Navigating the world of gift shopping in the digital age brings a set of expectations from discerning customers searching for that perfect gift of appreciation for friends, family, bosses, or partners.
However, for Gen Z, the online shopping experience doesn’t get any better than having the convenience of accessing your brand’s platform from any device and having the luxury to pick and choose from various options.
Gen Z stands at the peak of online shopping, with 98% having smartphones and 97% utilizing social media as a source of shopping inspiration. The statistics speak volumes—63% of Gen Z individuals report shopping online at least once a week.
As this generation reshapes the landscape of online commerce, the pressure mounts on brands to swiftly adapt to evolving shopping habits and fulfill the ever-growing demands of this dynamic demographic.
Let's discuss how your brand can effectively and efficiently cater to Gen Z's demands. We will explore online gift-shopping habits and how you can leverage them to boost your sales and loyalty.
Seamless and intuitive Smartphone shopping experience
A 2023 report by SimplicityDX stated that 55% of Gen Z shoppers purchase via mobile devices. This means that more than half of all Gen Z shoppers (96%) use their smartphones to shop online as it’s convenient and always accessible.
Additionally, smartphones offer a more personalized shopping experience than websites, as the customer’s shopping history data can help to recommend relevant products.
Investing in developing a mobile-optimized platform can create more immersive shopping experiences for your Gen Z consumers.
For example, brands like Zara, H&M, and Beymen have mobile-optimized apps that help shoppers streamline their search.
Searching for gift items is already tasking; a mobile-optimized app optimally categorized into sections provides a seamless and intuitive shopping experience. Users can browse, search, and purchase products and collections easily.
Customization and Personal Touch
Gen Z shoppers value unique and personalized experiences. They want to express their individuality and creativity through the products they buy and the gifts they give.
Online gift shopping platforms that allow customization, whether through personalized messages, custom designs, or unique product configurations, are more likely to attract and retain Gen Z customers.
For example, some online shopping platforms offer services such as:
- Creating custom photo books, calendars, mugs, or shoes like Heron Preston’s Partnership with Zellerfeld
- Engraving or embroidering names, initials, or messages on products such as jewelry, watches, wallets, or clothing.
- Designing personalized greeting cards, invitations, or thank-you notes with templates, fonts, colors, or images.
- Choosing from different product options, such as sizes, colors, styles, or materials.
- Adding gift wrapping, ribbons, tags, or cards to the products.
Customization options allow Gen Z customers to create meaningful and memorable gifts that resonate with their or recipients’ tastes and interests. They also enhance the online gift shopping experience, shifting from conventional, one-size-fits-all gifting to a more meaningful and tailored approach.
Pick and Choose over Pre-defined Sets
Gen Z shoppers are known to be quite picky and make a purchase that reflects their mood or feelings that they want to pass across to gift recipients.
Interestingly, over 90 percent of Generation Z shoppers left a store at least once during holiday shopping because it didn’t have what they wanted to buy. On average, Gen Z shoppers did this four times, more than any other age group.
Gen Zs want to build their gift boxes, creating something unique.
From picking a combination of clothing items to Christmas baskets and cosmetics boxes, shoppers want to be able to build customized sets of gifts.
Although pre-determined sets of gift items are still in use, there is a steady shift towards customized sets that provide better personalized digital shopping experiences.
It is more cost-effective to allow shoppers to create gift boxes or baskets instead of pre-grouping them. Pre-grouped items often incur more labor costs and may not be bought out by consumers, resulting in no returns on investment.
Allowing customers to choose their own set of items increases customer satisfaction and ensures that every item has a higher chance of being sold.
Sustainability & Responsibility
Climate change, pollution, and ethical labor practices are significant concerns of Gen Zs. Hence, sustainability influences their decisions when choosing a retail brand for online gift shopping.
According to a 2023 survey by IBM, 73% of Gen Z consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. They want to know where products are sourced, how they are manufactured, and what the brand does to reduce its environmental impact.
This suggests that Gen Zs are willing to support brands that are committed to environmental and social responsibility and are more likely to boycott brands that are not sustainable.
As a result of these factors, sustainability is a significant competitive advantage for your brand.
From product sourcing to manufacturing processes, packaging, and shipping, your brand should demonstrate eco-friendliness and commitment to social responsibility.
You should work towards equipping shoppers with multiple choices regarding how their gifts are packaged. Gen Z gift shoppers will likely skip fancy, non-recyclable boxes for eco-friendly standard packaging.
