Doing Business with Generation Z
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Have you met the Zoomers yet? Generation Z, or Zoomers, are the new generation entering the business world. As the grandchildren of Baby Boomers, Gen Z is a true generation of digital natives. Zoomers are fluent in Instagram, Zoom, TikTok, and WhatsApp.
Born 1997 to 2012, Zoomers are more financially savvy and entrepreneurial than previous generations.
They’re siding hustlers, using gig economy apps to take surveys, walk dogs, deliver food, sell screen print T-shirts, create custom logos, and more.
Zoomers have got lots of drive and know-how – and an iPhone-shaped world in the palm of their hands.
Out to woo Gen Z customers or workers? Here are 8 important things to know about doing business with Generation Z.
1. Offer stellar online and offline options.
In consumer surveys, Gen Z respondents state they want more choices online and in stores. Even though they’re digital natives, they still enjoy the quality in-store experience. For certain items or for certain occasions, brick and mortar are even preferred.
Gen Z wants choices. They expect a wide range of colors, textures, design styles, and options. They’re willing to pay more for something that’s specialized or customized, too.
2. Give customizable experiences.
Piggybacking off of Gen Z’s desire for more choices, Gen Z wants to get personal.
They’ve grown up with Spoonflower, Zazzle, and Etsy. Gen Z loves is artistic and they love individualized options. They’ve grown up with personalized, DIY options for everything, from dog food to tennis shoes to stickers and T-shirts.
Gen Z is also used to personalized preview features for furniture, artwork, health and beauty, and a wide range of purchases. They want to see what something will look like on them or in their homes before they buy.
3. Emphasize health and wellness.
Gen X values spending their money on status and Millennials are all about travel and experiences.
Generation Z? They’re interested in spending money on health and wellness. They’ve come of age during an explosion of wellness and self-care: think popular kombucha drinks, Beyond Body, or $125 yoga pants.
4. But emphasize value above all.
Generation Z will pay a premium for goods they deem “worth it”. But they’re frugal too. Generation Z has also grown up during the Great Recession. They’ve watched their parents struggle, and this has had a sobering impact on how Generation Z views money and spending.
Gen Z has had financial literacy drilled into them at school K-12. They use budgeting and investment apps and are big into crypto and ways to grow their wealth.
So money-savvy Zoomers are leery of taking on debt or paying high credit card interest. They will invest in products and services that will improve their lives.
You can woo new Gen Zers with cashback rebates, bonuses for downloading your app or signing up for your newsletter, or offering them other deals.
Generation Z is frugal, but not cheap. They’re open to ‘investing’ in spendy niche labels or buying secondhand through used goods apps and BST groups. It’s all about value.
5. Offer easy ways to recycle and repurpose goods.
Generation Z loves reclaimed goods – supporting businesses that offer them and purchasing these items for themselves.
Gen Z and other consumers are buying garments, rugs, furniture, and other goods made from recycled materials in big droves. It’s not just paper, wood, and fabric waste, but also old plastic bottles and non-earth-friendly materials.
It’s also a way to emphasize excellence. Brands like Alice & Ames, Tea Collection, and Polarn O. Pyret advertise they produce heirloom quality goods that are made to be recycled or handed down to other generations. When you re-sell their brands’ clothing on used clothing apps like ThredUp or Kidizen, they’ll offer you a discount on your next new purchase on their website.
Many brands will consign their old items too. They’ll buy back their customers’ old items and resell them as “vintage ” in their stores or online.
Whether it’s on Amazon or your own boutique, make sure you’re offering sustainable, earth-friendly options.
6. Offer low-interesting financing options.
Although Generation Z is frugal with money and avoids credit card and student loan debt, Generation Z is embracing various payment services that let you pay for a purchase in a few incremental payments.
Payment services like Afterpay, Klarna, and Sezzle are popular with Generation Z and only gaining more traction.
7. Be gender inclusive.
With newsletter signups, web forms, or delivery sheets, be gender inclusive. Add an “other” option, so choices are not limited to “male” vs “female”, or “Mr” or “Ms”.
Maybe the idea of claiming pronouns and cisgender identity makes you roll your eyes or shake your head. Or, maybe you’re all on board.
The point is this is a big issue for Generation Z, most think of gender as something non-binary. They believe it’s appropriate to identify others by their preferred gender pronouns, and for you to identify your own preferred pronouns too.
For clothing brands, this may mean not assigning gender to your garments. Brands like Primary are labeling all of their clothing gender-neutral for kids or for adults. Gap, H&M, and other brands are offering androgynous looks in unisex collections.
8. Show your progressive values.
Progressive values, like Black Lives Matter, resonate with Gen Z. Values that may seem progressive are more mainstream for the Zoomer crowd.
In generations past, most businesses and workplaces did not make open comments on their personal values and beliefs. Now, however, stating open support for causes is a way to win over Gen Z consumers and workers. In particular when it comes to causes related to the environment, racial justice, shopping local, and LGBTQ rights.
Zoomers want to know what the business’ beliefs are and expect them to mirror their own. If your values skew more conservative, lean into areas where your beliefs overlap like supporting a local children’s group.
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