It seems simple, but one of the best ways to engage Gen Z is to ask them for their opinions and ideas.
In fact, when Gen Zers share their opinions with or about retailers, they’re twice as likely to give positive feedback than complain. Sixty percent say it’s important for brands to value their opinions, and, 40% report that they give feedback to brands often or very often.
Inviting Gen Z to share what’s on their mind creates a feedback loop that provides Gen Z with a sense of ownership in the retailers they buy from, while giving retailers the more authentic and actionable insights. It also helps bring in new Gen Z customers: This generation overwhelmingly makes purchasing decisions based on peer feedback and online reviews.
To empower your Gen Z customers to engage, ask yourself these questions:
The methods of gathering feedback have changed. Static review forms and lengthy questionnaires show Gen Z that your brand isn’t quite “with it,” and thus doesn’t understand how they operate. The traditional customer service model is outdated--today, savvy brands are building customer experience and engagement teams, often staffed with “community managers” whose roles center on fostering connections with (and gathering input from) shoppers. While the most popular method among Gen Z is writing reviews directly on retailer websites, this generation is more likely than Millennials to provide feedback via Twitter or posts on Facebook and Snapchat. Ensure you’re active and constantly gathering feedback across those channels.
Gen Z is eager to provide far more than just product reviews. Forty-four percent said they would submit product ideas if given the opportunity, compared to 43% that said they would participate in a product review. Reach beyond simple product feedback to address business opportunities and challenges, and you might find that Gen Zers are your new “consultants.” Their insights can direct product development, brand marketing, pricing models, store locations, payment options, and more. (Many Afterpay partners have joined our platform at the suggestion of their own customers!)
This is becoming even more important as brick-and-mortar stores continue to reopen post-COVID. If you’re not already, now is an important time to engage Gen Z in conversation around reopenings, to learn what they’re comfortable with and how they want to shop in a COVID world.
Even more, Gen Zers can be powerful content creators: 36% would create digital content for a brand if given the opportunity to. That content doesn’t have to all live on owned brand channels, even when solicited. Encourage your customers to share their thoughts on social media, and especially YouTube: Twice as many Gen Zers turn to YouTube before making a purchase than Millennials. Not only do they want honest, authentic feedback from peers, but they want to see the product “in action,” put to use in real life.
With feedback, it’s important to respond appropriately and quickly. While most positive reviews can be left alone (unless your brand has a robust customer engagement team), it’s wise to thank some customers for good reviews, and imperative to address negative reviews or problems. Doing so on a public forum demonstrates that your brand is receptive to feedback of all flavors, and ready to make things right, or just express gratitude.
Gen Zers are more likely to share their opinion if they know they’re going to be heard. Speed is vital, too. Remember that Gen Z is always connected and adept at bouncing between different social and messaging apps. They expect a chat-like experience with brands, especially when they experience a problem.
Although Gen Z is eager to speak up, they still want to be compensated for their time and insights, which they know are valuable to brands. Incentives can be as simple as a status or badging system to provide visible seniority to frequent contributors or “experts,” to discounts, access to exclusive products, sneak peeks, or rewards. Incentives are well worth the investment, and may end up costing less than traditional focus groups, which don’t always reach a brand’s actual, active customers.
The best incentive of them all? Showing Gen Z the changes, improvements, or new offerings their feedback has resulted in. Once Gen Zers see their feedback and ideas brought to life, they’ll be eager to spread the word, advocate for your brand, and continue being a loyal customer.