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Getting Centennials Engaged

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While marketers were busy figuring out how to connect with Millennials, the next generation started growing up. The Centennials — age 13-18 — are mobile native, savvy consumers, empowered with the tools to make their own decisions and find solutions. Already this generation has $44 million in annual spending power. And this number will continue to grow as Centennials age.

What can brands and retailers do to get Centennials engaged? PowerReviews surveyed more than 1,700 Centennial (13-18) and Millennial (18-34) consumers in the U.S. to better understand how how these two generations shop and interact with brands. Read on to learn why Centennial consumers are (and aren’t) engaging with brands, and what companies can do to better connect with the next generation of shoppers.

Centennials Are Reluctant to Engage With Brands
In the past month, 62% of Centennials haven’t written an online review — despite the fact that 95% read reviews before making a purchase and 64% saying they read at least four reviews before they buy. Unfortunately for retailers, Centennials are most likely to leave a product review if they’re unhappy than any other reason.


What can brands and retailers do to generate more positive reviews? 23% of Centennials said they would be most likely to write a review if they were given an incentive. Centennials crave information and want to verify that they’re making the right purchase decision. And, there are ways to leverage this opportunity without compromising on your brand’s integrity.

Centennials Respond to Incentives
One way of overcoming the challenge of securing reviews is through product sampling. Using this tactic, consumers are sent samples and asked to submit online reviews. Sampling also has the added benefit of promoting brand loyalty — something which technology has helped erode by providing unlimited opens to consumers. This allows retailers to build relationships with existing customers by rewarding loyalty while generating review content. Sweepstakes are another way to incentivize consumers. After all, everyone wants a chance to win big!

Remember: when incentivizing shoppers to write reviews, transparency is key. Ask your reviews software partner if they allow you to indicate whether a reviewer received a sample or another incentive for writing a review.

Negative Reviews Play a Key Role in the Purchase Journey of a Centennial
Late last year, there was a lot of media buzz after filed a lawsuit against more than 1,000 people for writing fake product reviews on their website. Inauthentic reviews break down trust and have the potential to tarnish a brand’s image, and this case was a good reminder to brands and retailers to have measures in place to ensure review content is authentic.

Through our survey of Centennial shoppers, we found that negative reviews actually have a key part to play in the shopper journey. For starters, nearly half of Centennials said they wouldn’t trust a product’s reviews if there were no negative reviews present.

And 60% of Centennials read negative reviews first. Consumers look for negative reviews to validate their purchasing decisions, so retailers and brands need to embrace transparency and trust consumers to gather information and make up their own minds.

4 Tips for Retailers to Engage with Generation Z
Centennials are reluctant to engage with brands and retailers. But there are things brands and retailers can do to better engage with these savvy shoppers.

  1. Incentivize reviews: Offer customers a discount on future purchases or a free sample to encourage them to write a review. It’s a low-cost investment that will help generate future sales.
  2. Be responsive: If Centennials are talking about you and your products in reviews, engage with them. And, empower customers to answer questions from other shoppers.
  3. Be transparent: Don’t mislead consumers by removing negative reviews. And be sure to indicate if incentives were provided to the review writer. Otherwise, you’re likely to lose shoppers’ trust and risk breaking the law.
  4. Clean up: Fake reviews can damage your brand, so real reviews need to be verified and false reviews protected again. Be sure to ask your ratings and reviews provider what measures they have in place to ensure reviews are authentic and fraud-free.

Remember: the purchasing power of Centennials will only continue to grow. Now’s the time to get a better understanding of the way this generation shops and use that information to hone your marketing plans to better reach this demographic.


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Matt Parsons

As Chief Customer Officer, Matt Parsons’ primary focus is client satisfaction. With more than 15 years of client service experience, managing client success, software implementation, technical support, sales operations, customer renewal and content moderation functions in the financial, telecommunications and e-commerce industries, Matt’s first foray in e-commerce was at Prior to joining PowerReviews, he… Read more »