Optimising the Ecommerce UX for Gen-Z in 2021


Written by Amna

February 12, 2021 | 4 min read

Gen Z — that cohort of individuals born after 1996 (age group 9 to 24)— are the driving force in determining where eCommerce is headed. This trend is both clear and unmistakable, confirmed by multiple independent research sources. 

Gen Z are “digital natives”. They have little or no memory of a world without smartphones and the ubiquitous presence of the internet. Although they were born ten or twenty years before the start of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, tech’s exponential progress in this field means they are more than comfortable with an interconnected world. 

It is crucial for anyone involved in eCommerce to strategise their marketing and web presence in such a way as to capture this demographic’s interests. 

Research shows that Gen Z tend to be progressive, ethnically diverse and highly educated. More importantly, from the perspective of eCommerce businesses, “95% of 13- to 17-year-olds have access to a smartphone” and 97% use one major online platform. The preferred platforms for Gen Z are YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok.

What does this mean for eCommerce sites?

The majority of Gen Z prefer to buy online. They are big fans of discounted prices and sales, and they tend to shun paying higher prices for products just to get them now. 

The tendency of Gen Z to buy online has skyrocketed since the COVID pandemic and it is indeed Gen Z and Millennials who are driving this unprecedented forward-surge to buy online. 

For eCommerce sites, this means that it’s crucial to always offer some kind of incentive or sale on your products which Gen Z buyers can partake in. 

Optimising your site for the Gen-Z UX is crucial to capture this enormous and emerging market and also to secure future sales — Gen Z are, after all, the consumers of tomorrow. Whatever momentum you can pick up now will propel you forward in years to come. 

Visual content

Gen Z respond well to visual content and videos. 

Instagram is the de facto online “hangout” of Gen Z. A powerful Instagram social media campaign and a slick YouTube strategy are both imperative to capture their attention and build brand loyalty. 

Mobile-friendly sites 

According to a study carried out by Snapchat in 2018, Gen Z have a global smartphone penetration of 97 per cent! They consider a mobile phone the most important device to get online, and the average Gen-Zer spends 4 hours and 15 minutes per day on their phone!

Taking these numbers into account, it’s clear that Gen Z’s first encounter with your site is likely to be on a mobile phone. And, if not the first visit, then certainly subsequent visits will be done on a mobile phone. 

For this reason, the mobile experience must be top-notch, smooth and glitch-free. Website designs need to be responsive and scale well on different sized screens. 

It might even be necessary to get an app developed for your online store and prompt users to install it when they land on your site or after they check out a product. 

Sharing is caring

77% of Gen Z are likely to share a bad review or comment on a social media site if they felt the service they received was bad. And they expect their problems to be resolved immediately and effectively after doing so. 

Conversely, Gen Z will also likely share positive news about your service if they were impressed by it. 

Sharing on social media is simply the norm. They have grown up with social media, and it is no less a part of life to them as TV was to the Baby Boomers. 

Owners of eCommerce sites should have a team dedicated to monitoring social media to address any issues immediately. You should also make returns easy, and provide a simple method for customers to get in touch with a live human being if they have any trouble with their orders or service.

An automated workflow can be created to catch bad reviews before they happen, such as sending a survey out after a purchase and getting feedback from the customer. If the feedback is anything less than a five-star, a trigger should fire, alerting a customer service rep to get on it right away. 

Voice search and great content

Great content is imperative to any marketing strategy, but the proclivity of Gen Z to use voice search means that the content on an e-commerce website should conform to patterns used in everyday speech. This will increase the site’s chance of being found for these searches. 

Personalised experience

Retailers will gain the greatest mileage by creating a personalised UX for Gen Z buyers. Ways to do this can include targeted landing pages, delineating buyer personas and creating content specific to that persona, providing personal replies through live on-site or in-app chats, etc. 

The main thing is to not ignore this demographic. Any time invested now into optimising the Gen-Z UX on your e-commerce site will pay for itself several times over in years to come. At Thorgate, we know this and actively try to collect the insights to cater to this upcoming huge market and its needs. Our E-shops are created with cutting edge technology designed to cater to the customer of this decade. To read more about the work we’ve done, see our case studies here

If you would like to learn more about how Thorgate can help your business create an optimised web UX for visitors, please feel free to contact me for insights and free resources via email: 

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