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Generation Z – How to Reach Tomorrow's Shoppers Today

05.09.2017, 6m

People who were born in 1995 or later will decide the future of your online shop. Starting in 2020, they will represent a large proportion of your sales – provided you are able to win over this generation of strong buyers.

If you want to make sure that your shop continues to flourish over the next few years, then you have to invest in the future.

In this case, the future bears the name Generation Z. People born after 1995 have grown up with the Internet, they behave differently and have other values.

It is therefore not easy trying to put yourself in the position of the younger generation, especially if you have no idea what or who Snapchat, Jodel and Vlogger are.

Should you really give it a go? Definitely. Or do you want to miss out on a group of customers who love to shop online and have the potential to significantly increase your sales?

Although part of Generation Z still only receives pocket money, they are already influencing the purchase decisions of their parents.

And, of course, the proportion that  are earning and spending their own money is growing from year to year.

Up until now, few online retailers or brands have competed for the attention of the Zeds. Which is why we reveal to you today 5 strategies to win over this young target group for your online shop, make sure you get a slice of the Z pie and always stay a step ahead of the competition.


Gain their attention in 8 seconds

Various studies have shown that you have 8 seconds to attract the attention of Generation Z members.

Anyone who has been confronted since their early childhood with advertisements and campaigns from all directions has developed a merciless filter at some point.

This acquired “8-second filter” helps someone decide in a flash whether something is worth paying attention to or not.

If you want a potential Z customer to read your blog post, click on your ad, look at your video or like your Instagram photo, then they really should quickly find out...

… what it’s all about,

... what benefits it brings,

... how it can entertain.

And all within 8 seconds. A difficult challenge.

If you have, nevertheless, overcome these hurdles, you can enjoy both great commitment and attention.

Want to attract and retain attention? Strategically tease, arouse curiosity and pull people along in the slipstream – successful YouTubers, such as Pewdiepie, Phil DeFranco and LeFloid, are real masters of this art.

Be inspired by those who are popular and relevant in your new target group, regardless of the medium: print, television or digital.

Show online omnipresence

A smartphone in their hand and a laptop on their knees – Generation Z spends a large part of their free time online.

Mainly because friends, acquaintances and idols are also online.

Smartphones are the primary instruments of communication and enable Generation Z to communicate with many friends, contribute to the online community and to consume media simultaneously.

And all via various platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, etc.)!

It is tricky enough ensuring adequate coverage on just one platform, and on several simultaneously seems impossible. Especially when the shop is run by just one person, or with only a few members of staff who are busy enough doing other things.

Tip: As a lone fighter, you should find out which platform ideally suits your shop and, to obtain the best possible results, concentrate exclusively on that platform. Watch out for new trends and emerging platforms so that you can use them for your shop.

However, the tendency is that someone from Generation Z will "like" your Instagram post, but swap over to YouTube a moment later. If you don't also cover this platform, then you've lost the attention of the Zeds again.

Hence, employing someone to only manage the various social media platforms can quickly pay off. After all, social media and Generation Z are sources of enormous sales potential.

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Communication at the same level

The human factor is surprisingly important to Generation Z. If they have the feeling that they are able to communicate with a company and are valued, the Zeds will become loyal fans and customers.

You can achieve this by responding to questions and comments in your social media posts. Make sure to give your answers the "human touch" and don't give standard replies.

Tip: Don't take yourself too seriously. You can also, maybe, take a critical look at yourself, react to current events and show that you have a sense of humour.


It is not only the type of communication which is important, but also its appearance.

A generation which owns a smartphone even before their very first kiss will not be impressed by an online shop that looks like it hasn't been updated in 10 years. Have you already optimised the display of your shop for mobile devices?

If not, then it is high time, as Zeds are the most likely of all generations to shop using a mobile device.

You should therefore use a modern, uniform design with high recognition value for everything from your shop to your postings.

Show the people behind your shop

Your customers, and particularly the Zeds, want to be treated as people and as individuals.

An impersonal online shop without recognition value will be lost in the crowd. If you want your online shop to stand out from the competition, then you should work on its personality.

Tell the customers the story behind your shop, show the people who work in the shop and in the background. This generates sympathy and helps the Z customers identify with your shop.


A survey has shown that approximately 63% of Generation Z customers prefer real people in advertisements and just under 37% prefer ads with celebrities.

So, to produce a significantly higher ROI, use photos of satisfied customers instead of using perfect models and celebrities when advertising.

Influencer marketing was one of the buzzwords in 2017. And for a good reason. It works.

Influencers appear genuine and are idolised as they voice their opinions freely. Win over a brand ambassador that suits your industry and they will help improve your online shop's image to the Zeds.


We have already written a detailed article on the subject of influencer marketing!

How to reach Generation Z

Try to create your social media posts so that they cause a reaction. Ask for opinions, suggestions for improvement and wishes – try to start a discussion.

Here are a few examples of posts that ensure they’ll get commented on, shared and "liked":

  • The "how to" post: Show what your product is capable of and how versatile it is.
  • The "query" post: Which outfit do you find better? What is the must-have product this summer? What would you do if...? Either... or?


  • The "photo" post: Funny/emotional photos which are suitable for your branch and shop.
  • The "quote" post: A positive quote which is somehow relevant to what you sell.
  • The "competition" post: Tag your best friend / the most stylish person / the best craftsman / ... for the chance to win a £50 shopping voucher.

Regardless of whether addressing your younger customers via e-mail or messenger bots, make sure you strike the right tone.

Informal instead of formal, friendly instead of business-like – the Zeds much prefer this to a stiffer, impersonal form of communication.


If you want to win over new customers from Generation Z, then you have to adapt your marketing concept. The good news: Many factors which are important to Zeds are also popular with other generations.

The promising quintessence of this article should be the following:

  • Communicate openly and on the same level as your customers
  • Show that you value your customers
  • Do not be a faceless online shop

Follow these three rules and your customers will show their gratitude by clicking the buy button of you online shop more often. Good luck!Tip: Get our "Ultimate Guide to Instagram for Online Shops" whitepaper for free