Demonstrating commitment to sustainability is more likely to attract and retain Gen Z shoppers for your brand.
Understanding these Gen Z consumers' preferences, OPLOG has tailored its value-added services to meet these needs. We meticulously package your products in a manner that not only reflects your brand's identity but also resonates with your customers' values. With OPLOG, expect a packaging experience that's not just appealing but is steeped in environmental responsibility. A unique unboxing experience awaits your customers, one that aligns perfectly with your brand's commitment to sustainability.
Interactive and Immersive
Gen Zs seek online shopping experiences that mirror walking into a physical store. When gift shopping, they want to examine an item, try it on, and weigh their options all from the comfort of their homes.
Hence, online shops are leveraging virtual and augmented reality technologies to provide a more engaging and realistic shopping experience,
For example, Farfetch, a luxury fashion platform, uses VR/AR on its app that allows customers to see how different accessories look on them using their phone’s camera.
The app uses face mapping technology to create a realistic and accurate representation of the products on the customer’s face.
Sephora is another retail brand that has created an immersive experience for Gen Z shoppers using virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).
The company has a VR app that allows consumers to explore the aisles of their stores and try on makeup using a virtual avatar. Sephora has also launched an AR app allowing consumers to preview how makeup products look on their faces.
These are just a few examples of the many brands using interactive and immersive shopping experiences to attract and retain Gen Z shoppers.
Employing these technologies for your brand will put you on the path to meeting online shoppers' expectations, providing a more immersive and engaging shopping experience that will likely reduce returns and incorrect orders.
Social Media Influence
Social media is an essential source of information for Gen Z shoppers. They use platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram to discover, research, and buy products. They also trust online influencers more than traditional celebrities and often buy products based on their recommendations.
Social media influence 80% of Gen Z’s shopping.
As a result, social platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube have incorporated online shops into their platforms to enable retailers to maximize social engagement with sales.
Shoppers can buy items directly from the platforms without leaving the app. Instagram allows brands to tag and sell their items on their posts, so users can easily click and buy them, reducing the friction of going to a separate platform and finding the item.
Incorporating your online store into social media can boost brand awareness and appeal to Gen Z shoppers.
Digital Payment Options
Gen Z's preferences extend beyond the selection of products to the very method of transaction.
The surge in digital innovation has given rise to a generation that values convenience and demands seamless and secure payment options.
Digital payment methods, such as digital wallets and contactless payments, resonate with the inclination of Gen Z toward technological efficiency. Carrying physical wallets or dealing with cash is increasingly becoming old school for this generation, characterized by its deep immersion in the digital landscape.
Some of the common and popular digital payment methods for brands are:
- Credit and debit cards
- Digital wallets: Some examples are PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Amazon Pay.
- Bank transfers
- Digital currency: Some examples are cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, USDT, etc.
- Coupons and store gift cards
Online shops that recognize and cater to this shift are poised to enhance the overall shopping experience for Gen Z consumers.
Your brand should be able to provide various online payment options that don’t limit the shopper’s options. The emphasis is not merely on the transactional aspect but on creating a frictionless and enjoyable shopping journey.
Gen Zs place a premium on convenience and efficiency, with 45% considering it a crucial aspect of their online shopping journey. As such, it becomes imperative to uphold swift and efficient delivery choices, facilitate hassle-free returns, and provide a seamless customer service experience.
Having combined an immersive shopping experience with custom gift boxes and eco-friendly packaging, consumers still expect nothing less than on-time delivery of purchased items.
The truth is that consumers find it almost unforgivable when brands mess up their orders either through delays or delivery of the wrong items.
So, if a consumer is sending a gift, it's crucial that it arrives as informed, as a late arrival can significantly break the consumer’s trust in the brand.
This is where you must up your game on making timely deliveries, factoring in seasonal demand spikes.
However, achieving this isn’t always easy, as logistics can be tricky. Hence, partnering with a 3PL fulfillment company eases the pressure.
A 3PL service provider can assist in reducing delivery times while maintaining customer satisfaction, ensuring that packages arrive at recipients’ doorsteps on schedule.
Meeting up with the ever-changing demands of Gen Z can be daunting and requires constant iteration of your supply chain processes.
However, creating desirable shopping experiences for consumers is essential, as the rewards outweigh the efforts put in.
OPLOG offers 4PL services that harmonize your supply chain processes, elevating your customer experience and allowing you to focus on increasing your customer base.
We help you streamline your logistics operations from your customer’s first order to customization, packaging, and timely delivery across regions at scale.