5 Key Factors to Reach the New Gen Z Consumer

To many people over 40, the younger generations may seem to have similar profiles. However, there are quite a few differences between the shopping habits of Millennials and those of Gen Z. In 2019, an influx of the newest consumer generation is anticipated to change shopping expectations yet again.

By 2020, Gen Z is projected to account for 40% of all consumers in the U.S. at a population of 84.7 million. This new generations of shoppers has high expectations for brand interaction, focusing on the brands that value the relationship on a personal level.

Generation Z

Shoppers in the Generation Z group were born after 1995 and, as they now approach their mid-twenties, their purchasing preferences are starting to congeal. How can your business best address this new target group? First, let's examine the new attitudes that are emerging.


Gen Z consumers tend to focus on sustainability as a key factor in the buying decision. Price is important, but it is no longer the number one consideration. They gravitate towards products that are responsibly sourced and environmentally safe. Promoting these selling points leads to a level of transparency that these shoppers also find important.


For younger shoppers, supply chain transparency is paramount. There are many options in every product category, but the businesses that differentiate based on transparency will be most successful. Shoppers want to know where a product is sourced, how it is produced, what kind of ethical considerations are made during production, and they want to know where the company stands on these issues.


Today's technology allows for much greater customization of products and services. Furthermore, technology provides a wealth of data about each customer and their preferences. This data can be used to offer personalized recommendations and promotions.

Both Millennial and Gen Z shoppers appreciate and expect customization. According to Multichannel Merchant, 60% of millennials and 45% of Gen Xers expect retailers to make product recommendations based on their past purchases. Yet just 21% of millennials and 9% of Gen Xers are always satisfied with the recommendations they receive. This gap identifies an area for improvement.

Better data management and analysis will enable more relevant recommendations, which will increase order rates and customer loyalty. The result? Everyone is happy.


The Gen Z shopper wants to be regarded as an individual. Diversity is key in the marketing approach to this group and they can tell the difference between broadcast messaging and personal effort.

To reach these consumers, try more SMS messages than email marketing. Instant is the name of the game and many of them see email as a slow method of communication.

Brick and Mortar

Surprisingly, survey results indicate that Generation Z shoppers prefer to do at least a good portion of their shopping in the store. Millennials do most of their shopping online and are often willing to pay for expedited shipping. It is interesting to note that 80% of younger Gen Z shoppers prefer to buy in a store, even though most of that group is not yet able to drive. This illustrates the importance of in-person experience among these individuals.

Why do so many of these consumers prefer the store? Many cited reasons like live events and fun experiences, as well as in-store incentives and discounts. Above all, people want to see and experience a product in person. This may come as a shock to retailers who have considered the younger generations primarily digitally-fed, but one survey showed that 60% of Gen Z shoppers preferred to purchase at a mall. Physical store locations must emphasize a dynamic and interesting presentation to engage these customers.

A combination of online and in-store purchasing will allow for the best reach. Retailers that offer a variety of options can cater to both groups, while enriching the shopping experience through this multichannel approach.


In the new model of retail, increased personalization can lead to dangerous data situations. While most consumers are willing to sacrifice some amount of anonymity in order to enjoy greater customization, they must feel secure that the company handles their personal data properly.

With the breaches and hacking rampant, or at least more prevalent, how do you ensure that you provide a strong personalized shopping experience without sacrificing security and consumer trust?

Here are some tips to collect and store customer data while preserving privacy and security.

Capitalize through Partnerships

Knowing is half the battle, but serving is the other half. In order to provide the speed, transparency, and personalization expected by today's shoppers, the right logistics provider is a must. Not only can your partner deliver accuracy and speed, but they can assist your business in multichannel coordination and inventory distribution.

Fulfillment services can also personalize products with labels, packaging, and bundles. These small services make a big difference to a business that wants to create an individualized experience for its customers.

When it comes to privacy, keep in mind that customer data flows through the logistics software and your 3PL handles much of this sensitive information, so it is essential to discuss security with your logistics partner.

If you need a better partner, here are some tips for choosing the best fulfillment service for your business.