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Saviours of the high street: Three reasons Generation Z are set to spark a retail renaissance

November 4, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Stories in the media don’t paint a rosy picture for high street retailers, with skyrocketing rents, business rates and staffing costs making it increasingly expensive to run a bricks-and-mortar store. At the same time, consumers have been ditching the high street for online shopping.

Many retailers have found it difficult to stay afloat. Around 2,500 shops closed their doors in 2018 alone, and once-dominant chains like Debenhams and House of Fraser have had to drastically restructure to fight off extinction.

Some stores, however, like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister and House of Vans, are bucking this downward trend by harnessing the power of Generation Z and its growing love affair with bricks-and mortar retail.

So, why is it that our youngest cohort of shoppers (18-25 year-olds) are set to revive the high street, and what can shops do to maximise this potential to increase footfall in-store, increase sales, and ultimately increase their profit margins?

1. Different attitudes

Where 41% of Millennials “showroom” and try out products instore before buying them for cheaper online on their phones, Gen Zers tend to prefer the experience of shopping instore. 59% of them shunned online supermarkets and preferred to shop in-store when doing the weekly food shop.

2. Instant reward

Even in an age of next-day Amazon delivery and free returns on ASOS.com, there appears to be no substitute for trying something out and being able to buy it that very second. 73% of Gen Z said they would go into a store to try something on before committing to a purchase, and so that they didn’t have to wait for deliver. No surprise for a generation conditioned to expect instant gratification.

3. Children of the financial crash

The lack of shipping costs that come with in-store shopping is also appealing, with 42% of our survey saying that no shipping costs was a clear benefit. It’s exactly the kind of money-conserving attitude that one might expect from such a financially conscious demographic, and one that grew up during a recession.

With this change in attitude at the forefront of retailer’s minds, stores should ensure they cater for Gen Z’s shopping habits and preferences if they want to attract and keep this new demographic. First and foremost, it’s clear that Gen Z value the in-store experience, so providing an environment that is unique, engaging, and – dare we say it – “Instagrammable”, will attract the attention of shoppers.

Gen Z’s are also rapidly moving away from cash, so it’s important to embrace this and make the payments process as seamless and invisible as possible. Think more innovative Amazon Go store, less cash-only convenience store.

For more insights on how Generation Z is set to transform the retail industry, read our whitepaper, Are Payments the Key to Maximising Gen Z Appeal for the High Street? here.

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Tags: On-Premise Payment, Retail

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