The next wave of consumers, Generation Z, have come of age and primed for the digital era. These savvy shoppers prioritise experiences over products—even with the surge of online shopping.
They don’t know a world without connectivity and WiFi. But even with all the bells and whistles, they’re still all about human interactions. Here’s how to revive the in-store shopping experience for Gen-Z shoppers and how retail WiFi is the answer.
- Who Exactly are Gen-Z and Why Should Retailers be Targeting Them?
- Give Shoppers a Voice
- Personalise The Shopping Experience
- Make Better Informed Data-Driven Decisions
- Provide Reliable, Secure and Enhanced Connectivity
Who are Gen-Z and Why Should Retailers be Targeting Them?
Gen-Z are tech-reliant, they’ve grown up in a world powered by the internet and live with constant connectivity. Despite growing up online, GenZ craves interactive and 'in real life' experiences. Technology enables generation tech to express themselves as individuals and connect with brands and peers through shared values but it’s face-to-face where these connections are nurtured.
This means your approach should always place human-centred design and technology as equal priorities.
Unlike millennials, Gen-Z members don’t know a time without internet and are used to instantly accessing vast amounts of information in a consumable format, right from their back pocket.
But why is this significant for retailers?
Gen-Z has reached the age where they can manage and spend their own money. They have an estimated $143 billion in buying power in their hands and are said to influence nearly $44 billion in discretionary spending worldwide. Gen-Z will soon form the largest generation of consumers so retailers should be working to cater to their needs.
Before the internet really took off, people walked into shops with little to no knowledge about the products on display or the services offered, beyond a well-dressed window. They relied on salespeople to provide advice and help them to make a purchase.
In contrast, today’s shoppers are incredibly well informed. They’re surrounded by social media that’s suggesting products to them and shaping their purchase decisions. They carry smartphones that allow them to instantly access information, such as product reviews and price comparisons, wherever they are.
According to a study by the National Retail Federation and IBM, 98% of Gen-Z shoppers walk into shops and find what they’re looking for by themselves.
This shift in power presents a great opportunity for retailers. This, combined with what you already know about your shoppers, can help you become more intuitive to the whims of your Gen-Z consumers and ensure that you’re there to guide them towards making a purchase.
Give Shoppers a Voice
Opinions carry more weight than ever—especially for Gen-Z shoppers. With the rise of social media, they care about what other people think. A lot.
Gen-Z shoppers are sharing their opinion on products, whether it’s via a product review or a comment on Instagram “Flop Accounts.” They’re surfing YouTube to watch the latest shopping hauls by their favourite vloggers or posting product links to their Whatsapp group chats to get opinions from their friends.
Phone signal is often poor in large retail spaces, in-store WiFi ensures that your shoppers can still remain connected while physically in the shopping centre. Because nearly half of Gen-Z shoppers (47 percent) like to use their smartphones while shopping in-store, access to WiFi also means they can do other tasks, such as researching products, accessing social media and voicing how they feel.
Personalise The Shopping Experience
Gen-Z shoppers have a strong desire for unique shopping experiences—ones that are tailored to their own wants and needs. As we coax shoppers back to shopping centres, it will become all the more important to give them something they relate to.
An IBM survey found that an individualised shopping experience was extremely important to this generation—for example, sending promotional offers based on a Gen-Z shopper’s individual needs and habits.
While online shopping is undoubtedly convenient, it can’t rival the instant gratification or unique opportunity to try out certain products that can only be experienced at stores.
It’s not just about having a personal shopper or advice from a sales assistant. It’s about making the shopping experience truly unique for the Gen-Z shopper. Retail WiFi can be particularly useful here because it can generate helpful analytical data based on the shoppers’ purchasing habits and preferences.
Reinventing store design and retail experience, spaces are being developed that are capable of connecting the dots between the location, visitor, service and products inside.
A range of concepts are being used from ambient and interactive screens, self-service tools, virtual-trial solutions, IoT and facial recognition, adjusting content in real-time from messaging to pricing and payments to well being — all to enhance consumer experience and deliver return-on-investment.
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When shoppers log into a retail centre’s WiFi, you can understand how often users visit, how long they spend in store, which areas they favour and more. This, combined with loyalty programmes integrated from existing businesses, can allow you to recommend tailored promotions to shoppers. Highly targeted ads can entice shoppers to make purchases and as a result, boost their loyalty.
Make Better Informed Data-Driven Decisions
WiFi analytics can also provide real-time data to monitor footfall in the form of heat maps. This can allow you to tailor your retail centre’s layout to fit the shopper’s needs and thinking processes.
For example, if shoppers appear to enter at a particular entrance and congregate around a certain area, you could place vendors in those places—to entice shoppers to make a purchase.
With visibility into the busiest or quietest footfall times, you can pass this data onto your centre’s managers who can then use it to draw up the staff rotas, ensuring that there’s always the right number of team members working to cater to shopper needs.
If shoppers are willing to fill in other information when signing up to WiFi, you could ask for other details about them that help you to remarket to them in the future. This is particularly useful because it means you can see exactly how to entice them back with social marketing strategies, making guesswork a thing of the past.
Provide Reliable, Secure and Enhanced Connectivity
60% of shoppers become frustrated if apps or websites are slow to load. And of course, we already know how important it is for Gen-Z shoppers to be able to access the web while they shop in-store. Compared to the other desires, this one’s quite obvious.
Retail centres can easily improve the shopping experience by providing WiFi. But it’s not just that. A fast, reliable connection is essential as Gen-Z shoppers can easily be discouraged to hang around if they lose access to their constant stream of information.
Slow (or even worse, no) connectivity can lead to a variety of undesirable consequences. For example, shoppers won’t be able to conduct the usual activities on their smartphones and this is especially vital for Gen-Z shoppers as they’re often using their devices while they shop. And if they can’t do their product research, check social media or send instant messages, they can easily be driven to other locations where they know they can get better WiFi signal.
Poor WiFi can also hinder you from understanding your shoppers in more depth. For instance, you may struggle to get extensive data, such as their purchasing habits and real-time data on their activities, which could help you tailor your shops to match shopper preferences.
This can also hinder any advertising opportunities. If you don’t know what your shoppers like to do, where they like to meet and how they like to shop, it’s harder to present them with targeted ads that are more likely to turn into a conversion.
COVID-19 has sped up the need for retailers to create online experiences that fit their needs, while determining the right place in their footprint for physical stores as the pandemic evolves.
Retail WiFi Can Help Bridge the Gap Between In-Store and Online Shopping With a Free, Exclusive Demo
2020 was the beginning of a new normal in retail and 2021 has so presented its own challenges. The products and shopping channels consumers obsess over might change, but what has never changed is the importance of business agility and flexibility for customers.
Retail WiFi can help bridge that gap. You can use WiFi analytics to direct customers to promotions for products that they’re likely to be interested in, driving them to a specific part of the store. And customers can take advantage of the fast, reliable connection to surf the web while they’re physically in a store, encouraging dwell time.
These capabilities allow a customer to become more engaged with your brand and make it more likely that they’ll purchase something. Interest and engagement can be transferred smoothly from online to offline, or vice versa, making for a more seamless, pleasant in-store shopping experience overall. For more information about how you can improve the in-store shopping experience, get access to your free, exclusive demo below.