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How To Win The Hearts Of The Gen Z Consumer Base In Eight Seconds

Marketers never stop talking about millennials. And there’s a good reason for that. Millennials continue to hold a significant share of buying power and influence business and corporate culture. But now that companies have finally figured out how to attract millennials, a new generation has come into play. Generation Z was born between 1996 and the present and are already emerging from the shadow of millennials. Even though many of them are still too young to buy their own meals, the oldest of the Gen Zers have started spending a lot of money. According to Fast Company, Generation Z makes up a quarter of the U.S. population and will account for 40% of all consumers by 2020.

Businesses that want to get out in front of the trends and succeed in the next decade and beyond need to consider the group that is shaping today’s youth culture. To earn their attention and eventually their loyalty, businesses should better understand their needs, wants and values. Let’s take a look at some key points we’ve learned about Generation Z.

New Expectations And Habits

Gen Zers have their own expectations and habits that differ from their older counterparts. They view restaurants as more than mere places where they can satisfy their hunger. They grew up in a world where the restaurant industry is crowded and their options are limitless. Even though both millennials and Generation Z value brands that can offer unique experiences, the younger generation’s expectations differ. 60% of Gen Z prefers a cool product over a cool experience, while Gen Y prefers the opposite.

Fast Consumers Of Content

Gen Z consumes and processes content much faster than other generations, in particular, because of apps like Snapchat with its 10-second story limit. Gen Zers are very good at quickly sorting through vast amounts of information using five screens simultaneously: smartphones, tablets, TVs, laptops and desktops. Although their options are practically endless, their time is not — they have an average attention span of eight seconds as compared to 12 seconds for millennials. 

Mobile-First Generation

Gen Z is the mobile-first generation. Just think, today’s teens have their own phones as early as elementary or middle school, as compared to high school or even college for the older generation. Both millennials and Gen Z quickly adopt new technologies, but while millennials were smartphone pioneers, their younger counterparts are smartphone natives.

How can your business keep up with the demands of Gen Z?

Gen Zers are different from their older companions. As they continue to gain buying power, more brands are talking about this cohort and how to market to them. 

• Make the experience simple and intuitive. Millennials remember the days of slow internet, while Generation Z does not. They have very little or no patience. If something is too slow or doesn’t work as intended, they’ll move on. Brands should start implementing a digital-forward approach to ordering. However, digital ordering is no longer enough -- engagement through loyalty programs is also crucial. To make the interaction between your brand and your Gen Z customers intuitive and engaging, provide them with a complete mobile app solution that includes multiple engaging elements like a points-based reward program, exciting UX, gamification features and more.

• Create value instead of ads. Because of their lack of patience, Gen Zers place a high value on their attention. They often turn a deaf ear to sponsored content, especially if it doesn’t provide any value. They listen to brands and look for channels that cater to their needs and wants, whether those are knowledge or entertainment. Your content shouldn’t be too salesy. Instead, it must explain how people can benefit from your business and what problems they can solve using your product or service.
• Choose a more practical approach. Post-millennials are practical and don’t fall for the fancy stuff. They value good products over the experience and want to be engaged in the way they find most comfortable and rewarding. To meet new customers' expectations, brands should make sure that the communication experience is proactive, productive and painless. Companies that collect customer data through mobile solutions can use this information to personalize communication with their clients.

• Use social media strategically. For Generation Z, social media is a lifestyle, not just entertainment and a way to connect with their friends. They want to use it to learn about new products and brands. Businesses can encourage their customers to share their feedback and recommend their brand on various social networks by giving them some incentive. Companies that have a mobile app can simply integrate social platforms into their app to collect more reviews that their happy guests leave. They can successfully leverage word-of-mouth marketing and accumulate social proof around their brands. 

• Think mobile only, instead of mobile first. If you want to grab the attention of this generation, you need to make sure that they can easily interact with your brand via mobile. There’s no way you can make them care about your brand if you don’t provide them with a flawless mobile experience. "Rewarding techniques are getting more and more popular for the purpose of customer retention. And when we speak about Gen Zers, we should anyway focus on mobile devices. Today's brands with a good size of Gen Z customers must definitely think of building strong and longstanding relations through mobile loyalty apps," says Vas Diachenko, CEO of LoyaltyPlant.

Baby boomers and millennials still hold a significant share of purchasing power. However, as Gen Z's spending power increases, businesses can no longer ignore preferences of this growing demographic of young consumers. Those who can accommodate the emerging Gen Zers will be able to succeed in the long run.

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