Retail and Generation Z

Retail and Generation Z

Gen Z is the first generation to grow up entirely with digital and mobile technology. The preconceived notion that Gen Zers only purchase online is inaccurate. Interestingly enough, in-store shopping is the preferred source for the Gen Zer.

According to the ICSC’s The Rise of the Gen Z Consumer report released in June, many factors influence Gen Z’s purchasing habits. According to research analytics completed by ICSC, 85% of Gen Zers’ purchases are influenced by social media. Gen Z is also a generation that learns from others, and the 2008 economic crisis taught them to be more selective with their purchases. They prefer to support companies that value the following: mental health (53%), climate change (47%), race & gender equality (47%), ethical labor (42%), LGBTQ rights (26%), and political alignments (20%).

So, what can a retail organization do to reinvigorate the in-store shopping experience for Gen Z?

  1. Keep merchandise that has gone viral or is prevalent on social media channels in stock and, if the product is not in stock, make ordering online easy and reduce shipping costs.
  2. Increase social media posts regarding products and/or events to attract Gen Z consumers.
  3. Make the payment structure in-store and online for consumers as quick, easy and secure as possible.
  4. Ensure a strong customer experience online and in-store meaning invest in the aesthetics of the location to make it appealing for customers’ social media postings.
  5. Trust is important to Gen Zers. Hire vital customer service employees then make it easy to quickly “chat” with them (we all know Gen Zers do not like talking on the phone). Also, be responsive to and constructive when replying to customer reviews online. Gen Zers read them.

For retail companies to succeed with this demographic, our advice is to invest in the following positions:

  • Chief Experience Officers that understand customer needs and create strategies to attract and retain customers.
  • Social Media leaders able to research the values, preferences and important influencers and convert that information into a customer engagement strategy.
  • Innovative Information Technology leaders to navigate the quickly changing landscape with regards to things like electronic payment and social media applications, as well as tackle the security risks associated with them.
  • Chief Innovation Officers, the “company motivators,” unlock new ideas and build strategies around them that keep things fresh for employees and customers.
  • HR leaders dedicated to DE&I and employee well-being.

The team at CA Search Advisors works closely with our retail clients to fill these roles and many others. Let us bring the best talent to you!



Amy Bauer, Co-Founder and Managing Principal


Katie Becker, Co-Founder and Managing Principal