Generation Z, is the name given for people born between 1994 and 2004. You may say, what money do they have, and why should I cater to them. To start, Generation Z has more influence offer money than any other generation before them, with access to almost 600 Billion dollars. I should add here, that Generation Z are mainly the kids of Generation X, those reblus children of the 80’s; who have made more money than all generations before with the advent of technology. Generation Z has more access to money than any other generation before them. Unlike any other Generation Z has grown up with technology. They have grown up with the ability to get almost unlimited information with a few key strokes; they have grown up with Google! Unless something major happens this trend is not changing so as a small business owner, its better to adapt and change.
By now you are asking yourself how Gen Z has so much influence over money; well it’s due to the Gen X parenting style: overindulgence. But without going into generational differences, Gen Z want the information, and want it now. Want to sell to them? You better be online, have a social media presence, and connect with them. Want them to visit your store? Well if they can’t see pictures, or take a tour, then its NEXT, no I’ll come back later. So how do you get them into your business? Well easy; it’s so easy that almost anyone can do it. Get a website and make sure it is up to date and attractive, have a social media presence, use Facebook, Google +, Twitter, and YouTube. With a generation of visual learners, make videos, have a YouTube channel, and have a tour of your business. If you do nothing to engage them then will have trouble getting them in your business.
There is no real immunity to this, unless you are a grocery store, garage, or a select part of the service industry; but those businesses are becoming less and less safe. In some places I can buy my food online, and have it delivered when I want it delivered, need my oil changed, the mechanic comes to me. Now what does that mean for you, well if you’re not online, you are not going to grow. In the old days, really in the past few years you had to have a huge inventory in store of everything, now stores are display centers, where you can see, interact and paly with the item. Customers can buy some items in store, but must items will be in your hands in 2 days. Generation Y and Generation Z want customization, and expect that option. Now you’re saying they don’t know what they want or it costs too much; but the 25 year old who has a decent job has no problem blowing money on something he/she wants. We are almost to the point that cars will be bought and built like computers. Want to see the item, they go online. Want to see the product set up, they go online and use GOOGLE. Should I also point out in the US, you can get almost anything a Wal-Mart sells from a few clicks of a mouse or taps on a screen.
Food industry watch out, Gen Z like to eat out more than any other generation. Everyone comments on people taking pictures of food, but guess what, they are now selling your food and you don’t know it. Now more then ever Gen Z relay on their network, that picture of your meal they put on Instrigram, tweeted about or put on Facebook; gets you more exposure then you thought. Gen Z is reliant on their network, and the opinions of those in their networks. A young girl will likely tweet a question before buying a product. Instrigram sells food, and Facebook sells all. If you want to attract these customers, first you have to get them in, and then engage them. If you are a restaurant owner I challenge you to track what is ordered on your menu, and I bet the item with a picture is near the top of the list. Want to get more sales, make an app, allowing someone to see all your dishes, and see the description and ingredients. Get them in the door with your tour, and hand them a tablet, along with the menu. The businesses that adapt are the ones that succeed.
Where this is leading is to succeed, you have to adapt and change how you do business to stay in business. Gone are the days of where customers will go to you; when Amazon brings your product to them. Brick and mortar business is not dead, but without adapting, yours could. How to adapt is get online. A virtual tour of your business scores more points with people under 30, as looks are everything. Visual sells, and if customers can’t see where they are going, what they are buying; then well they may not go there. Show off your business, show off your products, and get on Social media. If a customer visits your store or office, then you should have no problem showing it off to the world. A Virtual tour is advertising, this is a way to allow customers to view products, see things, and interact with your business. For example, you sell clothing, allowing a customer to see the selection of brands or lines you sell is better than saying “Brand X sold here”.
I want to leave this with a question, ask a 15 to 18 year old to find something like a restaurant phone number. What will they use: Google or Yellow Pages? (Online yellow pages don’t count as they will likely find that by Google). My bets are on Google, try it yourself and comment below.