What Gen Z Cares About

Cause-related merchandise at At Barre in Greenville, NC


Gen Z shoppers are interested in spending their money at companies in tune with their values, finds a new survey from Businessweek/Morning Consult. Retailers already understand that Gen Z as a group are not just digital natives but social media natives (look for them on Instagram and YouTube). But understanding more about what motivates them can help storeowners tap into this growing market. While millennials—whether dancers themselves or dance moms—are core customers at dancewear stores, coming up right behind them is Gen Z, which will top 61 million roughly 7- to 22-year-olds in the United States. 

Key Findings Gen Z consumers are more likely to support companies that promote social initiatives and have a social purpose, according
to the study, which surveyed some 11,000 adults in early 2019. Here’s how Gen Z consumers compare with other generations when it comes to specific social initiatives. 

44 percent of Gen Z would pay more if a company were promoting environmental initiatives, versus 44 percent of millennials, 35 percent of Gen Xers and 32 percent of boomers.

42 percent of Gen Z would pay more if a company were promoting racial justice initiatives, versus 35 percent of millennials, 25 percent of Gen Xers and 22 percent of boomers.

40 percent of Gen Z would pay more if a company were promoting gender equality initiatives, versus 35 percent of millennials, 23 percent of Gen Xers and 19 percent of boomers.

37 percent of Gen Z would pay more if a company were promoting LGBT initiatives, versus 27 percent of millennials, 16 percent of Gen Xers and 13 percent of boomers.

Takeaway Being a small local business may put you at an advantage when it comes to this values-driven generation. According to SCORE, the small business mentoring organization, small businesses donate 250 percent more than larger businesses to local nonprofits and community causes. They give to local charities (66 percent), support youth organizations (48 percent), aid local service groups and donate food or volunteer in soup kitchens. And 81 percent plan on giving in 2019. 

As a dance retailer, you certainly support your local dance community, and many of you also contribute to broader social initiatives that are important to you, whether it is feeding hungry kids, adopting environmentally sound practices and products, or funding scholarships. Consider taking it another step: Invite your youngest customers to join with you to support the causes that matter to them (and to you), and then share your mission with your whole customer base. Doing good may also mean your business does well. 

Instagram Pushes Further into Shopping

In-app purchases are introduced. 

This spring, Instagram introduced a beta checkout tool that allows shoppers browsing on the social media platform to purchase products without leaving the app. By tapping to view a product from a brand’s shopping post, a consumer sees a “Checkout on Instagram” button on the product page. They then can select from various options such as size or color and proceed to payment without leaving Instagram. Customers need only to enter their name, e-mail, billing information and shipping address the first time they check out. After the first order, shoppers’ information is securely saved for convenient shopping the next time. Customers also will be notified about shipment and delivery right inside Instagram, so they can keep track of their purchase.

For now, Instagram Checkout is only available to select businesses (some 20 large retailers such as MAC Cosmetics, Adidas and H&M). “For brands, access to checkout will be limited during this closed beta,” Instagram stated in its announcement. “When we expand, businesses will be able to integrate directly or work with partners including Shopify, BigCommerce, ChannelAdvisor, CommerceHub and more in the future.” What’s clear is that shopping on Instagram will continue to grow. “Checkout is just one part of our long-term investment in shopping,” Instagram states. “We’re excited to introduce even more ways for people to enjoy shopping on Instagram this year.” Stay tuned.

Visual Merchandising Checklist

How are we doing—and what can we improve?

Compliant IA has created smart checklists and retail audit software and apps for multi-location retailers. Its sophisticated apps and programs may be overkill for many local stores (plans start at $99/month), but as an independent retailer you can still benefit from the company’s checklists to keep your store humming at peak performance. For instance, a sample merchandising checklistruns through 51 questions that you can use to audit the state and quality of your store’s visual merchandising—from its exterior and signage to the interior layout, from shelves, displays and in-store promotions to the role of staff. With answers in hand, you can then come up with an action plan for improvements or even daily tasks. Seasoned retailers do this kind of audit routinely, but the checklist just makes it that much easier—and it’s a handy tool to share with staff. 

Photo by Eric Jones