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How Brands Can Vibe With Gen Z and Gen Alpha7 min read

how-brands-can-vibe-with-gen-z-and-gen-alpha

The global internet users grew by 8.6% over the past year, and ecommerce now accounts for over 13% of all retail revenue, according to the latest figures. There’s a lot of money on the table if you know where to look. 

Marketers tend to obsess over how to approach different age groups online, and this makes sense. Baby Boomers have different preferences than the preceding generation, and the same applies to Generation X and Millennials. 

But, if you’re ready to feel really old, here’s what you need to know about how to appeal to Gen Z and Gen Alpha. 

Who Are Gen Z and Gen Alpha?

Gen Z is referred to as the “post-Millennials.” These are people born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. More specifically, they are today’s teenagers and young adults (early 20s). This means that the oldest members of this generation are in college, just graduating, or just entering the workforce. 

Gen Alpha is a much younger group, but don’t write them off just yet. They have birth dates starting in 2010, so most of this generation are still in wearing diapers, learning to walk, or have yet to be born. The oldest in the group is about nine years old. 

The term “Gen Alpha” was coined by a consultant and researcher in Australia named Mark McCrindle, who predicts that there are 2.5 million Alphas born each week. This generation will also number a staggering 2 billion people by 2025. 

How Brands Can Appeal to Gen Z and Gen Alpha

In a recent survey, Gen Z respondents overwhelmingly prefer to shop online. Only about half (56%) purchased items in a physical store over the past six months and 30% look at ads for products on social media. 

For the most part, brands and digital marketers will approach Gen Z and Gen Alpha in a similar manner. These are generations that have been exposed to technology all of their lives, so they have many of the same characteristics. If your company is looking for ways to appeal to these groups, here are some tips:

Be Authentic

Both Generation Z and Gen Alpha care deeply about the world. They are acutely aware of the socio-economic, political, and environmental problems that face society today.

According to one study by the National Retail Federation, 55% of Gen Z members choose brands that are socially responsible and eco-friendly. If your business wants to be successful with these groups, it needs to care about more than making money. Your business not only needs to have a strong set of values, but those values also need to be represented in its brand.

Here are a few ways that can make brands stay authentic in front of the new generations:

  • Be real – Go back to the basics and discover the most important elements for your brand by answering these simple questions like Who are you? What’s your purpose? What do you stand for? What’s your bran social responsibility? 
  • Be accountable – You need to take initiative to answer customer’s questions when something is not going well with your brand. An example of how Patrick Doyle, Domino’s Pizza CEO, was reacting to customer feedback.
  • Be consistent – You can start by making brand manifesto as a guideline whenever you approach different marketing strategies from social media to content marketing.  

Personalize the Web Experience

According to Smart Insights, a majority (94%) of marketers in one study see personalization of the online experience as vital to success. And this is particularly the case when it comes to appealing to younger audiences. 

There is so much data available to marketers now that it would be silly not to take advantage of it and personalize the experience for your visitors. While you shouldn’t overreach and compromise a user’s privacy (more on that in a minute), younger visitors expect personalization. 

Some of the ways that brands can personalize the user experience to appeal to Gen Z and Gen Alpha include: 

  • Enhancing Website Personalization – You can use customer browsing and location data to personalize a visitor’s experience. One of the best examples of this is Amazon.com’s recommendation engine.
  • Personalized Retargeting – You can create a series of retargeted ads that entice users to return to your website and revisit products or an abandoned shopping cart.
  • Personalized Social Media Campaigns – You can personalize the message on social media by directly engaging with visitors as well as using such things as chatbots, personalized gifts, and customized videos.

Use Social Media to Boost Engagement

There are plenty of ways to market with social media, but not all of them are going to appeal to these two targeted audiences. One of the things you should do is make it easy for your site’s visitors to share your brand and content by placing social media links on your website.

Major brands are experimenting with ways to reach younger audiences on social media platforms. Facebook is even targeting Gen Alphas with a new messaging app called Facebook Messenger Kids. But, according to Market Wired, Instagram remains the most popular app for brand discovery among teens.

Simplify the Shopping/Checkout Experience

While Gen Z and Gen Alpha aren’t lazy by any means, they have no desire to do things that technology should be able to take care of easily. In short, you should be able to simplify the shopping and checkout experience for these customers.

Allow them to log into your website using their social media accounts. Be transparent about your shipping costs, and cut down on the steps required to complete the checkout process. 

Respect Their Privacy

Even as you personalize online experiences for young users, it’s vital that you highlight your commitment to privacy protection. 

NGen reports that 88% of Gen Z believes that protecting privacy is “important.” While most (66%) of young users say they feel comfortable sharing personal data with brands they trust, they want to know that their information is being protected and securely stored. 

Ensure that you are using strong encryption on your website, and include a clear Privacy Policy on all of your sites and social media channels. 

Here are some suggestions to make privacy a brand opportunity:

  • Be GDPR compliant – Implement privacy settings to your digital products and websites by default and let customers know how you will handle their personal data.
  • Choose the right partner – Brand needs to be extra careful when it comes to choosing partners, especially data providers. Although third party consumer data is essential for business growth, misuse of data will cause a negative brand reputation. 
  • Show commitment to security – Only 51% of businesses are serious of where personal data for employees and customers are being used. Brands need to show a serious commitment to ensuring strict compliance towards data privacy.

What is Different About Gen Alpha?

Gen Alpha does have some unique characteristics. A majority of these children aren’t growing up with traditional “toys,” but rather have stared at digital screens since birth. They are incredibly tech-savvy, and often influence the buying behavior of their millennial parents. 

Members of Gen Alpha themselves have become some of the strongest advocates for brands, through influencer marketing. These “kidfluencers” begin pushing brands on social media before they can walk, and their peers take notice. Ryan, the top Gen Alpha YouTube star, has 22.2 million followers and reportedly earned $22 million last year demonstrating and reviewing toys on his channel.

According to research released by Grant Thornton, Gen Alphas are expected to have the longest life expectancies in history, be the most educated, and the most wealthy. If your brand hasn’t begun thinking about how to attract and build loyalty with this group, and its predecessors, it’s time to start. 

Jason is an internet marketer who loves to blog about internet marketing tips, website building tips, online business ideas and many more. He manages website administrative and outreaching tasks for WebRevenue. He keeps himself updated with the latest technology especially related to the web hosting industry. He can be reached via Twitter and LinkedIn

This article was originally published by our friends at Pixlee.

About the author

Steve Hutt

I'm obsessed with entrepreneurship, commerce, and Shopify. If you have the desire to implement what's working today for direct-to-consumer brands on Shopify, I'm excited you're here! Get the Shopify help you need. This industry blog and podcast is my digital brain where my guests and I share cutting-edge marketing strategy, must-have Shopify apps, and marketing platforms that will help you build and scale lifetime customer loyalty. To do this, I'm part of the Merchant Success Team at Shopify Plus and host of the eCommerce Fastlane Podcast.