The food retail industry isn’t new to adjusting store operations to accommodate customers’ ever-changing needs and shopping behavior. When it comes to demographics, food retailers have shifted tides for boomers who constantly want to shop in-store, while at the same time adopting the online revolution to cater to the demands of the millennials.
Now, times have changed because the new kids on the block, Gen Zs are here and they are slowly but surely shaping the food retail landscape. Dubbed ‘digital natives’ and born into technology, Gen Z is disrupting industries worldwide and rapidly influencing how we do things in food retail with their shopping behavior.
Who is Gen Z and what power do they hold, knowing they are the newest group of consumers on every food retailer’s radar?
The Power of Gen Z
Generation Z, also known as zoomers or the iGeneration, is the group of people born after 1998. According to Business Insider (a fast-growing business site with deep financial, media, tech, and other industry verticals), in 2020, Gen Z’s accounted for 40% of US consumers with a total purchasing power of $143 billion. This generation’s great buying power makes them a force with which to be reckoned.
Characterized as a generation that values technology, accessibility, and convenience, and looks after the welfare of the planet and its future, Gen Z makes conscious efforts in their buying decisions – translating even to how they shop for their groceries. This more well-educated generation opens challenges and opportunities for food retailers around the country to innovate and strategize ways to embrace Gen Z’s shopping habits.
Elevating the In-store and Online Shopping Experience
While Gen Z literally can get whatever they want with just a few taps on their phone screens, they are still all-in for the experience of shopping in grocery stores – they want the best of both worlds. That is why elevating the in-store and online shopping platforms is critical to creating a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience that would mesh with Gen Z’s needs. A key tactic to elevate in-store shopping for Gen Z is to create a unique experiential journey for them for the duration of their time spent in the store. This includes creatively turning store designs and merchandise displays into an environment that Gen Z’s will surely enjoy, replete with features like transforming floor space into an immersive kitchen, incorporating social media components into the in-store shopping experience, and adding Instagram-worthy displays.
Because smartphones are essentially extensions to Gen Z’s arms, it is imperative for retailers to likewise enhance their online platforms, like their apps, websites, and social media channels. By embracing technology to make online shopping simple, fast, convenient, and frictionless, food retailers are getting a share of Gen Z’s dollar spending and hitting on more valuable sales. Most importantly, since Gen Zs want to buy from ethical businesses that align with their values, food retailers should be transparent about their supply chain with regards to how and where foods are produced, and with greater emphasis on sustainability and environmentally friendly initiatives. From their affinity with the popular social media app, Tiktok, to always being on top of the latest trends, Gen Zs are designed to be smart shoppers. With the influence they possess, and the impact they have to further drive industry change, food retailers should not underestimate the power of Gen Z. Food retailers must consider adapting new strategies to cater to this generation and attract their dollar spend into the overall retailer’s customer portfolio