Did you know there are approximately 67 million people in the U.S. who were born between 1997-2012? This group, known as Gen Z, makes up approximately 20% of the total U.S. population. They also represent a buying power of $44 billion, and influence an additional $600 billion of family spending. It’s no wonder why this demographic is becoming a priority target for retailers.
For retailers to successfully reach this audience, however, they must first understand the behaviors and attitudes of Gen Z buyers. They must also learn how to establish a post-purchase experience that drives loyalty. After all, the customer relationship extends past the point of sale, making it a crucial part of winning lasting loyalty with Gen Z.
Understand What Gen Z Values
According to the IBM Institute for Business Value and the National Retail Federation (NRF), Gen Z consumers place great importance on dependable and consistent experiences when it comes to their retail purchases. They also highly value quality, with 66% of respondents saying that is the most important attribute when shopping with a retailer.
Additionally, McKinsey says that “Gen Zers, with vast amounts of information at their disposal, are more pragmatic and analytical about their decisions than members of previous generations were.” In fact, 65% of Gen Zers particularly value what is going on around them and being in control. As well, they are more pragmatic and realistic, evaluating a broad range of information before they buy. These priorities influence the way this generation interacts with their favorite brands.
Establish Complete Product Lifecycle Experiences
In response to these findings, retailers and brands must stay attuned on how to best create relationships with this demographic at every stage of the shopping journey, including the post-purchase experience. Gen Z consumer expectations for trustworthy and reliable products create the perfect opportunity for businesses to build lasting relationships that go beyond checkout.
As a result, retailers and brands must establish product lifecycle programs — or microservices provided at every stage of the ownership journey — that cater to consumers’ preferences and attitudes. A few ways to ensure a smooth, delightful post-purchase experience are single-step product registration, the option to purchase extended product warranties and speedy claims management.
Single-Step Product Registration
Once a product is registered and with the consent of the owner, marketers can then use the information that consumers provide to offer several benefits, including exclusive and authentic brand experiences that cater to the consumer’s personal preferences and tastes. They can also send customized information that tells them more about the product they bought, such as different usages and tutorials, to appeal to the generation’s evaluative mindset. In addition, it’s a great way to keep Gen Z consumers engaged and directly interacting with the brand.
Extended Product Warranties
Extended product warranty, or ESC (Extended Service Contract), is the term used to describe additional coverage that goes beyond a standard or manufacturer’s limited warranty. This type of product protection plan offers shoppers additional peace of mind should something go wrong outside of the limited warranty. Extended warranties protect against product failures and often include protection against accidental damage. This option is becoming more and more popular for high-value goods such as electronics, connected fitness devices, jewelry, appliances and more.
Of course, extended product warranties only work if consumers trust that the service provider will honor the agreement. They are also most likely to purchase product coverage if they believe the product may fail or the item is of importance to them. Since Gen Z consumers value quality, they’re more likely than their Baby Boomer counterparts to show an interest in protection plans. By offering extended product warranties, retailers and brands can ensure they’re satisfying Gen Z’s desire for dependable products that last while delivering an unbeatable experience that increases satisfaction and loyalty.
Speedy Claims Management
Whenever an issue arises with a customer purchase, it’s important that retailers and brands have a process in place to wow them with simplicity and ease while addressing the issue at hand. This requires a speedy and unified support experience to build positive customer relationships. It’s also important to offer flexibility in how customers receive support, whether it be via phone, app or website. Product owners should also be able to interact with customer service through text or chat for an immediate response.
Foster Strong Relationships with Gen Z Consumers
Attracting Gen Z requires a focus on these consumers’ unique characteristics and what they prioritize as imperative when shopping. This segment’s attention to authentic and reliable products sheds light on the importance of creating delightful post-purchase experiences.
By staying attuned to Gen Z’s core values and attitudes, businesses can rethink how they deliver value to their target audience. Additionally, retailers and brands will be able to effectively build lasting loyalty with Gen Z customers through end-to-end product lifecycle programs. Equipped with the right strategy, merchants can make it easier than ever to drive customer loyalty and retention rates, creating longer relationships with customers whose purchasing power is only continuing to grow.
Brandon Gell is the CEO and Co-founder of Clyde, a product lifecycle platform that helps merchants maximize the longevity of their customer relationships and enables customers to unlock the full value of the products they buy. The idea was born out of Gell’s own frustrating experience in attempting to offer customers extended warranties directly during his time at a 3D scanner manufacturer. Gell was a Venture for America fellow, where he focused on design and management, and holds a BA in Architecture from Middlebury College.