5 Innovative Ways to Connect with Gen Z Consumers and Build Brand Loyalty
Generation Z’s buying power is worth hundreds of billions of dollars — and it’s increasing with time. That being said, you can only improve your connection with them and foster brand loyalty if you take innovative marketing, branding and communication approaches.
1. Leverage Social Media to Resolve Complaints
Most business owners and marketers only consider social media a free marketing tool. Crucially, they overlook how most Generation Z consumers interact with companies online — to publicize their grievances. Whether young people have a bad experience or fail to escalate their issues through official channels, these platforms are their first defense.
Most Generation Z consumers flock to social media to complain because they are tired of one-size-fits-all responses but are non-confrontational — and it usually works. The threat of going viral for a negative reason motivates businesses to resolve issues swiftly. Consequently, most of this age group posts about poor experiences instead of going to customer service.
To connect with them, you must build your online presence to address their criticism directly. First, you must find out which social media platform they primarily use. Although nearly 80% of Generation Z actively uses TikTok, your target demographic may prefer alternatives. This age group’s online presence is massive, so it may be more dynamic than you think.
You must be empathetic and open-minded to foster brand loyalty with Generation Z. Timely, non-generic responses to customer complaints and questions are crucial. They spend enough time online to know a canned message when they see one. That being said, your transparency can immediately put you ahead of the competition in their eyes.
Ensure you make your response as public as their post — asking them to message you privately can make it look like you are admitting fault. Additionally, it means anyone who views the initial complaint will not see the resolution. A visible interaction acts as its own advertising, helping Generation Z consumers trust and connect with your brand.
2. Craft a Mobile-First Customer Experience
Since Generation Z consumers are digital natives, they are used to shopping online, where they can see search results for millions of products within milliseconds. Brand loyalty is not as prevalent with them as with previous generations because hundreds of thousands of websites have exactly what they are looking for.
These digital natives spend most of their free time online. In fact, 96% of them own a smartphone and more than 50% use it for at least 10 hours daily. Since almost half of their day revolves around their phones, a mobile-first customer experience is necessary.
If you want to appeal to Generation Z, your homepage and e-commerce website should be easy to navigate and convenient for mobile devices. For example, you should minimize load times and make the user interface intuitive. This age group is already on their phones most of their waking hours — you only need to stand out from the competition to get their attention.
To make your brand more noticeable than your competitors, you must make your online presence strong and capitalize on their search intent. In other words, you must appeal to this research-oriented demographic. For example, you can list item dimensions, shipping time, features and available add-ons.
Your product page’s appearance is just as important as the product itself. As a result, you must use skimmable text to appeal to young people who value convenience or have short attention spans.
Additionally, ensure you use genuine images because most Generation Z consumers can spot Photoshopped photos instantly. You will immediately connect with them and increase brand loyalty if they know you are being honest and not drop-shipping.
3. Use Organic Marketing Instead of Influencers
Generation Z grew up surrounded by physical and digital marketing, so they are not as receptive to traditional methods like email. Even typically profitable ones like pre-roll advertising often spark annoyance — and can even discourage brand loyalty. If you interrupt or complicate their online browsing, there is a chance the sole reason they remember your brand is to avoid it.
That being said, even modern methods — like using influencers to promote products — are quickly becoming ineffective. Generation Z consumers highly value transparency, so they are not as receptive when they believe the advertising medium is dishonest. Instead of relying on traditional approaches, consider using organic marketing to connect with them.
Not only do organic searches account for 50% of online traffic, but people click on them far more than they do paid results. The same concept applies to social media — younger consumers prefer genuine content. Instead of disguising advertisements as social media posts or using influencers to promote your latest product launch, create your own content to build brand loyalty.
4. Promote Social and Environmental Awareness
Generation Z thinks of products as a direct extension of themselves. They are far more inclined to buy things that align with their morals, views and values because around 68% of them believe their purchases reflect their personalities. You should consider embracing sustainability and social awareness — the cornerstones of their beliefs.
This generation is inclined to be loyal to brands that are socially conscious and value their environmental impact. Even if your business is not centered around these traits, you can still make your business appear sustainable. Operating transparently and showcasing your commitment to the planet’s future will help you connect with the younger generation.
Generation Z consumers undeniably connect with socially conscious statements and advertisements. Ensure your language is inclusive and your messaging is unprejudiced. Aside from marketing, your operations are just as essential.
You can insert a sustainable mindset into everything from manufacturing to delivery. For example, you can replace your current product packaging with recycled materials. Alternatively, you could advertise how you use electric vehicles during distribution.
Generation Z consumers do their research, meaning they focus as much on the brand itself as they do its products. Above all else, they want to know how you positively impact the environment. If you don’t have impressive statistics to show off, consider starting a sustainability-centered program. For example, you could plant a tree with every purchase above a specific dollar amount.
5. Use Data for Hyper-Personalized Marketing
With Generation Z consumers, personalization is essential. Most have lived with the internet their entire lives, so they are acutely aware of what generic messaging and marketing look like. Additionally, many do not have a strong opinion on data collection if it results in a better user experience. The social media platform TikTok is an excellent example of this fact, considering its users praise its algorithm’s accuracy.
Instead of sending the same offers or showing similar advertisements to every customer, tailor them to appeal to specific traits or behaviors. For example, you could use historical purchase details to categorize someone as an impulse shopper and then show them limited-time sales.
Adjust Your Approach to Appeal to Generation Z
Generation Z has shown marketers and business owners worldwide that traditional methods are not effective anymore. To appeal to a younger audience, you have to modernize your approach to marketing, complaint resolution and operation.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor of Designerly Magazine. Eleanor was the creative director and occasional blog writer at a prominent digital marketing agency before becoming her own boss in 2018. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dog, Bear.
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