Brands With Poor Digital Experiences Are a Tough Sell to Gen Z

The Covid-19 pandemic changed the way consumers shop, and the shopping habits of one generation should put retailers on notice that digital experiences are critical to capturing their $143 billion in shopping power.

More than one-third (37%) of Gen Z shoppers will abandon their cart or post a negative review due to a poor digital shopping experience, according to a new survey of 1,000 Gen Z consumers from Sitecore and Advanis. However, there’s some good news for retailers, as most Gen Z shoppers (80%) are more willing to try new brands since the pandemic--but keeping members of this generation as loyal customers may be more challenging.

"This study highlights that brands can't ignore the power of poor digital experiences when it comes to Gen Z and its shopping habits," Paige O'Neill, chief marketing officer at Sitecore, said in a statement. "This group has quickly shifted its significant spending power online, and pressure will continue to mount on retailers until they can deliver an experience that delights.”

The pandemic majorly shifted the way Gen Z shops, as 31% had never never purchased anything online before the pandemic. That may influence the way Gen Z likes to shop around and look for the best digital experience. More than half (57%) said they were less loyal to brands than before the pandemic, and 38% will only give brands a second chance before switching to a competitor. 

“Brand loyalty has evaporated and there is no margin for error any longer from browsing through to delivery,” O’Neill said. “The ability to consistently create personalized experiences is critical to secure the wallets of Gen Z. This puts technology firmly at the center of this new battle for retailers."

If brands commit the sin of being out of stock on their online store, 74% of Gen Z shoppers will move to another retailer. Of those who do stick with a brand over time, most think they should be rewarded (76%).

Those expectations aren’t the end for retailers--Gen Z actually has lofty demands when shopping online. The vast majority (83%) of Gen Z consumers see online shopping as an experience, rather than just a transaction, and 71% expect a highly personalized experience. Forty-three percent want personalized suggestions, and 46% desire retailers to remember their shopping preferences. For delivery, faster is better, with 80% agreeing that retailers who can deliver within 24 hours are more appealing.

The shopping preferences and habits should remain important to retailers, as 63% of Gen Z say shopping online is more enjoyable than in-person, and another 64% say they want to keep using online stores to do nearly all their buying.