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This holiday season, buy-online-pick-up-in-store (BOPIS) and meeting Zs where they are will be even more important as people try to social distance while getting their holiday shopping done. Here are four ways to get them to shop with your brand.
Around this time this past year, we wrote about the importance of offering Gen Z customers an omnichannel experience—the freedom to shop in more than one way. Back then, Zers were ‘still in the early stages of adopting buy online, pick-up in store (BOPIS),’ with instant gratification being the motivating factor. Zers said ideally, they wanted their purchases within a few hours.
And now, at the tail end of 2020, as we cycle through various phases of closures and lockdowns, BOPIS has become a retail given. Just like restaurants who had no drive-thru or delivery in place in April 2020, retailers also found themselves scrambling to create or strengthen online channels. For those with the ability to offer curbside service, BOPIS and click and collect, they were ahead of the game. And good for them. According to ROI Revolution, BOPIS surged 259% YoY in August 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. This equates to a 59% month-over-month increase in August compared to July.
A Salesforce study showed that 62 percent of consumers of all ages are doing less in-store shopping as a result of the pandemic. Not surprisingly, almost three-quarters of digitally native millennials and Gen Zs expect this behavior to continue.
UNiDAYS queried the three million students who use the UNiDAYS app to find out how they plan to shop this holiday season. 65% said they most definitely are planning on shopping last minute. And 50% said they would rely on BOPIS to get their goods. And an encouraging 60% of Zers said even if they did use BOPIS, they would still go inside and browse after they retrieved their item.
Covid. "This is obvious, I don’t feel comfortable going inside stores any more than I absolutely have to."
Mascne. "The less time I have to wear my face mask and get more mascne, the better."
Delayed gifts. "Much respect to the Post Office, but I know they are being pushed to the limit and packages are getting delayed. I worry that if I order my gifts online and have them shipped, they may not arrive in time." (When asked if they were worried about their gifts arriving on time, 41% of Z respondents said yes, they wished shipping were more reliable.)
Comfort. "If I don’t have to go inside the store, I can stay in my pajamas."
Save money. "BOPIS saves me money on shipping, especially if it’s a small order that doesn’t meet minimum shipping requirements. Also, when I don’t go inside the store, I don’t buy things I don’t need."
While offering an omnichannel experience is key, and really, table stakes at this point, brands need to think beyond just BOPIS and curbside pickup. Z holiday shoppers will likely conduct much of their shopping online, especially on their mobile device. As they do, they’ll be keeping their eye out for ease, convenience and special deals or benefits.
A recent holiday retail report by Klarna revealed that price, discounts, and free shipping are the most important factors when shopping this season. In UNiDAYS survey about Gen Z’s shopping habits before and during Covid, 45% of Zers responded that discounts are the most important consideration for online shopping (39% are looking for free shipping) this year.
Besides deals and discounts, special benefits also resonate with Gen Z. Girlfriend Collective, a brand Gen Z loves, is known for their generous refer-a-friend program which gives shoppers a free pair of leggings for every friend that spends $995 or more using their personal referral link.
Meeting consumers where they are or, the more sexier term, ‘conversational commerce,’ is another avenue that brands should consider. Engaging with Gen Z where they are means meeting them on their mobile. After all, it’s where they communicate, socialize and shop. For example, a Zer encounters your brand on IG and for providing their email, they’re served up an offer for a 10% discount. When they ‘subscribe,’ they’re then given the choice to get an additional 15% discount off if they provide their phone number and opt in to receive texts. This approach offers another way to stay top of mind with Zers as your brand can communicate offers, updates on product restocks or new releases.
Speaking of new releases, for Gen Z, there’s not much hotter than a brand or artist collab. According to a trend report by Frost and Sullivan, Gen Z is more likely to shop brand collaborations—about two thirds compared to half of consumers overall. Luxury and streetwear collabs that offer items at attainable price points appeal to Gen Z consumers’ need for exclusivity.
Equally enticing for Gen Z are exclusive product drops, particularly special-edition ones. Without the opportunity to host a buzzy in-store event this year, harnessing online social channels to promote a limited-edition, holiday product drop is an excellent omni-channel experience and a way to get Zs attention and participation.
In the always-on cycle of distressing news, messaging is more important than ever. In the absence of cozy in-store displays, retailers can still be cheerful and lift spirits—online. For example, Starbucks has an interactive holiday contest running through early January. Integrated with their rewards program, consumers can ‘shake the snowglobe’ to compete for prizes, including the chance to win Starbucks for life.
The holiday season will look quite different this year. But it’s still a time to connect with Gen Z shoppers and one another, this year more than ever.
Gen Z shopping habits are evolving rapidly, especially in the face of a global crisis. Is your brand keeping up? The UNiDAYS platform can help by showcasing your brand to Gen Z shoppers who want to stay connected to brands online. Just create an account, set up your brand page, and add your holiday deals to attract and engage new Gen Z customers.
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