Some may expect members of Gen Z to have no interest in physical stores because they grew up in a digital age, but there's evidence to suggest that they enjoy shopping in brick-and-mortar stores and malls, and, in some cases, may even prefer it to online shopping.
Although Gen Zers may lose some of their affinity for physical stores as they gain responsibilities and lose free time, retailers can likely entice these consumers to continue shopping in-store by leveraging their interest in retail innovations, according to a study from RIS and Tata Consulting Services.
Gen Z is more likely to use retail innovations than the average shopper. Gen Z reported being more likely to use every retail service listed in the study when compared with the full population of shoppers. The young generation is most likely to take advantage of smartphone self-checkout, interactive shoppable screens, and virtual try-on for apparel, as these hands-on digital shopping experiences are a match for Gen Z’s digital expertise. Consumers are more likely to shop with a retailer if the experience meets their desires, so retailers should look to implement these technologies to keep Gen Z interested.
They're also more likely to use their smartphones for shopping when compared with the full population of shoppers. Gen Zers spend a ton of their free time on their phones, so it's not surprising that they utilize their devices in-store more than anyone else.
They use smartphones to shop by comparing prices, ordering online while in-store, looking up product reviews, and more. Gen Zers are probably always going to use their smartphones in-store, so retailers should try to work the technology into their shopping experiences. Retailers can introduce apps that facilitate Gen Z's smartphone shopping habits, or provide them with added value through augmented reality (AR), for example.
Retailers should implement new technologies that appeal to Gen Zers to keep them coming back for years to come. Gen Z will eventually be the dominant generation of consumers.
If retailers mold the shopping experience to meet Gen Z's interests and needs now, then they'll hopefully entice these consumers to keep visiting physical stores in the future. Retailers must be careful not to wait, as e-commerce is only growing stronger, and they risk falling behind other retailers that do act.
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