You’ve heard of Baby Boomers, Gen X and Millennials (Gen Y), but have you heard of Gen Z? This new generation is quickly coming to the fore; by 2020, Gen Z will have overtaken the much-sought-after Millennials to become the largest and most influential group of active consumers.
The Digital Marketing Institute reports that Gen Z will make up as much as 40 per cent of all consumers as soon as next year.
So, what better time to investigate whether your web presence and digital strategy are aligned with the expectations and consumer habits of this powerful new consumer group.
The CMS tool you use can have an immense impact on the functionality and usability of your website. Through this article, we’ll lay out how choosing WordPress can help you engage with this influential and elusive new generation of consumers.
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Who are Gen Z?
Gen Z was born in the period between the mid-1990s and 2015. Today, this generation is aged 4-24, so they have either already entered the workforce or will be on the verge of doing so.
They’re ‘digital natives’, having grown up with the internet and never knowing anything different. Gen Z can spend up to 10 hours online, with almost half of them doing so regularly.
Characteristics of Gen Z
Perhaps the most defining characteristic of Gen Z is their tech-savvy nature. Having never known a world without the internet, this generation is impatient and values immediacy.
Here are the defining aspects of Gen Z:
- Prefer to shop online
- Low brand loyalty
- Prefer products to experiences
- Content creators, not just consumers
- Respond to digital advertising and short video content
Social media characteristics
As well as the general defining behavioural characteristics of Gen Z, it’s beneficial to understand their social media habits and preferences. This can help inform brands of Gen Z’s website experience expectations.
- They’re content creators, not just consumers
- More careful with what they share and who they share it with than Millenials
- Like to share issues they care deeply about (e.g. social activism)
- Use social media to highlight their authentic selves
How to engage Gen Z
What do these characteristics tell us? Well, there are a lot of positives to take from how Gen Z view the internet, as well as a few challenges to overcome.
Gen Z responds well to mobile-first websites with a positive user experience geared towards mobile users. This is because they spend three and a half hours on mobile devices on average per day, as reported by the Global Web Index.
This means you must gear your website towards mobile devices, whether you’re an e-commerce brand or a media publisher. WordPress is a top solution for brands wishing to reach the mobile-focused Gen Z.
WordPress also allows editors and marketers to create content with all screen sizes in mind – the Gutenberg text editor makes content creation easier than ever for those drafting your organisation’s content.
Website features to engage Gen Z
Now we know what makes Gen Z tick, we’ll explore the website expectations and user experience demands of Gen Z.
Here are some features you can implement on your website using WordPress CMS:
Gen Z is fully-acquainted with the idea of subscription-based content, paywalls and gated content. If this is a direction your media publishing brand is looking to pursue, then you’ll need a CMS which can handle the functionality of tiered content.
WordPress currently has a number of plugins to suit membership sites:
- Restrict Content Pro
If you’re looking for a custom-built plugin rather than an off-the-shelf product, contact us today and we’ll discuss your needs. Perhaps your brand is scaling – if so, we can help you create a plugin which will allow you to manage subscription-based content across a network of websites.
Gen Z is generally less open to advertising than previous generations. However, they are generally quite receptive to online advertising as it meets them online. Indeed, 52 per cent of Gen Z will regularly click on online ads, according to Adobe’s Across the Generations Study.
This shows the importance of advertising online to reach this new digital-savvy generation. WordPress offers simple solutions and management tools for serving ads on your website or advertising your brand on websites your target audience uses.
Having lived with the internet their whole lives, Gen Z does not separate their online and offline lives and experiences. They see no disconnect between the digital and everyday life. As a result of this, Gen Z expects a more human experience online. Backing this up, 67 per cent of Gen Zers believe websites will know what they’re looking for before they do anything, according to data collected by adage.
This ability for a website to provide a useful customer experience can be provided by chatbots. These AI-powered virtual assistants can predict the information an internet user needs before they ask a question or perform a website search. The process is as follows: a user asks a question via the chatbot and the bot delivers an answer or points the user to a useful resource in a matter of seconds.
Without these instant answers, your brand will fail to engage the new generation of internet users. Luckily, if you’re already a WordPress user, implementing a chatbot is not only possible but relatively straightforward. For help in implementing a chatbot, get in touch today. Or, if you’re not convinced of the benefits of a chatbot, see our recent blog on the subject.
The fact that Gen Z sees themselves as content creators, as well as consumers, is a powerful insight which can be leveraged by savvy brands.
It could be worthwhile, generating user-generated content when pursuing Gen Z customers, as they are more likely to buy from a brand which features real people.
To allow user-generated content on your website, you’ll need to configure your CMS. A plus-point for WordPress in this regard is that it’s highly customisable and can be modified to suit your company goals, as well as a customer’s preferred social channels, using custom plugins.
Gen Z has well and truly arrived, and your brand can’t afford to overlook this new generation.
Use the remainder of 2019 to put in place the CMS system you need to truly engage Gen Z and get ahead of the game before 2020 when Gen Z becomes the most powerful consumer demographic on the planet.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your requirements.