What’s the difference between millennials (Generation Y) and Generation Z? This is a question that I get asked a lot and the answer is much more than just a date of birth. Broadly speaking, a millennial can be defined as those born in the early 80s, who came into adulthood in the early noughties; Generation Z are the natural successors, being born in the mid to late 90s and even early noughties, writes HIM’s Blake Gladman.
Millennials, by their very nature, are early adopters of technology. Born in an era of overwhelming technological advances, they have lived their formative years in a world which has been constantly changing. They know where they are, but they also understand how we got here.
This sets them apart from Generation Z, who view technology as the everyday, along with the fluid movement of information, services and money across devices, between friends and around the world. They want to have ‘things’, they want to touch ‘things’ (is it any wonder that vinyl sales hit a 25-year high in 2017?). This is also a generation with a conscious. They genuinely want to save the world, and want to be associated with brands that they believe in.
So how can retailers satisfy these generations? First, it’s about delivering an experience. Whether this comes from the look and feel of the store (Instagram-worthy!), staff that truly engage and have knowledge about products, or in-store theatre that captures the imagination. Our latest UK shopper research suggests that delivering an exceptional in-store shopper experience can lead to significant increases in footfall, basket size, spend and advocacy.
Second, it’s about having a brand that they want to be associated with. Convenience retail has a lot of positives going for it that resonate with the Generation Z shopper – namely being local, independently run, supporting local communities, providing unique products not available in the mainstream stores. Shout about your independent roots and the products you source; be as open as you can with your food wastage, your environment and local community initiatives.
Look after Generations Y and Z as they will ultimately look after you.