Consumers today expect a fully integrated shopping experience regardless of whether they are shopping in-store or online. Unfortunately, inconsistent messaging, inventory discrepancies and failure to recognize customers across digital and physical channels are just some of the many factors that continue to break an otherwise seamless shopping experience.
Delivering a less-than-optimal shopping experience might have been sufficient pre-pandemic, but millennial and Gen Z consumers see it as non-negotiable today.
Millennial consumers, for one, value convenience above anything else, whether they are making grocery purchases online or buying clothes and accessories. On the other hand, Gen Z has a penchant for shopping in physical stores but making purchases online.
Meeting the needs of younger shoppers — Gen Z in particular — means retailers must unify their in-store and online channels and deliver a friction-free shopping experience.
“Gen Z doesn’t distinguish between offline and online. Rather, they view shopping as a singular retail experience that’s the sum of all of a brand’s touchpoints and channels,” said BigCommerce’s Director of Content Melissa Dixon, in a recent interview with Retail Bum.
Delivering a seamless in-store and online experience requires retailers to rethink their technological capabilities with a focus on bringing together integrations, data and personalization. At the same time, they must leverage their brand values and effectively communicate them to their customers to show authenticity and substance.
“In order to build brand loyalty, brands have to be connected with shoppers on two levels: First, there’s the technological level – which is where and how they shop – and secondly, there is the human level, which is the emotional connection at the root of why and what they buy. When those two converge, that’s when shoppers turn into repeat customers,” Dixon said.
With millennials and Gen Z consumers continuing to gain spending power, it is imperative for retailers to get their act together. Millennials, for one, today wield an enormous spending power at $2.5 trillion per annum.
Together, millennials and Gen Z shoppers account for 42% of the U.S. population and hold more than $3 trillion in combined spending power.
Brands that fail to bridge the divide in their in-store and online experience stand to not only lose business to digitally native brands and larger players but also become irrelevant in the eyes of their customers.