For marketers, Generation Z is a force to be reckoned with. The buying power of this generation (comprised of kiddos, teens, and young adults born after 1997) is on the rise, and by 2020, they will account for 40% of U.S. consumers. But getting (and keeping) their attention — let alone building loyalty — is no easy feat.
This generation has had the internet at its fingertips since birth and it knows how to use it. That’s made them thoughtful and savvy shoppers. Gen Z embraces cross-channel shopping — sometimes using multiple channels simultaneously — as nearly half report they’ll research an item on their phone before buying while shopping in-store. As digital natives, Gen Z consumers are used to getting what they want, when they want, and if they can’t, they’ll find it somewhere else.
According to a report from Ernst & Young, only 30% of Gen Z shoppers say loyalty programs make a brand special to them, so how can brands overcome this lack of interest in loyalty? Start by giving them what they want.
Gen Z expects nothing less than speed and convenience, and loyalty programs have to reflect that. Programs should be painless to sign up for, easy to access, with technology that keeps up, as more than 60% of Gen Z say they won’t even use apps or websites that are slow to load or difficult to maneuver.
To entice Gen Z, keep your loyalty program simple. This generation won’t go out of their way to sign up or earn perks. Racking up rewards should be uncomplicated, and when push comes to shove, they should be easy to use no matter the channel. (Digital access is a must.)
Speaking of which…
Gen Z is everywhere. They’re online, on social media, on their phones, and in your stores. (In fact, a majority of Gen Z prefer shopping in-store.) This means your loyalty program needs to be everywhere, too. Gen Z expects a seamless cross-channel experience that allows them to interact with your program on any channel at any time, and have the same quality of experience on each platform.
Your loyalty program should not only exist on multiple channels, it should also honor interactions across the board. This group wants to know that, whether they connect with your brand on social, in-app, or in-person, they’re going to be rewarded and those rewards can be used (as highlighted in the first point) at their convenience.
Generation Z may be young, but they understand the significance — and risks — of sharing data. They demand their data be used safely, yet they demand personalization at the same time. In fact, 61% of Gen Z respondents said they would be willing to share their more personal info if they knew their data was protected and secure, and 44% are willing to trade personal information in exchange for custom experiences.
Birthday discounts, membership milestone rewards, and special offers tailored to an individual's shopping patterns will make your program attractive in the eyes of this generation. Using the information in a way that creates unique and personal experiences for members will take your loyalty program up a notch, while also providing users with control over the information they share. Being transparent as to how that data is used will bring it over the top.
Rewards early and often
When it comes to points, prizes, and perks, instant gratification is the name of the game. To entice Gen Z, loyalty programs should provide the potential to earn rewards early and often, starting from the moment of sign up. Welcome offers are a simple way to hook members early on, plus many Gen Zers will skip over loyalty programs that don’t offer any incentive to join.
Once you’ve got Gen Z in your program, keep them interested by offering plenty of chances to benefit from their membership. Forty percent of this age group cites hefty purchase requirements before earning rewards as their number one barrier to signing up for loyalty programs, so rewarding interactions other than purchases (like writing reviews or participating in surveys) will help keep them hooked on your brand.
Even the eldest members of Gen Z are still in college or freshly graduated, so don’t forget to add some fun and social aspects to your loyalty program — both digitally and in-person. More than half of Gen Z want in-store experiences to be fun, so as to avoid boredom while shopping.
Remember, fun can take many forms. Incentivize social media shares of purchases or gamify the shopping/dining/travel experience to encourage engagement, and surprise and delight your Gen Z customers with outside-of-the-box experiences. Whether that’s an exclusive event for top tier members or a surprise discount code just because it’s Tuesday, keep the fun coming to keep Gen Z coming back.
Gen Z grew up in the digital age. They use the internet for everything from researching products to engaging with brands and making purchases. They’re smart shoppers who know what they want and how to get it. To get Gen Z’s attention, your brand has to come to them.
Simple interfaces across multiple channels and frequent (and easily accessible) opportunities for perks, rewards, and discounts are musts to earn Gen Z’s loyalty. Ready to build a loyalty program that will have this next generation of up-and-coming consumers lining up to sign up? Check out what Cheetah can do.
As a platform technology company, Cheetah Digital combines robust data management and cross-channel communication abilities with dedicated, in-house professional services. We help marketers execute complex, enterprise-scale marketing programs and effectively drive lasting customer loyalty. We are a business partner to the world’s best brands, and have employees across 13 countries.