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An open letter to retailers from a Gen Zer

Dear Retailers,

Being born into a digital-centric world, I spend so much of my day-to-day life online, whether I'm scrolling through social media, working on my Mac or watching Netflix. So it’s not surprising that when it comes to shopping, I’m often excited to log off and head in-store. Years ago, in-store retail was a boring maze of racks, store layouts weren’t fun enough to engage me, and the lack of online reviews made me want to give up all together. And when it came to online shopping, I found the experience frustrating and impersonal. On the whole, shopping was time consuming, disconnected and an expensive hobby.

Fast forward to 2018, and things have drastically improved (although there’s still work to be done). I love to shop in-store, but being able to browse and shop online is still important. I expect retailers to embrace technology in the way that I do and make my experience as positive and rewarding as possible. So here’s some tips, with love from me to you, in winning my generation over:

There’s nothing better than being immersed in an in-store retail experience.

Take Oxford Street for example, a bustling row of shops that are all competing for my undivided attention and custom. Whether it’s Topshop’s live DJs drawing me in by playing my favourite music, or 'Instagrammable' environments like Selfridges’ creative window displays, I enjoy the in-store experience.

Retailers that blend a physical and digital approach in store are also winning the Gen Z game. Zara’s innovative self-service tills take the hassle of queuing away and put me in control of my entire shopping experience, all the way to checking items out by myself. In addition, their recent augmented reality (AR) displays across 120 flagship stores, where I can view products, purchase items and even dress virtual models from head to toe, make my experience memorable and one I want to shout about. 

My generation is labelled as finicky, but, I'll be loyal for life If you reward me with great experiences.

There are some fundamentals that make us similar to other generations. If I have a positive experience with your brand, I’m going to tell people about it. The difference? I have a short attention span (8 seconds), so I’m more likely to hang up on you if you don’t answer my call quickly enough and I’m even more likely to go to your competitors if you don’t have what I’m looking for. But... if you make me feel like a VIP and provide me with value for money spent,  I’ll be your very own brand ambassador - I’ll share your brand with my friends via my plethora of social channels, without you even asking me to, I can do your marketing for you!

Download our report, Gen Z: Decoding the Digital Generation, and see why you  can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to marketing to Gen Zs.

I trust friend and family recommendations.

Listening to my friends and family means minimal effort in finding new things to wear, new places to eat, or new ways to travel, as I already know it’ll be worthwhile. In fact, 7 in 10 of my generation is more likely to buy a product if a friend endorses it. Once the recommendation is out, I’m all ears but then it’s over to your brand to give me a great experience that I’m going to keep coming back for.

The bottom line is that in order to sell me on your brand, it needs to be accessible, convenient, engaging and available to me immediately.

My generation is lucky, there’s no question about it. We’ve grown up with technology that’s enhanced the way we communicate, shop and travel. Brands are beginning to realise that our opinions matter, and so they should, let’s not forget that by 2020, we’ll be the largest group of consumers worldwide. So, the bottom line is that we want brands and their products to be accessible to us, we want you to engage us in ways that we can share with our friends and above all, we want to feel valued.  

Am I a Gen Z student? No, but I am still a Gen Zer, just a year out of university and much hasn’t changed in that time. So, here I am. A real, live Gen Zer sitting here trying to get your attention. I may be a case study of one but I represent millions of us. 



Poppy Whittaker
Poppy Whittaker
Poppy is a Gen Z Specialist at UNiDAYS. When she isn’t finding the best brands to bring to Gen Z, you’ll find her teaching Les Mills classes, hitting the shops to source the latest trends, and exploring the London foodie scene.
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