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How to Market to Millennials and Gen Z Shoppers

Millennials have been shopping in stores for many years and they have shaped the way retailers market their products. Now, Gen Z shoppers are starting to make their own money and they want to spend it in style! 

In this article, we are going to focus on the differences and similarities between these two generations of young people. Also, we will dive deeper into the subject to find out the best marketing tactics that will convince each generation to make a purchase in your store. 

Let’s start out with Millennials, one of the most discussed generations of all time. 

1. Millennials - The calculated spender


We’ve all heard a lot about this generation. Millennials are born between 1981 and 1996, with ages ranging from 26 to 41. They are high earners who focus a lot on having a career but appreciate the freedom of working on their own. As you might expect, they also have some preferences when it comes to shopping. 

  • Eco-friendly and sustainability advocates

Millennials are the first generation that focuses their attention on sustainability in retail (and in all other industries). Unlike older generations, Millennials understood the importance of eco-friendly alternatives and the issues that are threatening our planet. 75% of Millennials have altered their shopping habits to align with the environment. Also, they mentioned that they would spend more on products that are sustainable. 

  • Impulse buyers and calculated spenders

96% of millennials make impulse purchases at least once a month and the average amount spent on an impulse purchase is $71. This means that Millennials are easily triggered by conveniently placed products. 

While they might be impulsive buyers, they are pretty calculated at the same time. Unlike Boomers and people from Gen X, Millennials tend to wait for better deals and sales before making a purchase. Also, they keep items in their carts or at “favorites” until the products reach a price they consider appropriate. 

Also, before purchasing a product in-store, Millennials tend to research it online. 93% of Millennials rely on reviews to document their purchases. 

  • Integrate advertising into their lives

This is one of the first generations that have integrated publicity and ads into their lives. While they understand the need for advertising, this doesn’t mean that they want to see ads everywhere. That’s why a lot of Millennials use Adblockers in order to avoid unwanted ads. 

Millennials enjoy great commercials and they seek storytelling in retail. They want to feel close to brands and know that brands will engage with them online and in-store, if possible. 

  • Focus on the experience, not on products

Unlike Boomers and Gen X people, Millennials are not just looking for products, especially when shopping in-store. If they want a product, they order it online. However, when they come to the store, they want to combine the experience with the purchase. That’s why customer service and innovation are two things they want to see when they enter your store.

  • Love a good loyalty program

While Millennials tend to change jobs fairly quickly, they are not the same when it comes to shopping. They won’t purchase the same brand if they had a bad experience, but they really like a loyalty program. 79% of Millennials join a loyalty program to save money, while 78% are willing to join for members-only benefits such as free delivery or product samples. 

2. Gen Z - The new kid in the shop


Gen Z shoppers are the new kids on the block. These people were born between 1997 and 2012, which means they are aged between 10 and 25. While those who are 10 now might not be going in-store (or online for that matter) to make their own purchases, they can still influence the purchasing decisions of their parents. 

Let’s find out a bit more about the shopping preferences of Gen Z shoppers.

  • High-quality items 

Gen Z-ers are not willing to spend their money on cheap products. If they are going to open their wallets, they want to receive products that are from well-known brands or that are premium. 66% of teen shoppers pay attention to the quality of products when choosing a brand.

  • Monitoring their spending

Unlike older generations, Zoomers are not spending as much money when shopping. While most of them are teens, they still influence the purchasing decisions of their parents. However, Gen Z-ers are not willing to spend their money or their parent’s money just on anything. 

This is a generation that likes to save up and that’s why many Zoomers already have a retirement plan even if they are in their 20s. 

  • Expects sustainable products

While Millennials were the ones that showed retailers that sustainability is a necessity, Gen Z-ers are the ones that are expecting retailers to implement it. The younger generation doesn’t want to purchase products that have a negative impact on the environment. Zoomers are also influencing their parents and grandparents to purchase sustainable products. 

Another important thing to consider is that this generation wants brands to make a change in the world. That’s why 84% of Gen Z shoppers will purchase from a brand that is socially responsible. Also, 82% of them will recommend the brand to a friend. 

  • In-store shoppers

While this generation was born with a smartphone in their hands, it doesn’t mean that they only purchase online. More and more Zoomers are turning to physical stores for most of their purchases. 

Of course, they want to have an Instagramable experience when they visit the store. Since most Gen Z-ers document their lives on social media, shopping in-store can be a great experience for them. 

  • Influencers and social media presence

Influencer marketing is an important tactic that shows results for both Millennials and Gen Z shoppers. Zoomers follow the advice of influencers and spend a lot of time on social media. This is why social commerce is on the rise. 

How to market to each generation in-store 

Now that we know a bit more about the shopping behavior of both Gen Z and Millennial shoppers, it’s time to give you some tips and tricks on how to catch the attention of each generation. 

How to market to Millennials

If you want to attract the attention of Millennials you will need to focus on discounts and sales. They love a good deal. Also, since they are impulsive buyers, you might want to consider placing complementary products next to each other and add more small and cheap items near the cashier. 

Apart from this, prepare to offer an amazing experience in-store and focus on providing great customer service. Millennials are not coming back if they’ve had a poor experience. 

How to market to Zoomers

Zoomers are all about Instagramable content. Implement in-store activations that attract their attention. Robotic POP displays like Tokinomo are a great way to create a shareable experience in-store. 

The focus on sustainability is not just a trend for Zoomers. Implement a sustainability program in your store, promote eco-friendly products, and try to be socially responsible. 

Both of these generations focus on experience when it comes to in-store shopping. Also, the shift towards sustainability is very important for them. Try to integrate these things into your retail strategy to target the younger generation. 

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