Generation Z buys differently than other generations.
Prior to Generation Z, consumers were limited with the amount of information and research they could do on their own. Much of the consumer research was executed in a physical store where the eager salesperson was ready to "sell" the product or service.
Generation Z's buying and decision-making process are different. Generation Z uses search engines and social networks to research, then they allow their personal networks to weigh in on their buying decision via social media.
Similar to a B2B buying process, Generation Z is buying by committee for important decisions or for everyday buying decisions such as clothing or food. They are looking for consensus among their network.
If Generation Z does not purchase directly online, the shopping process is just about complete by the time they arrive at the physical store. Brick and mortar stores were once the purchase point but are now the pick-up point.
Generation Z's buying decision is finally complete upon receiving the intended likes and comments in responses to the unboxing video or unveiling product posted on online.
How can brands successfully insert themselves into Generation Z's buying process?
Earn their attention and loyalty through a compelling narrative.
"Generation Z are all authors in their own way and they are publishing their autobiography every single day. They are adding a chapter...and if you want a placement in that chapter, you can't be just a commercial, you have to be part of the story," says Michael Solomon, professor of marketing at Saint Joseph's University Haub School of Business, in my recent interview with him.
Before buying, Generation Z will ask themselves, "How does [this product or service] actively fit into the narrative of my life?"
"Generation Z are thinking about brands in a different way," says Solomon. Generation Z wonder how the brand tells the story of their life.
Solomon urges brands to tell their story authentically and to leverage their heritage. "If brands have an interesting backstory, tell that story and tell it often," says Solomon.
Listen to my full interview with Michael Solomon here.