How to Market Your Online Store to Gen Z Shoppers

Itzel Fonseca

8 mins read

With a spending power amounting to over $143 billion, there’s no doubt that Gen Z is now a significant consumer force to reckon with. This is especially true for online retailers who are looking to tap into this market and target younger shoppers.

However, just like any other generation, Gen Z has their own unique set of preferences and behaviors when it comes to shopping. This is why it’s important for sellers to understand what makes them tick and what they’re looking for in an online shopping experience.

To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of 10 things you should know about this young generation of shoppers and some tips on how you can market your online store to them effectively.

Who Exactly Are Gen Zs?

According to Pew Research Center, Gen Zs or Gen Zers are those born between 1997 and 2012. This means that the oldest members of this generation are now 25 years old while the youngest are just 10.

While Gen Z is still considered young, they’re actually a very diverse group in terms of their cultural and economic backgrounds. In fact, studies show that they are, so far, the most diverse generation when it comes to race and ethnicity, with 48% of them belonging to a minority group.

What’s more, Gen Z is also growing up in a time of constant change and upheaval. They’re the first generation to be raised entirely in the digital age and they’ve witnessed some of the most significant events in recent history including, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic.

These factors among others have shaped Gen Z into a generation that’s truly unique in many ways. And we’ll discuss some of these unique traits in more detail below.

Getting To Know Gen Z

Without further ado, here are 10 things you should know about the Gen Z consumers:

They Are Engaged and Active Shoppers

Path to Purchase Institute‘s survey on Gen Z shopping habits reveal that members of this generation are actively involved in the decision-making and purchase process. In fact, while 57% of the participants live with their parents, a significant majority (72%) say that they shop for household items including food or groceries. Meanwhile, 47% are active buyers of personal care products and 44% say they frequently shop for non-household ones.

They Frequent Social Media

Statistics show that about 93% of the generation own accounts on today’s most popular social media platforms. And with 68 million Gen Zs in the US alone, that’s a whole lot of potential customers you could reach out to on these apps and sites.

What’s more, social media is also where they get most of their information and inspiration when it comes to shopping. In fact, National Retail Federation’s (NRF) survey shows that 72% of college students from this generation say that they are more likely to purchase items from accounts or brands they follow on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

They Shop on Their Phones

When shopping for products online, 75% of Gen Zers say they prefer to do so using their smartphones. This isn’t surprising at all given the convenience and accessibility that mobile devices offer.

This is also one of the reasons why it’s becoming a must for online stores to have mobile-friendly versions of their apps or websites. If you don’t have one yet, now would be a good time to invest in one.

They’re Skeptical

Because this generation is raised in the digital age where thousands of ads and marketing messages are bombarding them on a daily basis, it’s no wonder that they’re quite skeptical of brands and businesses in general.

What this means for you is that you’ll need to work a little harder to gain their trust. A good way to do this is by ensuring that your online store is secure and that your privacy policy is easily accessible. You should also avoid using too much marketing jargon in your copy and instead opt for a more natural and authentic tone.

They Are Socially Conscious

Issues like climate change, social injustice, and gender equality are important to the Gen Zs. And because of that, they’re more likely to support businesses and brands that share their values and advocacies.

In fact, 73% of them would be willing to spend an additional 10% on sustainable items. Some other issues and causes that are important to them include mental health, racial equality, animal welfare, the acceptance of LGBTQ+, and public safety.

Humor is Part of Their Language

Every week, about 55% of internet users aged 13 to 35 send or share memes to their friends. This is why memejacking or the act of integrating popular memes into your marketing strategy has become quite a thing among businesses and brands targeting the Gen Zs.

Not only is it a great way to connect with them on a more personal level, but it’s also an effective way to get your message across and make your brand more relatable.

They Value Diversity and Inclusivity

As mentioned earlier, a significant portion of the group is made up of those who belong to racial and ethnic minorities. Furthermore, issues like LGBTQ+ acceptance and gender equality are important to them.

This shows that diversity and inclusivity are two values that are important to the Gen Zs. And businesses and brands that embrace and stand for these values are more likely to win their support—whether in the form of loyalty or social media following.

They Prefer User-Generated Content Over Traditional Advertising

As discussed in one of the previous points as well, the Gen Zs are quite skeptical of brands and businesses. Because of this, they’re more likely to trust their peers or actual customers when it comes to product recommendations.

This is why user-generated content (UGC) has become such an effective marketing tool, especially when targeting the Gen Zs. UGC is basically any form of content—be it a photo, video, review, or even just a social media post created and published by an ordinary person or customer.

Compared to the older generations, Gen Zers are more likely to view such content before making a decision on whether or not to purchase a product, with 91% of them seeking UGC type of posts on a regular basis.

They Appreciate Personalized Service

About 73% of this generation believe that businesses should offer personalized service and experiences. This makes data and analytics much more important, especially for businesses that are targeting the Gen Zs.

