What are young adults' views on online shopping?

Here at Webselect Ltd we have been reflecting on the topics picked up in discussions when attending the ecom expo in London last month. 

Amongst other topics, the online shopping expectations of ‘Generation Z’ is a thing, a big thing… Not being part of this generation myself (I’m Gen X - AKA old) I thought we should get the opinion of someone in this age group who works for us…. This is their take:

What and who are Generation Z?

Generation Z are the generation born between 1997 - 2012 (Santora, 2022). This generation will have a significant impact on eCommerce and will form the vast majority of customers online. Our combined purchasing power was more than £130 Billion last year (Santora, 2022).

Gen-Z’s psyche is similar to those of millennials, but we have different expectations when it comes to service and value for money. Unlike past generations, we have grown up alongside social media. For us, sites and apps such as Facebook and Snapchat are not only used to communicate occasionally with friends and family, they are an integral part of our daily lives and provide a means of expression and inspiration - as a result positive customer sentiment is expected to be collected and integrated into a website, but if the content seems too alike it appears that it could not be genuine.

Gen-Z’s are also highly dedicated to ethics, with almost 1:5 saying that they were swayed by brand ethics when making a purchase decision (Djafarova & Foots, 2022). And some companies that are dedicated to scale and profit, fall completely off their radar. When I was working at a well known UK retail store, if there were known issues or problems with a brand, I noticed my peers wouldn't go near the brand, even asking for anything but the brand (Positive avoidance). As a result, developing, honing and communicating brand ethical values will be essential for online success with my generation.. This being said, we are also impatient and expectations on delivery are high, we want delivery of products within 3-12 hours (Jules, 2022). So managing these expectations AND performing ethically is a major contradictory challenge

How do we shop?

Guess what? - We no longer use google as a main source of information but we do use social media first and then check google for confirmation. This is a direct result of wanting to ‘buy’ information from people not brands and the same goes with products, if your product has some good genuine publicity on a social media platform then we, Gen-Z’s will interact more with the product (Djafarova & Foots, 2022). Another change that is happening with marketing as a result of social marketing and social Commerce has led to Gen-Z's attention span dropping from 12 seconds to 1.7 seconds. That's right, if you don't get our attention in 1.7 seconds we will move on (Stefanski). Research has shown the best way to reach out and influence Gen-Z is through affiliate programs using ‘trusted’ Influencers to boost products and trust in a brand, this is supported by the desire to connect to like minded individuals who can give true reviews on products - In my experience this is true, if a company tries to sell you something it's for sales, if someone you like gives you positive feedback it is easier to trust the person.

What interests us when shopping online?

The best way to get a Gen-Zer interested in a product is by giving us information on the product, a demo of its uses - We love a story - why we should invest our time, money and life into the product. This is sometimes more important than the actual price, but still do tell us the price!

When marketing to a Gen-Z, don’t bull*hit us, we are, in the main super smart and aware, the use of ‘buzzwords’ does not work as well as it used to (Kim, 2022), if I was to read - “Our bean juice is the most luxurious bean juice that is made with 100% pure organic beans that have been squeezed into each portion, in a way that will definitely change the way you live your life”,

1. It sounds like every other bean juice on the market .. Boring..

2. Yes, sustainability is good but, it tells me nothing of how your product is better than all the other bean juices, tell me why I should pick your bean juice. We don't like to be sold to, so give me the genuine reason behind a product. And don't lie to Gen-Z’s as we have really good common sense (ok maybe not) but we can pick out lies really quickly, and above all, don’t make claims that you can't back up. If I am interested and do the research behind a product and we have been lied to in any way then we will not buy from you.

We can be loyal

If a Gen-Z buys from you once, more than likely, we will buy from you again - We are often seen as disloyal and having to be coaxed back into a brand by using loyalty programs, but this is not necessarily the case, if we like your company and product then we will most likely come back to you time and time again. If you have a pipeline for your reviews to get onto a social media platform we will want to see as many of the reviews as possible, that is why Amazon's reviews are everywhere. The funny, the good and the bad are always being posted to constantly make people think about their company - A series of authentic reviews can lead to a 82% conversion rate (Brzezicki, 2022).

So what

Earlier I mentioned about old marketing tactics of using buzz words, they can still be used, but the way that they are used should be changed (Kim, 2022). Instead of free use complimentary, instead of Features use Benefits and instead of Objections use Concerns. Trying to sound too corporate is a surefire way to ensure that Gen-Z’s will leave, but by adding an occasional slag / ‘real’ word into the communication can make it sound a bit more relaxed, as a result this can help you connect with us and allow you to present the sales email as a bit more of a conversation.

By throwing a few slang words into the text allows the flow of a sentence to evolve from a simple sentence to a complex but easy to read;

“This is to show how a simple bit of text could be improved to make use of appealing text and keep the same relaxed style of writing so that it will be more appealing to Gen-Z”

“To show how a bit of text could hit different, I decided to make this text a bit longer but still keeping to short words to make sure that the vibe is right so that it will be more appealing to Gen-Z”

The second sentence uses two slang terms - “hit different” and “vibe”;

Hit different - to give a positive reflection of what is happening or being said. So in the text it is used as “To show how a bit of text could get the point across and inspire”.

Vibe - the atmosphere, for the vibe to be good it is relaxed. For a bad vibe or the vibe being off then the atmosphere is more like a riot, chaotic/aggressive.

These two slang terms could also be used at the same time “The vibe hit different”, this would mean that: “The atmosphere was amazing. I want more of that in the world” - good event. Or. “The atmosphere was horrific. I never want to feel that again” - bad event.

If you are ‘OK Boomer’, (look it up) don't worry, talk to someone in the generation you want to reach and get their input on the copy you write - Tone and slang on social channels may and probably should, be different to the tone and vocabulary on your website.