Typically, back-to-school shopping marks an uptick in consumer spending - and it starts earlier than you think: Many shoppers start shopping two months before classes begin.
This past year and the changes it brought were far from average. With pandemic restrictions easing across the country and many schools returning to full-time in-person training, brands must reflect current realities and reach back-to-school consumers in ways that resonate with them.
Even this fall, some millennials will still be heading to colleges and universities, but Gen Z will rule them all. The younger generation is picking out their back-to-school clothing and asking their parents for bigger backpacks or school supplies right now, while the early 20-somethings are stocking their dorm rooms. It's all about Gen Z trends when it comes to today's back-to-school marketing strategy.
Matching the values of Generation Z and providing seamless communication are essential parts of marketing to them.
Retail marketers, who are still getting used to marketing to millennials, face a brave new world in the Gen Z market. It has taken a while for communications and marketing technology strategies to catch up with how millennials want to interact with brands - personalized emails, meaningful content, text alerts, and Facebook messenger.
Back-to-School Marketing Strategy
Marketers need to take a different approach when marketing to Gen Z compared to millennials.
Gen Z wants everything that a millennial would want and so much more. If you are trying to get into Gen Z marketing and are looking to develop meaningful, satisfying customer experiences through cloud technology, you should pay attention to these tips.
Gen Z consumers are becoming more connected to brands in recent months, which has added to their creativity. Your brand can use the apps teens use to reach your audience since they spend a lot of time socially disconnected and on their phones. By 2022, you'll be ahead of the game if you offer a mobile-friendly personalized ad experience.
Why Gen Z Uses Self-service
The average adult remembers when a computer took 20 minutes to boot and 20 minutes to connect to the internet via dial-up. However, most people would rather have their inboxes load in a few seconds rather than several minutes. It's worse for Gen Z since they don't even remember waiting for communication. That's why they're more inclined to order food via apps - fast food can't keep up.
They have also established a reputation for being self-reliant along with their need for speed. Their smartphones make it easy for them to research everything they want to know online, often more quickly than adults around them. The self-reliant don't take advantage of good customer service; they prefer to research and shop since that is quicker.
Consumers desire seamless, meaningful experiences from retailers, but they do not want long processes or excessive intrusions. This is where communications APIs come in. Brand presence is improved on social networks, mobile apps, and the company's website when and if customers need help. You can even process orders as part of a social media chatbot without sending the customer to an e-commerce site.
Think Social When It Comes to Gen Z Marketing
The news for retailers is both good and bad. It is terrible news that the Gen Z market is not as loyal as millennials are to brands, but it is good that they tend to be less price-motivated. An Ernst & Young survey shows Gen Z is looking for brands that value what matters to them and care about the issues that matter to them.
Millennials (45 percent) see loyalty programs as making a store unique to them, but Gen Z will only agree with 30 percent. Loyalty programs are more important to younger generations than shopping cards, special events, and special nights out.
Social media is the perfect place to reach Gen Z because they are loyal to their friends and their values, making it possible to reach them via social media. Social media influences more than three-quarters of millennials and Gen Z consumers. They also expect brands to be part of conversations about social issues that matter to them since these young people are driven by social and values issues.
Social media marketing starts with the right message and spreads it, but retailers can deepen connections and monetize interactions with advanced communications technology. There are platforms that enables retailers to implement real-time communication (voice, video, text, or instant messaging) into social channels via developer-friendly APIs. The customer can also communicate with the brand directly when engaging with the brand's content. They can ask questions, get suggestions, and even make purchases without ever leaving the social site by phone, text, chat, or even using a chatbot.
Social Issues Are Important to Gen Z
Young people from Gen Z care deeply about social, political, and environmental issues. Thanks to the wealth of information and perspectives at their fingertips, they are well-informed, empathetic, and confident. Consumers in this generation buy products that align with their values, so they are more inclined to support brands they believe are doing good.
A new awareness, an increased sense of empathy, and a new belief system sprang from the events of 2020. The nation has been changed, isolated, and devastated in the last year, and Gen Z wants to help.
Brands are taking a stand in 2021 by leveraging their unique products, services, and technologies to drive change and benefit their communities. For example, H&M quickly leveraged its supply chain to begin producing protective gear for frontline workers as soon as the pandemic began. To keep families entertained at home, Cards Against Humanity released a free, family-friendly version. WHO took over the Instagram accounts of several fashion brands. Gen Z wants brands to use their platforms to influence change in 2021, and brands have an opportunity to do so with powerful platforms.
Among the many marketing strategies available to retailers, these are just a few that will help them connect with future generations. Back-to-school marketing will soon be done with many schools already back in session, as well, but retailers will likely continue to study the science of marketing for gen Z for years to come.