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Ways that Gen Z Shoppers Are Impacting Retail

Gen Z’s impact can be felt in the retail industry, but how exactly? Read this blog to find out how Gen Z shoppers are impacting retailers!

Every day, Gen Z is proving to be quite a unique and commanding audience and target market. In the retail landscape, most especially, Gen Z’s impact is felt across various fields. They’re not an unstable or unprofitable market. In fact, they’re capable of changing the retail industry and driving it towards new developments. So how exactly are Gen Z shoppers influencing the robust retail industry?

Why is Gen Z important to retailers?

While Gen Z shoppers are known to be unique, cautious, social, and unpredictable, they make quite an impact in the retail industry. To ignore them or not cater to their interests and shopping habits would be a big mistake.


Here are a few reasons why Gen Z shoppers should be important to retailers:


  1. Size of the Generation: Gen Z, born between the mid-1990s and the early 2010s, is a massive generation, even larger than the Millennials. Their sheer numbers make them a significant consumer demographic.
  2. Buying Power: Though many are still in their teenage years or early twenties, Gen Z already has significant purchasing power. Common misconceptions about Gen Z are that they are too young and, therefore, may not be a huge market. Those are simply not true. According to the BBC, Gen Z in the United States alone has a spending power of about 360 billion dollars. They influence family spending and have their own disposable income. This will only increase as they grow into adulthood.
  3. Digital Natives: Gen Z is known as the first generation to grow up entirely in the digital age. They grew up knowing and using the power of the internet and various new technologies. They are highly tech-savvy and connected, which makes online and mobile shopping a natural part of their consumer behavior. In fact, according to EMARKETER, TikTok and Instagram are some of Gen Z shoppers’ favorite social media platforms for shopping discovery.
  4. Preference for Authenticity and Ethical Practices: Gen Z values authenticity and ethical practices in brands. They are more likely to support businesses that align with their values, such as sustainability, diversity, gender equality and LGBTQ+ rights, as well as social responsibility.
  5. Influence on Trends: Gen Z as a whole has a significant influence on consumer trends, particularly in fashion, technology, and entertainment. Their preferences shape the market landscape and can make or break products and brands. Retailers need to pay attention to the Gen Z impact to keep up with certain trends, not only to enhance their product offerings and services but also to develop successful marketing strategies.
  6. Brand Loyalty and Advocacy: Despite their reputation for being fickle, Gen Z can be remarkably loyal to brands that resonate with them. Brands or retailers that regularly engage with customers and deliver on their promises find success in this huge market. Building a strong brand connection early on can lead to long-term customer relationships.


Overall, Gen Z represents a lucrative market opportunity for retailers. The more these retailers understand the preferences, values, and behaviors of Gen Z shoppers, the more they can engage with them and leverage strong relationships for retail success.

What does Gen Z look for when shopping?

Social media, influencer marketing, and digital innovations are significant factors when it comes to Gen Z shoppers. However, Gen Z still looks for other specific elements or characteristics from brands and the retail experience as a whole.


Here are a few things that Gen Z looks for when shopping, whether it be online or in physical stores:


  1. Authenticity: Gen Z shoppers value authenticity in brands. They seek genuine connections and transparent communication from companies. They are most likely drawn to brands that are authentic in their messaging, products, values, and actions.
  2. Sustainability Efforts and Practices: Gen Z is environmentally conscious. Among the different generations, Gen Z is one of the most likely to consider eco-friendly and sustainable products or services. This means Gen Z shoppers will look for sustainable and ethical practices in the brands they support. They prefer and are willing to pay more for, products that are eco-friendly, cruelty-free, and ethically sourced.
  3. Inclusivity and Diversity: Gen Z values inclusivity and diversity. They expect brands to embrace diversity in their marketing campaigns, product offerings, customer services, and even corporate culture. They are more likely to support brands that promote inclusivity and representation.
  4. Digital Experience: As digital natives, Gen Z expects a seamless and engaging online shopping experience. They prefer mobile-friendly websites and apps, fast-loading pages, easy navigation, and personalized recommendations from a brand or retailer’s websites.
  5. Value for Money: While price is important to Gen Z, they also look for value beyond just the cost. They want products that offer quality, durability, and functionality at a reasonable price point. They are willing to spend more on products that they perceive as valuable, high quality, and worth the investment.
  6. Convenience: Gen Z shoppers value convenience and efficiency in their shopping experience. They prefer fast shipping options, hassle-free returns, and multiple payment methods, as well as modern technologies or features when shopping in person. They also appreciate features like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS), and same-day delivery options.
  7. Engaging Experiences: Gen Z seeks engaging and immersive shopping experiences both online and offline. They enjoy interactive content, AR/VR experiences, live-streaming events, and pop-up shops. They are more likely to remember and return to brands that provide memorable experiences for them as customers.

