How to Win Gen Z’s Loyalty This Back-to-School Season

August 10, 2017 Catherine Malone

According to CrowdTwist’s recent research, 64% of Generation Z are persuaded to shop with a brand if they have a loyalty program. Now that the back-to-school shopping season is officially upon us with 2017 set to be a record year of $83.6 billion in sales, this is an opportune time for brands to connect with young consumers to win their loyalty and a slice of the $83.6 billion pie.

Let’s take a look at some of the trends we’re seeing with Generation Z, and how brands can fine tune their loyalty programs to appeal to younger consumers.

Cost is an important factor in brand selection

Our research found that when choosing a brand, 38% of Generation Z would consider other alternatives that offer a lower price. The financially savvy Generation Z are more price conscious than brand loyal. They’re happy to switch brands if the price is right. In the age where services such as Amazon Prime can offer a wide selection of products at a flexible price, it’s simple to find a cheaper product alternative. In order to stand out from the competition during the back-to-school shopping season, brands need to build cost-effective benefits into their loyalty program in order to appeal to the younger generation. Now is a good time to offer discounts, coupons and perks such as free shipping or free returns on online orders.

They prefer shopping in-store, but engage across all channels

Although 57% of Generation Z prefer shopping in-store, they engage with brands across all channels.

Growing up in the information age, Generation Z are more likely to research a product before purchasing. This means visiting a brand website, their social media pages, and their in-store locations. Now is a good time to invest in creating a single brand identity across all of these channels. Generation Z are very active across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, so consider sharing more of your back-to-school promotional content across these social media sites to better engage the Generation Z audience.

They are willing to share personal information for a personalized experience

The research also finds that 76% of Generation Z are willing to volunteer their personal information in exchange for customized brand experiences. Incorporate surveys, profile updates and social connect into your loyalty program to encourage this willing audience to share their information. You can also use the captured data further down the line to surprise and delight members with gifts, such as bonus points, discounts, or free samples to celebrate milestones and special occasions such as birthdays. These tactics drive engagement and loyalty and keep your brand top of mind.

They want relevant rewards and ways to earn points

Generation Z will abandon a program if the rewards aren’t compelling enough or if it takes too long to earn points. Almost 40% of Generation Z indicated playing games as their preferred way of earning points as part of a loyalty program. In terms of rewards, Generation Z were almost split down the middle on preferences. 43% prefer discounts or cash back primarily, and 42% prefer free products.

They are driving the success of loyalty programs in non-traditional industries

65% of Generation Z are active in at least one loyalty program, and most rank non-traditional programs from industries such as beauty, media and entertainment in their top five active programs. Brands operating in these industries without loyalty programs run a high risk of losing business to competitors during this back-to-school season. In fact, our research indicates that Generation Z is more likely to be loyal to a brand if they have a loyalty program. Consider offering a discount for program members during the back-to-school season, and extend this discount to new members when they sign up for the program. Our research finds that Generation Z are more likely to join a loyalty program that offers money off their first purchase.

Generation Z expect much more in return for their loyalty to a brand, however the benefits of Generation Z signing up to a loyalty program are invaluable; their willingness to share personal information and complete surveys provides brands with crucial feedback and insight. Optimize your loyalty strategy this back-to-school season to meet your customers wherever they are, with a loyalty program that makes them feel valued for being a member and start reaping the benefits!

You can review the complete findings of our Generation Z research by downloading the report here

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