Preparing for the shoppers of the future

Planning for the future is key to ensuring the success of any business. This is especially true for the retail industry, where high volume of customers with rapidly changing demographics and expectations can be hard to keep up with.

The shift to mobile has been a dramatic change for the industry, with today’s consumers now expecting to be able to shop on the go, and compare prices while they’re in store – some even ordering from the store’s mobile app while in the store!

But what’s coming next? How will the use of mobile change in the coming years? And what do you need to do to stay relevant to the shoppers of the future?

Millennials driving the mobile shift

The rise of mobile also coincides with younger, more technologically savvy shoppers entering the market. This began with the millennials, those born between 1980 and 2000, whose purchasing power is now estimated at $600 billion per year in the United States alone.

Millennials have forced change in the retail industry, driving the move within the market to mobile. Millennials want to interact with retailers via their phones like they do with their friends on social media, where they can engage with exciting content and shop more conveniently.

Mobile has become an almost essential part of shopping for millennials, with 82% of smartphone users saying they consult their phones on purchases they’re about to make in a store, and 58% of smartphone users report having used a shopping app in the last 30 days.

As a result, retailers have adapted and moved to multichannel selling. Online and mobile shopping has grown rapidly, and for those retailers doing it right, profits have gone up. In fact, mobile conversion rates have risen by 29% in the last year alone.

Move over millennials: Here comes GenZ

The shifting retail landscape doesn’t stop at millennials, however. There is a new generation of shoppers hitting the market, and they are set to change things even more drastically. They are GenZ.

Generation Z, or GenZ, are those born after 2000. They’re currently in their early to mid teens, but already they make up more than a quarter of the US population and are starting to impact shopping trends. As such, GenZ are set to drastically influence the retail industry in the next few decades.

Though they have only just begun to enter the retail market, GenZ already hold a $44 billion annual purchasing power in the US alone, and the bulk of this purchasing happens online – mostly on mobile.

Google’s recent report into GenZ: A Look Inside Its Mobile-First Mindset revealed the behaviours and preferences shaping the shoppers of the future, specifically when it comes to mobile shopping.

The report revealed that teens are a rapidly emerging online purchasing power, with 68% of teens shopping online and 53% of teens mostly using smartphones to make online purchases compared to 43% of adults.

There is a key difference between millennials’ and GenZ’s use of mobile, according to Google:

“While millennials were mobile pioneers, teens are mobile natives. Yet teens are equal parts aware of and wary of their dependence on technology—meaning their online lives are both spontaneous and carefully curated.”

This awareness is key to how GenZ uses technology but also how teens engage with brands. Just as teens are conscious of the risks and benefits of technology, they are conscious of advertising in a way no other generation has been.

The key to engaging GenZ is creating experiences

Teens today are constantly exposed to advertising and branded content. GenZ recognises this – clever adverts and reaching them where they are isn’t enough anymore. Instead, they expect companies to appeal to their interests with relevant, preferably personalised, experiences.

Apps are the perfect platform for creating GenZ-friendly mobile experiences. They enable brands to experiment with content types and delivery methods in a way that can meet the expectations of teens much more closely than online or mobile web could do.

Apps allow for a large degree of personalisation to the user, from collections of items based on favourites to promotions based on past purchases and can be used as an engagement channel as well as a commercial channel.

With GenZ expected to make up 40% of consumer markets by 2020, it will only become more crucial to weave this knowledge of the shoppers of the future into your omnichannel strategy today.

Read more about incorporating an app into your omnichannel strategy.

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