Converting Generation Z Browsers to Buyers

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Retailers have established techniques to attract shoppers to spend with them. But strategies that have successfully enticed previous generations may not hold the same power for the next generation of shoppers — the Centennials.

What are Centennials (age 13-18, also known as Generation Z) looking for when browsing for products? And how do their shopping habits differ from their predecessors — the Millennials (age 18-34)?  PowerReviews conducted a survey of more than 1,700 Millennial and Centennial consumers in the U.S. to answer that question.

Read on to learn what entices Generation Z shoppers to make a purchase, as well as 3 tips for brands and retailers looking to convert more Centennial browsers to buyers.

Reviews Are More Important to Centennials Than Brand Name and Free Shipping
Our study shows the presence of online reviews is more valuable to Centennial shoppers than a brand name, or free perks such as free shipping. Retailers can no longer rely on brand name alone to appeal to Centennials, who are brand-mobile and equipped to do their research wherever they are. They want to be convinced that a product is right for them before they buy.


Price Comes Second to Brand for Centennials
While a brand name may not be as important as reviews to a Centennial, it does trump price for these resourceful shoppers. In fact, the majority (57%) of Centennials are likely to spend more money on a well-known brand than purchase a lower-priced item from an unfamiliar brand.

If you’re a new brand or an existing brand promoting new products, reviews are imperative. Over half of Centennials say they want to read reviews when they’re unfamiliar with a brand or retailer, suggesting that third party endorsements through reviews can give Centennials the confidence they need to make a purchase.

Centennials Want Instant Answers
Twenty-four-hour access to technology has made modern consumers impatient when it comes to getting answers to their questions. And if they can’t get the information they need from retailers and brands immediately, they’ll turn to a competitor that readily provides this information. In fact, as well as reviews, nearly half of Centennials we surveyed said they wouldn’t buy a product if they couldn’t ask a question about it.

The study shows that Centennials want to engage with retailers directly on their website and expect one-to-one attention. Q&A on brand and retailer websites are important, and nearly two thirds of Centennials prefer having their questions answered by previous customers rather than the retailer. As such, it’s key for brands and retailers to invest in Q&A technology and allow current product owners to answer questions from prospective customers.

Centennials Crave Real Conversations
Of the Centennials who have written reviews, 89% said they hadn’t consequently been contacted by the brand in question. Positive or negative, a review is a golden opportunity to engage with your customers. Acknowledging the feedback can make a difference to the customer who posted the review, as well as every other consumer that views that conversation. And using insights from review content can help improve your product and help you deliver products and experiences that meet and exceed consumer expectations.

3 Tips for Converting Centennial Browsers to Buyers
What can brands and retailers start doing now to attract Centennial browsers and convert them to buyers? Here are three key tips.

  1. Highlight new products: Validate fresh to market products with reviews on your own website as well as third party websites. Consider Product Sampling to generate more reviews for new products, seasonal promotions, or other targeted products in need of more reviews. Make sure Centennials are assured of the quality and value of your products.
  2. Talk with your customers: The majority of Centennials will be looking for what you have to say while they’re researching products. They’re waiting to listen.
  3. Turn customers into brand ambassadors: Consumers trust other consumers. Invest in Q&A software so your existing product owners can answer questions from other shoppers.

Today, Centennials already have $44 million in annual spending power, and that number will continue to grow as this generation grows up. Now is the time for brands and retailers to identify how to hone their marketing plans to best influence this demographic.