In the digital realm, where the line between the physical and virtual worlds blur, no one navigates the online shopping landscape with as much ease as Gen Z. Born into a world of rapid technological advancements, this demographic has changed the game and forced retailers to rethink their online experience. 

Alongside millennials, Gen Z account for 25% of the total retail spend in the UK and this is only set to increase as more Gen Z enter the workforce and increase their disposable income. Now is the time for retailers to invest in post-purchase, with this key generation in mind. 

I’ve witnessed first-hand the shift brought about by the more digitally native among us. From demanding superior online experiences to craving more engaging social interactions, Gen-Z is not just a colloquial term. They are a wake-up call to brands everywhere.

Understanding the Gen Z Shopper

Gen Z shoppers are not your average consumers. They have grown up with the internet, social media and touchscreens at their fingertips. This familiarity with technology has made them adept at shopping across multiple devices, often simultaneously. 

They seek not just transactions but experiences – seamless, personalised, and engaging at every touchpoint. For them, the journey doesn’t end at checkout. It extends into how brands communicate with them post-purchase.

The Crucial Post-Purchase Phase

The post-purchase phase is often overlooked by brands, much to their detriment. Our recent survey of over 2,000 UK consumers found that, after purchase, only one quarter of shoppers (25%) receive branded email communication from online retailers, while the rest are left at the mercy of third-party carriers. 

We know that 20% of Gen-Z always read their post-purchase emails, and another 34% read them regularly. Therefore, it’s an opportunity missed for retailers to retain first-time shoppers and increase the lifetime value of existing ones. 

What are these young consumers eager to find in their post-purchase emails? Promotions and offers top the list (45%), followed by information on loyalty programs (43%) and product recommendations (31%). Only 22% of Gen-Z shoppers are content with just order status updates. This is a stark contrast to the one-third average (33%) across all other age groups. It underscores the fact that young people expect far more from post-purchase communications than their older counterparts.

Tailoring the Experience

This generation appreciates tailored communication and is significantly more receptive to messages that resonate with their individual preferences and behaviours. 

At Shipup, we know that half of 18-25 year olds find customer reviews important (50%) – it impacts their impression of a brand and their decision to shop online. Shoppers appreciate being able to flick through positive and negative reviews of a brand. 

This is compared to just 41% across all other age groups. Peer opinions influence Gen Z shopping decisions and brand perceptions more so than people from different age demographics. Retailers need to be aware of this and tailor post-purchase communications to this effect. 

In addition, younger shoppers expect more than just a detailed delivery status update in their parcel tracking communications from retailers or carrier providers. We know that over one third (36%) want exclusive discounts and offers included in this update. 

What’s more, 22% want customer recommendations for additional products – a figure that surpasses the 13% average across other age demographics. Gen-Z expects brands to open up to them at every stage of the post-purchase journey – from payment, to carrier updates, right through to delivery. They don’t just desire information but actively seek an ongoing dialogue that enriches their brand experience.

The path forward

Retailers and brands need to start meeting the demands of Gen Z consumers. The post-purchase phase, often relegated to the background, must be reimagined and reinvigorated. Brands that fail to engage young shoppers with personalised, relevant, and dynamic communications post-purchase are missing out on a golden opportunity to build lasting relationships.

Investing in technology that enables hyper-personalisation – from AI-driven product recommendations to real-time delivery updates and personalised discounts – is imperative. Additionally, leveraging social media platforms for marketing and post-purchase engagement can significantly enhance the customer experience.

Capturing the minds of Gen Z

The key to capturing the hearts and wallets of Gen-Z shoppers lies in understanding their unique preferences and delivering a hyper-personalised online shopping experience. 

From sharing user generated content (UGC) to tailoring product recommendations, every interaction post-purchase should be tailored to meet their expectations. As we look to the future, brands that look to engage with, inspire, and learn from Gen Z will win their loyalty and set a new standard for online retail in the digital age.

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