Everything You Need to Know About the Centennial Shopper
For brands and retailers, there’s no better time to go after the next generation of consumers. Centennials, otherwise known as “Gen-Z,” are on track to make up 40 percent of the population by the year 2020, and they already spend more than $40 million annually. But to truly appeal to this generation of consumers, brands and retailers need to understand how they make purchase decisions.
Centennials are a digital-native generation; they’ve had access to the internet since birth and most can’t remember a time when a connected world wasn’t at their fingertips. And because of this, they have the power to source information and make decisions without the influence of retailers. With this in mind, there are a few key tactics brands and retailers can use to attract Centennial shoppers and prepare for their growing purchasing power.
Highlight product reviews
Centennials highly value the opinions and experiences of others. In fact, 95 percent of Centennials search for and read reviews to validate a product choice and nearly half (44 percent) say they won’t purchase a product if reviews are absent. What’s more is that the vast majority (70 percent) of Centennial shoppers find product quality -- which they determine by consulting online reviews -- more important than price. Thus brands and retailers who want to capture this demographic should ensure that they display ratings and reviews front and center on their product pages rather than burying them behind links or tabs.
Much like ratings and reviews, online Q&A plays an essential role in the Centennial shopping journey. Seventy-nine percent of Centennial shoppers will go straight to another retailer or to Amazon if they can’t ask questions on a product page and nearly half (45 percent) won’t purchase an item if they can’t ask a question about it. Because the majority of Centennials prefer having their questions answered by previous customers rather than by a retailer, merchants should think about developing a space where customers can ask product questions and receive answers from other shoppers like them.
Always maintain transparency and authenticity
Negative reviews play a key role in the Centennial shopper’s path to purchase -- so don’t shy away from them. Centennial shoppers specifically look for negative reviews to validate their purchase decisions. In fact, 60 percent of Centennials read negative reviews before positive ones and nearly half (44 percent) of Centennials say they don’t trust a product’s reviews if there are no negative reviews present. Centennials understand that a product can’t be all things to all people and are often skeptical of 5-star products. In order to earn Centennial trust, brands and retailers should display all of their product reviews -- both positive and negative, and have measures in place to prevent or remove fraudulent reviews.
Make product information accessible
Centennials are a digital-native generation so it’s essential that brands and retailers make it easy for them to conduct research no matter what device they're using. And knowing that 37 percent of Centennial shoppers prefer to browse and research products via mobile, merchants should ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly, load quickly and are easy to navigate.
The spending power of Centennials continues to grow, so merchants must take the proper steps to ensure an exceptional shopping experience for this growing demographic. Brands and retailers that want to engage with this generation must prominently display ratings and reviews, maintain transparency and authenticity, and ensure that their customers can conveniently browse and purchase their products from any device.
Theresa O’Neil is the Senior Vice President of Marketing at PowerReviews, a leading provider of customer review technology to more than 1,000 brands and retailers.