Young consumers are prized by retailers these days, but not just because they freely share their enthusiasms for favored brands, products and services. It’s because they freely share so much about themselves!
Along with millennials, the roughly 70 million members of Generation Z—those Americans between seven and 22– are actively engaged on social media sites and feeds where they’re sharing vast amounts of personal information, according to Retail TouchPoints.
The retail news and trends provider reports that some 60 percent of millennials tweet on Twitter every day, 96 percent of Gen Z teens are on YouTube, and almost 70 percent of Gen Zers are on Instagram. What’s more, as many as 75 percent of Millennials and Gen Z are willing to share detailed information about themselves in exchange for a personalized experience, according to CrowdTwist, an omni-channel loyalty and analytics platform for marketers seeking to acquire, engage and retain customers. In fact, they’re going so far as to share their locations, behavior, even facial recognition “prints.”
But not for nothing. In exchange, these savvy young consumers expect something more than digital ads in return–such as better, more personalized service and experiences, as opposed to just ads. They also want to feel that companies understand them and design their shopping experiences around them. A lack of demonstrated understanding, according to Retail Touch Points, can make these highly-engaged and participatory shoppers feel that they don’t belong. And they’re like to know it if they do!
Which is where shared personal data comes into play for retailers. By knowing who shops at their stores, what they buy there, what they order online and what they buy from competitors enables retailers to understand this audience and give them a sense of belonging with a brand. That, in turn, leads to better service and shopping experiences, faster interactions, brand loyalty and sales.
How can companies give millennials and Gen Zers real value? Retail TouchPoints suggests the following steps:
- Get out of your self-generated silos. Determine where your customers’ input can improve the customer experience–higher service, lower friction, speed, better products, etc.—to drive better business results;
- Determine what data would help you get there, and how that data directly affects the individual consumer experience, not just your bottom line;
- Develop a data analysis and collection strategy, determine how you are going to analyze the most relevant customer data, then develop your collection plan;
- Finally, get started. Young consumers don’t expect perfection, just authentic in helping them successfully navigating their brand experience.
To help get you started, think about what resonates with you as a consumer. Do you find yourself endlessly scrolling through social media, thinking “why am I being served this particular ad?” Or do you think “wow, this company really gets me?” If you’re thinking the latter, look into some of your favorite brands’ tactics to see how they are doing it right and how you can adapt that personal touch marketing into your strategy.