Building Brand Loyalty With Generation Z

Brands will find huge differences across generations when it comes to customer loyalty. While Generation Z is complicated and demanding, they are maturing and have immense purchasing power. Is your company ready to win their advocacy?

Some say loyalty as we know it may be dead with Generation Z shoppers. Dubbed ‘Centennials’ by many, this next generation of shopper is expected to reshape customer expectations as we know it.

Who Are Gen-Z?

Generation Z, or Gen-Z are people born in 1996 or later… and they are about to take over. According to Forbes, in 2020, this generation will be the largest consumer group in the world making up over 40% of the customer base. And their needs and shopping behaviors will force brands to rethink their marketing approaches more than the last three generations combined. Unique challenges businesses face by Gen-Z include:

  • Short attention spans: It is no wonder that this group has a short attention span. They have been raised to express everything in code and 140 character bursts. Lengthy posts and brand messaging will bore them to death.
  • They expect perfection: While these teens are like their predecessors in many ways, the biggest difference is in the tools they have access to and use. They can jump from one app to the next — from pics to posts — from conversation to shopping and returns with ease. In other words, they want their experiences to be seamless in every way.
  • They value opinions: Community is key. If they can’t access multiple opinions, reviews and views on a product, it severely affects their purchasing decision.
  • Mature treatment: They know they’re young, but they don’t expect to be treated as such. Gen-Z are achieving the same success at 19 as their parents did a decade older.

In other words, customer experience is everything to this generation. And they will be loyal if you adapt to their needs.

Rethinking Your Approach to Loyalty

Gen Z’s impact on consumer culture is increasing. Brands need to recognize a one-size-fits-all approach simply won’t cut it when it comes to this generation and it’s time to act fast in gaining brand loyalty. So what steps can businesses take to win them over? Here are a few business strategies to consider.

  • Aim for convenience: Generation Z demands the immediate convenience of browsing, shopping and customer service delivered through mobile and social-media channels. Your business strategy, from customer service to marketing to recruitment, needs to put convenience first.
  • Focus on value, not gimmicks: In addition to spending money on pricey marketing campaigns that create perceived value, focus on actual value through better quality, design and manufacturing. The focus will help elevate the reputation of your company and create promoters of your brand through its users.
  • Technology matters: There has never been a generation that is so natively digital to its core. Brands need to adapt in order to connect. They must embrace Gen Z and make changes to their loyalty programs that allow them to keep up with the fast-paced lives of the first digitally-native generation.
  • Recognize diversity: Previously, brands have relied on the allure of exclusivity to promote their loyalty programs. But Gen Zers are exceptionally diverse and focused on individualism. Companies that can show they are relatable to Gen Z’s sense of self and unique lifestyle will have more success at forming long-term relationships with their customers in this generation.
  • Be transparent: Generation Z is the generation of sharing — everything — and they expect the same from their companies of choice. Through transparent social media, online reviews and public responses, companies should be willing and prepared to face challenges head-on with a well thought out and, more importantly, “rapid-response” strategy for dealing with conflicts.

Don’t Repeat Mistakes

In order to show the new generations to come you care, adapt your previous sins of the past and create new strategies to accommodate the evolving expectations. We need to learn from where we went wrong with Millennials to realize how we can connect with Gen Z before it is too late. When the importance of forming relationships is ignored, brands are doomed to failure.

Ultimately, Generation Z is unique in that members both respect and value individuality while placing great importance on group acceptance. It is a complicated balance, one that will baffle older generations of marketers, but provides a great opportunity to companies who understand and can provide this. To win the hearts (and loyalty) of this new generation of consumers, it’s crucial for marketers to grasp the demands of the fresh-to-market generation who, like Millennials before them, are poised to significantly shape consumer behavior and expectations for years to come.


Customer Experience Research from BARE International

Understanding Gen Z’s creative habits, activism, and rejection of peer status provides loyalty marketers with insights into this influential and complicated group. To truly understand and keep up-to-date with this generation entails continuous customer research. The good news? Through over 30 years of customer experience research, BARE International can help you.

How We Can Help

Whether you call them customers, guests, patients, patrons, riders, fans or clients, BARE International can create a program to measure their experience interacting with your brand.

Businesses like yours come to us to find answers, and stay with BARE because we build relationships and custom, long-term solution programs. Our average client relationships last beyond 8 years, compared to an industry average of 2 years. This longevity allows us to really know and understand your business and its particular challenges.

Our services can be customized to create just the right research program to address your needs. If you’d like to know more, or receive a complementary evaluation of your business, contact us here today.