Through data and analytics, businesses can gather information about their unique preferences, needs, and behaviors. This, in turn, allows them to tailor their marketing campaigns and strategies to better appeal to the young audience and boost their conversions.

Sales and Promos Entice Them To Shop

The Path to Purchase Institute survey also shows that special promotions are the most influential factor among other retailer actions for the Gen Zs. In fact, 55% of them say that sales are “very impactful” when it comes to their online purchasing decisions.

They Would Boycott Brands for Their Values

You’ve probably seen different artists and even brands get #canceled over the past few years. And while it’s not a new concept, the term has become more popular among the Gen Zs—especially when it comes to brands and businesses.

Because this generation cares so much about different social issues, they are also vigilant when it comes to the brands they support. In fact, around 23% have boycotted a particular brand or business because its practices or values go against their own.

This is why it’s so important for businesses to keep their advocacies and actions in check. Otherwise, they run the risk of losing the support of the Gen Zs—which could have a significant impact on their bottom line.

7 Tips for Marketing Your Online Store to Gen Zers

Alright, that’s quite a lot of information to take in. But don’t worry, before you even completely digest everything, we’ve got some tips that can help you get started on marketing your online store to the Gen Zs!

Make User Experience a Priority

Given that your shoppers’ entire customer journey will take place online, it’s important to make sure that their experience is as smooth and seamless as possible. This means having a well-designed website that’s easy to navigate, providing clear and concise product information, and intuitive search and filter functions.

Additionally, your website should also be mobile-friendly since the vast majority of Gen Zers are using their smartphones when browsing online. As long as your website is responsive and loads quickly on mobile devices, you’re on the right track.

Finally, your checkout process should be as straightforward as possible. The last thing you want is for your shoppers to abandon their carts because the checkout process is too complicated or takes too long.

Develop a Community

Whatever specific niche your online store belongs to, building a community around it can do wonders for your business. This is especially the case for the Gen Zs, who are known for their love of all things social media.

By developing a community, you’re essentially creating a group of loyal customers and brand advocates who can help promote your business to their own networks. Additionally, a strong community can also provide valuable feedback that can help you continuously level up your products and services.

Use Influencers To Spread the Word

As mentioned earlier, UGCs or user-generated content is highly influential for the Gen Zs. And what better way to generate UGC than by working with social media influencers?

There are a lot of advantages to working with influencers. For one, they already have an engaged audience that you can tap into. Additionally, their content is usually more relatable and trustworthy, which can further increase your chances of conversion.

Of course, you’ll need to carefully select the influencers you work with. Make sure that they’re a good fit for your brand and that their values align with your own.

Create Unique Shopping Experiences

Whether it’s through virtual try-ons, interactive content, or personalized recommendations, the Gen Zs love unique and innovative shopping experiences. If you can find a way to stand out from the competition and give your shoppers something new, you’re more likely to capture their attention—and eventually, their business.

One way to do this is by offering exclusive deals and promotions to your email subscribers. This will not only pique their interest but also give them a reason to keep coming back for more.

Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one strategy. Keep experimenting with different ideas and see what works best for your business!

Talk Their Language, But Don’t Overdo It

The language of Gen Zers evolve almost everyday with new acronyms and slangs being created regularly. Not to mention, the memes and GIFs they use to communicate with each other. While it might be tempting to jump on every new trend, that’s not always the best approach.

Instead, try to find a happy medium by using language that’s relatable but not too try-hard. After all, you still want to come across as genuine and authentic. For example, if you find a certain meme or trend that you can organically incorporate into your marketing strategy, go for it! Just make sure that you’re not overdoing it or using it in a way that’s not relevant to your brand.

You can also consider hiring a Gen Z copywriter to help you create more relatable and on-brand content.

Be Sensitive and Inclusive

Whether it’s through your marketing campaigns or the products you sell, it’s important to be sensitive and inclusive when catering to the Gen Zs. Keep in mind that this is a generation that’s highly diverse, with members belonging to different races, cultures, and genders.

Oftentimes, the best way to show your sensitivity and inclusion is by simply listening to your customers. See what they have to say about your brand and what you can do to further improve their experience.

Keep It Real

As you follow these tips on how to market your online store to Gen Z shoppers, always keep in mind the importance of authenticity. This generation can easily smell BS from a mile away, so it’s important that you’re always honest and transparent in your marketing efforts.

Additionally, don’t be afraid to show your personality! The Gen Zs love brands that are unafraid to be themselves, so let your unique voice shine through in everything you do.

The Bottom Line

As the Gen Zs continue to grow and solidify their place in the world, it’s more important than ever for brands to know how to market to this unique generation. And by following the tips above, you’ll be well on your way to creating a marketing strategy that resonates with this budding generation of shoppers!

For more online marketing and print-on-demand business tips, make sure to check out our blog!

Affiliate Disclosure:

This blog contains some affiliate links. We may earn a commission if you use these links to buy something (at no added cost to you).

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