Sorry, mall-based retailers… Gen Z is just not that into you. Yet don’t take this to mean that they don’t visit your stores. Gen Z still prefers to browse online and purchase in store –– particularly when shopping for clothing. They’re also still willing to pay a premium for memorable, unique in-store experiences.
Notable variances in generational shopping behavior have emerged during the pandemic. Namely, the fact that Gen Z and millennials are more interested in connecting with brands than retailers. But brands can’t be passive in the connection process. New expectations for engagement, transparency and corporate social responsibility from brands are emerging in 2022.
With trust, transparency and sustainability at the forefront of their list of priorities, young shoppers are on trajectory to become the “millennials on steroids” they were once deemed to be. And in this environment, brands will need to reevaluate whether a top-down management style without open communication from the frontline to the C-suite is still tenable.
Does this mean that the superstar retailer –– like Macy’s in days of yore –– is soon to be a thing of the past? That depends on the brands with which they form alliances.
It’s Getting Harder for Brands to Gain Consumer Trust
Remember the call for retail transparency that came to be in the early aughts? Journalists and retail analysts alike were singing the praises of brands like Everlane, Away and Glossier. However, in the past three years, it’s emerged that the brands leading the charge on transparency aren’t all that transparent. Even companies with the most trackable supply chains have ethical disparities happening behind glass doors.
The transparency bubble burst with Everlane, a direct-to-consumer fashion business, when employees began to speak out about racism within the company. Away luggage company went through a similar reckoning, when news got out about internal bullying and a culture of overworking. And Glossier? Well, Glossier’s fortunes also turned when employees spoke out about racism and a toxic work environment. Do you see a pattern here?