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Gen Z Takes on DTC: A Series On The Evolution Of eCommerce

It’s safe to say the next generation of consumers (A.K.A. Gen Zers) have high expectations of direct-to-consumer brands.

In this new blog series, BVA is shedding light on what Gen Z wants from DTC brands, how brands can attract and convert this age range, and how companies can build business models built to last through the ever-evolving eCommerce landscape.

In this first article, we’re laying the foundation and discussing why Gen Z matters to DTC brands and how to meet Gen Z expectations on your eCommerce storefront. Let’s dive in.

Why Gen Z Matters To DTC Brands

63% of Gen Zer’s have less patience when it comes to a slow or poor functioning website, according to a recent study by Sitecore. Additionally, as a result of the pandemic, Gen Z is more likely to try new brands (or abandon loyalty to others) than ever before. As the popular TikTok saying goes, sheesh.

But how much of the market does Gen Z really take up these days? Are brands really missing out if they don’t specifically cater to this age demographic? Well, the $143 Billion dollars of spending power that Gen Z holds argues that yes, brands really should care about this newer segment of consumers.

Generation Z comprises all people born between the years of 1997 and 2015, meaning that this group of shoppers grew up with the internet and is comfortable in a highly digitized world. What does this mean for online brands? You’ve got to come dressed to impress (figuratively, of course; Gen Z loves their casual wear).

Online brands now more than ever need to create a seamless omnichannel experience that entices, delights, and rewards their customers. Not only do brands need to meet the bare minimum (i.e. a fast-loading website), but they also need to stand out in order to keep customers coming back for more.

What Gen Zers Look For In A Brand

As a DTC brand, you probably want to know what Gen Z are looking for in an online shopping experience. Brands often think about marketing to Gen Z on popular social media platforms like SnapChat, TikTok, and Instagram, but they don’t necessarily build their eCommerce website with these shoppers in mind.

Here are four pieces of advice when it comes to building an eCommerce website that will stand up to snuff in the face of Gen Zers (and a rapidly changing eCommerce industry).

1) Build Your Website Mobile-First

First thing’s first: where are Gen Z shopping? Gen Z uses apps and mobile devices for both their product browsing and purchasing. And they’re not alone in that. The average US consumer spends 92% of their time on a mobile device in an app, while the remaining 8% of their time is spent on mobile websites.

Because of this, BVA looks at eCommerce website projects from a mobile-first perspective. Our website developers and designers look to create an experience that surprises and delights consumers, while at the same time improving mobile conversion and engagement rates.

Better&Better Launch LI2 Better and Better’s eCommerce store provides a beautiful digital experience, whether visiting on desktop or mobile.

2) Create New, Unique Experiences

Gen Z is ready to be dazzled when they visit an online store. Because eCommerce is their preferred method of shopping, brands need to ensure they’re providing as memorable of an experience digitally as they would in-person. Brands can do this by including unique visual design and creative UX that gamifies the buyer’s journey or increases convenience.

Screen Shot 2021-06-09 at 5.12.56 PM Pit Viper uses a Windows 1993 look and feel for their website to create a truly unique and memorable experience.

3) Create Personalized Experiences

These shoppers not only want to be surprised by new experiences, but also to feel like the brand knows what they want. While some generations are more likely to deem a brand knowing their preferences as ‘creepy’, Gen Z expects it. Because this age group is made up of digital natives (consumers who grew up on the internet), Gen Z is more accustomed to convenience and brands knowing them on a first-name basis. Personalized experiences can look like everything from personalized promotions sent via SMS marketing, to personalized upsells in the cart while they’re checking out.

4) Be A Brand With A Purpose

71% of teenagers believe that brands should give back to society. With social and environmental issues top of mind for this generation, they also aren’t afraid to boycott or ‘cancel’ brands online if they don’t feel the company is behaving responsibly. So, not only is it an attractor for Gen Z if brands maintain a sense of purpose, but it can also be a deal breaker if they don’t have one.

Screen Shot 2021-06-14 at 3.45.28 PM Nike showcased corporate social responsibility by committing more than $30 million towards COVID-19 response efforts.

How Brands Can Reach Gen Z

BVA has worked with many disruptive brands in the DTC space looking to create unique and scalable online experiences. Brands like UpWest and Chubbies Shorts have developed not only high-converting online storefronts, but also well-branded and seamless digital experiences that distinguish them from others in the industry.

Wondering how your brand can implement changes for a Gen Z audience and the evolving digital space? Schedule time to chat with BVA's eCommerce experts and strategists about your eCommerce strategy!