How does Gen Z impact retail?

It’s apparent that Gen Z shoppers are driving significant changes in the retail landscape. With their buying power, their immense size, and their influence on trending and social topics, Gen Z is a powerful driver of 


Here are some of the significant ways Gen Z shoppers are impacting retail in the modern world:


Digital Transformation

Gen Z's preference for online and mobile shopping has accelerated the digital transformation of the retail industry. According to the ICSC, 30% of Gen Z shop online for convenience, and 20% do so for better prices and deals. Because of this, retailers are investing in e-commerce platforms, mobile apps, and digital solutions to cater to this demographic's preferences.


Innovation and Technology Adoption

Gen Z's tech-savvy nature drives retailers to innovate and adopt new technologies to enhance the shopping experience. This includes implementing features like augmented reality (AR), chatbots for customer service, personalized recommendations powered by artificial intelligence (AI), and even digital labels or electronic shelf labels (ESL).


For example, SOLUM ESL digital labels are a great stepping stone of innovation and technology adoption among retailers nowadays. This is because, with their technology, they’re an efficient way to increase sustainability efforts, apply automation or AI in retail, and jump into modernization initiatives overall. SOLUM ESL digital labels replace traditional paper labels and automate workflows with features like 10x faster update speed, 7-page capacity, 7-color LED indicator, multifunctional buttons, near-field communication (NFC) capability, and more.


The Rise of Omnichannel Retailing

Omnichannel retailing blends online and offline channels and touchpoints, which makes retail experiences more seamless for a lot of customers, particularly Gen Z shoppers. This urges retailers to find other solutions, such as digital labels, to facilitate omnichannel retailing for their audience. Digital labels on omnichannel retail can be beneficial to various retail stores with physical locations. Solutions like SOLUM ESL can be integrated into inventory management systems and sync both physical and online inventories. This contributes not only to the convenience of shoppers but to the actual staff as well.


Shift in Marketing Strategies

Retailers are adjusting their marketing strategies to appeal to Gen Z's values and interests. This includes focusing on authenticity, sustainability, diversity, and social responsibility in their branding and messaging.


This also includes leveraging social media marketing on platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, as more and more Gen Z shoppers rely on discovering new products and new brands on social media.


Demand for Sustainable and Ethical Products

Gen Z's concern for the environment and social issues is influencing retailers to offer more sustainable and ethically sourced products. Retailers are increasingly adopting eco-friendly practices, reducing waste, and even partnering with ethical suppliers to meet this demand. In fact, in 2023, 59% of companies started using more sustainable materials. 59% also increased their energy efficiency efforts. This shows that businesses are committing to sustainability, not just to attract potential customers but also to reduce expenses and help the environment.


Creating Better Customer Experiences

Gen Z's preference for experiences over material possessions is also starting to reshape retail. Retailers are creating experiential stores, pop-up shops, digital solutions in physical stores, and immersive online experiences. All of these can be used to engage with Gen Z consumers beyond traditional retail transactions, and urge them to support specific retailers.


Keeping Up with Product Trends

Gen Z's influence on product trends is significant and cannot be ignored, particularly in retail fields like fashion, beauty, and technology. Retailers are implementing various strategies to stay ahead of Gen Z's preferences. With this, they can adapt their product offerings and services accordingly to remain relevant in the market.


It’s safe to say that Gen Z shoppers give way to a multitude of opportunities for retail businesses that want to grow. They are pushing retailers to innovate, adapt, and evolve. At the end of the day, capturing the attention and loyalty of Gen Z shoppers is essential for businesses to thrive in the modern marketplace.


Cater to Gen Z’s shopping preferences with digital label solutions now! Talk to SOLUM experts to learn how you can leverage SOLUM ESL in your retail store!

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