Although the Millennials are responsible for attempting to eliminate shopping in physical locations, Generation Z may actually be on the verge of saving it.

In essence, Gen Z are the next generation of consumers, and their buying habits are different from those of previous generations.

In fact, Gen Z now consists of approximately 2.5 billion buyers from around the globe, with 60 million in the United States alone. That equals an incredible $44 billion of buying power on a yearly basis.

Smart retailers are starting to realize that the traditional marketing techniques of the past simply do not work with a group of people that grew up with smart phones in their hands.

The bottom line is that Gen Z is a new breed of shopper that has different expectations, motivations, and relationships with the brands when compared to Millennials and their predecessors.

Brick and mortar retailers simply must cater to Gen Z in order to avoid the otherwise impending “Retail Apocalypse.”

That means retailers need to actually update the entire experience through the use of social media based strategies that provided a highly personal encounter from the screen to the physical location.

The good news is that Gen Z as a whole enjoys shopping in brick and mortar locations. In fact, 81% of Gen Z prefers to shop in stores, and 73% like to discover new products in stores according to a recent survey.

That is incredibly good news for stores and shopping malls across America. That being stated, they still want to incorporate the use of the smartphones as part of the shopping experience.

91% of Gen Z consumers are actually looking for deals or reading online reviews on their phones while shopping inside retail locations. In essence, brick and mortar retailers have to find new methods of attracting Gen Z shoppers.

Incentive/loyalty programs are a great way to accomplish this.

However, the incentive/loyalty program must provide Gen Z with something they deem worthwhile in return. For example, frequent flier miles simply will not cut it. This savvy generation tends to pay far more attention to monetary based rewards.

Generation Z also wants to customize the shopping mall and the products found within it. For example, they want stores to look different whenever they visit. That can be accomplished with frequent cosmetic changes such as interior painting, new floors, and updating lighting designs.

Gen Z also requires customization of the products they purchase, particularly with clothing.

One way to accomplish this is by adding custom patches and monogrammed stitching to jeans and other items. Brick and mortar retailers can also utilize cutting edge technology in order to respond to Gen Z customer requests from the start of the purchasing process. Every company that operates a physical location or locations including luxury brands should implement this theory.

Another aspect that brick and mortar retailers must consider is the fact that Gen Z is willing to purchase items secondhand.

As these consumers are beginning to come into their own, they are absolutely searching for good deals. In addition, they feel that it is important to shop from eco-friendly and sustainable vendors.

This phenomenon is leading a great deal of Gen Z members to shop at secondhand clothing stores. This trend will continue to increase as more Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers are adopting this philosophy as well.

In fact, one out of every three consumers is purchasing is planning to purchase secondhand clothing this year. So how are brick and mortar retailers dealing with secondhand shops? That question will be answered in part two of this article.

To Be Continued….

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