Ready to Catch Some Zs?
By Ellen Fruchtman, President
Don’t let the title mislead you. At quick glance, I bet you thought I was talking about getting some well-earned rest. Not that we all don’t need that. This article is about to address the generation behind Millennials. You know, Gen Z. Because truthfully, the oldest of that generation (starting in the year 1995 leading up to 2012) is 24 years of age and about to walk into your jewelry store. And, although they share many of the same similarities of Millennials, there are a few nuances and differences you probably need to know.
Quick fact: Did you know that the oldest Millennial is now age 40? It’s nice to know another group is getting old. I digress.
With so much doom and gloom out there, it’s nice to finally bring you some good news. And that is, according to a study by A. T. Kearney, 81% of Gen Z prefers to shop in an actual brick-and-mortar store! Why? More than 50% said this allowed them to disconnect with social media and the overall digital world. Let’s remember, this is a generation that has only known the digital world. And, what some of us Boomers may take for granted, this generation is actually craving to go back to, what they call “retail therapy” and feel it’s actually good for their mental well-being. They want to disconnect. Good grief. I never thought I would live to see the day.
This is a generation of stressed-out individuals. Not that I personally think they have a corner on that market. But, 22% reported being stressed and overwhelmed by social media. Ha! Let them run a business. Just saying.
Here’s where you need to pay attention. More than 50% of the surveyed group care about being socially and environmentally conscious. More importantly, they are willing to pay more for products that are environmentally sustainable or frequent those retail establishments that support such causes. However, only 38% of them are willing to pay a premium for it. So, they care, but only up to a certain point if it’s going to affect their pocketbook.
From a product perspective (and what you say on your website), it stands to reason that your staff should bring some of this up in conversation. If you sell natural diamonds, color, etc. you need to communicate that story. Not only that diamonds do good, but that they are environmentally sound. If you don’t believe in the lab-grown diamond message, then you need to get the facts. And, more importantly, communicate them. The same is true for metals as well. Perhaps you can think about telling the story within your cases visually. You can show and talk about from mine to finger. If you sell lab-grown, you can tell both. The bigger point is your staff has to be well-educated on matters that are important to them (and Millennials). It’s great to discuss the 4Cs, but you need to enhance the conversation.
We talk a lot about customer experience and service. And, nothing could be more important to this group for sure. Your website? 22% of Gen Z shoppers will not even consider shopping in your store if they have a poor website experience. If you have a cookie-cutter site with little to no content; if your site does not tell your important story; discuss all the items that are important to them; 22% of them will never walk in your door. According to the study, a poor online experience prevented 22% of Gen Z customers from making a purchase at least 4-5 times this past year. If the experience is lackluster in your store, that number rises to 24%. By the way, that is 8% higher than what halted Millennial shoppers. This generation is hyper-focused on experience. But I have to be honest, I don’t solely believe this is necessarily indicative of the Gen Z consumer or Millennials. I think the importance of the customer experience drives across all platforms and ages.
Quick fact #2: In 2020, this generation will represent 40% of consumers. Whoa. So, if you don’t have a well-defined digital strategy, well, you’re getting into the doom zone.
If you look at Gen Z and Millennials, approximately 67% want their brands to have a cause or social voice. And, 65% of Gen Z consumers believe that social media has an impact on their relationships with brands. Participating and sponsoring organizations they care about is key so you need to make sure you are telling them about it. Because, as I have always said (going back to even my humble beginnings in the business), this isn’t brain surgery. People will always want to do business with other people they like, trust, and have a connection to.
Want to be that retailer? Then start! Look at your website with a critical eye. Does it convey what it needs to? Does it tell your story? Or is it just about like everyone else’s website? Look at your experience. Is it just about handing out bottles of self-branded water and cookies? You need to take it beyond. Look at your staff. Do they communicate those important messages to those bridal customers across the counter? And lastly, look at your product. Does it have a story that will resonate and one you should tell?
Stop snoozing. Because getting those Zs is here for some and without a doubt just around the corner for most.
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