attention spans. Setting aside a whole day to go shopping, spending hours browsing in shops and, finally, queueing to pay, simply aren’t palatable for Generation Z.

Instead, they’ve turned to doing online research instead of browsing in physical stores, and purchasing via their mobile devices, before going in-store to pick up their new products. 76% of Gen Z-ers enjoy going into shops, and many experts have indicated that this could save the high street. Generation Z are in the habit of a faster way of shopping, by removing the browsing element.

If you’re a merchant with both a physical and online store, make sure you have a Click & Collect option. Meanwhile if you are purely a face-to-face business, make sure you at least have detailed information about your goods and services online, because Gen Z-ers are much more likely to make a purchase if they know exactly what they’re getting beforehand.

One click, one tap

Generation Z’s famous short attention span means that even if merchants manage to entice customers into clicking ‘buy’, there’s still a significant challenge to overcome before the sale is actually made. Cart abandonment can be a huge problem for merchants, and nowhere is it more prevalent than with Gen Z-ers.

There are a number of stages that the customer needs to go through during the checkout, including creating accounts, entering delivery information, selecting a payment method and submitting card data. If any of these prove too long to complete, Generation Z consumers will simply abandon the cart to shop elsewhere.

To combat this, merchants can offer different solutions:

  • a one-click option for frequent buyers  
  • guest checkout, or accounts linked with social media or email
  • pre-filled fields for both accounts and payments

Speed is of the essence for Generation Z, and the fewer taps required on their mobile phone screens, the better.