Marketers looking to cultivate long-term revenue and loyalty should consider a new demographic: centennials.
Centennials, also known as Generation Z, are between 13 and 18 years old and born around the turn of the century. They already make up nearly a quarter of the population; by 2020 this number will balloon to 40%. Centennials were born with technology pervading their everyday lives and don’t remember a time when a connected world wasn’t at their fingertips—which explains why the group’s average attention span is an estimated eight seconds.
New research from PowerReviews shows that influencing centennial conversation is a facet marketers must leverage to succeed—especially in this technological age. Technology is embedded into the lives—and demands—of centennials. Their expectations are sky high, and they often want a two-way dialogue with retailers. So, marketers targeting this generation must focus on engagement; centennials are likely to eschew those brands from their shopper journeys that fail to do so.
Starting the shopping journey
Growing up in one of the worst recessions on record makes a group more resourceful and practical when it comes to spending money. Indeed, nearly three quarters of centennials say they take their time with most purchases by researching price, reading reviews, and reviewing different brands. Also, two thirds say they prefer to save money for the future rather than make impulse purchases.
How centennials browse for products:
Converting centennial browsers to buyers
The research shows that online reviews are more valuable to centennials than saving money or other perks; almost a third (32%) of centennials rank online reviews as more important than a brand name (8%) or free shipping (4%). While 95% read reviews, 64% of centennials read at least four reviews before making a purchase. And one third of centennials say they would not buy a product if they couldn’t first ask questions about it.
Although brand name may not carry the same cache as reviews, it does trump price. More than half (57%) of centennials are likely to spend more on a well-known brand than purchase a lower-priced item from an unknown brand.
Tips for attracting centennials
PowerReviews findings highlight four ways that marketers can capture centennials’ interest.
Emphasize quality and differentiation: Centennials crave quality information over price, so make sure to promote reviews that boast the best qualities of your product as opposed to bragging about low pricing.
Engage early online: With nearly all shoppers conducting research online, marketers need to tailor their website for research and purchasing purposes. Helpful product information, descriptions, sizing, reviews, etc. are paramount.
Bolster your online presence: Centennials are using desktops and mobile phones as a key part of their shopping journey; ensure your website is mobile-friendly for easier navigation.
Start real conversations: Of the centennials who have written reviews, 89% say they hadn’t subsequently been contacted by the brand. Positive or negative, a review is a golden opportunity to engage with the customer.