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GUEST COMMENT Gen Z unveiled: Cracking the code to captivate young consumers


Gen Z is considered one of the most sought-after, yet complex, generations of the era. While certain brands assert their complete understanding of what these consumers truly desire, there are often discrepancies between the thought and behaviour of Gen Z shoppers. In an era where comprehending and connecting with customers is vital for survival, retail brands are eagerly seeking additional context.

Agon Grace, business development manager, Asendia

Agon Grace, business development manager at Asendia, asks how can retailers and brands meet the needs of young online shoppers, and be sure to provide a delivery experience that will float their collective boat?

The influence of TikTok
The emergence of social media influencers has ushered in a new era for brands and companies, especially those for health and beauty brands. These influential individuals have transformed the landscape of media marketing and become prominent endorsers for brands.

Over 40% of UK TikTok users are aged 18 to 24 – classic Gen Z.

According to a report by TikTok themselves, and research firm Material, TikTok users are 51% more likely to consider products from an advert compared to when other platforms are involved, and over 60% of users have engaged with TikTok’s ecommerce platform since its arrival in August 2021.

Recognising the shift in consumer behaviours towards media consumption, major brands across various industries have embraced the power of influencers and technology as pivotal drivers in this remarkable transformation. The Ordinary has had an organic rise to fame on TikTok, witnessing a 426% sales spike in some of its products. Micro TikTok influencer Kaelyn White shared a video of her using The Ordinary’s serum, which resulted in 1.3M views and 52,000 units of sales in two weeks. Larger health and beauty influencers, such as Hyram Yarbro and Mikayla Nogueira, have become prominent figures for marketplace sellers.

The impact of TikTok is truly remarkable. e.l.f Cosmetics has seen major success on the platform with campaigns specifically designed for a TikTok audience, featuring TikTok creators and in-platform initiatives, and have captured the hearts of Gen Z and beyond. The company launched its Eyes.Lips.Face. TikTok challenge in October 2019 and it quickly became the most viral campaign in TikTok history with over 6.3 billion views and 4.5 million user-generated videos to date.

Gen Z want instant gratification through social commerce but their love of influencers also shows a desire for following and aligning with brands and people that they look up to and admire.

Authenticity drives revenue, loyalty, and market success
Our research has revealed that Gen Z shoppers want brands to be authentic – particularly in their values, their supply chain visibility, and their adherence to promises made about sustainability.

The How to sell direct in the age of the conflicted shopper report found that while 75% of British shoppers plan to reduce spending in 2023, 43% of them stated that a brand’s authenticity would make them less sensitive to inflationary price increases. This sentiment is even more pronounced among Generation Z (48%) and Millennials (51%).

The unshakable foundation
In the digital age, trust, and authenticity reigns supreme when it comes to young consumers and their online shopping habits. As the purchasing power and wealth of options of this demographic grows, so does their emphasis on trustworthiness. These digital-savvy shoppers seek genuine connections with brands they can trust. From secure transactions and reliable product information to honest deliveries, ethical practices, and sustainability promises, young shoppers prioritise a sense of trust before hitting that ‘buy’ button.

Being transparent with consumers about your practices can cultivate trust and authenticity, empowering brands to forge lasting relationships and capture the hearts of the discerning young consumer.

For smaller online sellers with a limited social media reach, championing authenticity may seem like a daunting task. However, there are powerful strategies that can help these sellers forge genuine connections with their niche audience. Explore innovative approaches to cut through the noise and cultivate authenticity, from fostering a strong brand identity to leveraging user-generated content and engaging in meaningful interactions. To resonate with their audience on a deeper level and carve out their own thriving corner of the digital marketplace, smaller online sellers need to leverage their own unique strengths to create an authentic and trusted presence.

Revealing research
In the intricate dance of the buyer journey, trust takes centre stage. Our research unveils a captivating truth: authenticity in the realm of e-commerce extends far beyond the realm of endorsements by social media influencers. The secret lies in embracing factors that resonate with Gen Z shoppers, such as inclusive and empowering imagery, transparent insights into product testing and manufacturing, and a steadfast commitment to reliable delivery.

Take, for example, the success story of our client, Bali Body, an Australian active skincare brand. The company has harnessed the power of social media platforms like YouTube and TikTok to share genuine product reviews and self-tanning tips, fostering an authentic connection with its audience. Moreover, they provide crystal-clear information about international shipping from Australia, setting realistic expectations for delivery, and ensuring a seamless customer experience.

By prioritising trust and authenticity at every touchpoint, e-commerce brands can create an unbreakable bond with their customers, inspiring unwavering loyalty and propelling their success in the competitive digital landscape.

Shaping for a sustainable future
The issue of climate change has significantly impacted the shopping choices of younger consumers, who are increasingly conscious of the environmental impact of their actions. Gen Z places a high priority on sustainability and seeks to align themselves with brands that share their values.

Younger consumers are more likely to choose retailers and e-commerce platforms that offer sustainable delivery solutions. Bali Body, for example, is partnered with Asendia, whose international parcel shipping is carbon neutral, including their returns options.

For retailers and ecommerce brands, offering sustainable delivery options is not only a way to attract and retain younger consumers but also to address their concerns about climate change and establish themselves as leaders in sustainability.

Understanding and meeting the needs of Gen Z consumers is paramount for retailers and brands in today’s digital age. The influence of social media platforms, particularly TikTok, has revolutionised the marketing landscape and propelled the success of health and beauty brands. However, authenticity goes beyond influencer endorsements, as consumers seek transparency, sustainability, and the manifestation of brand values through action.

Agon Grace, business development manager at Asendia

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