Although we might think of teenagers as glued to their smartphones, new research out today has found that young Australians prefer shopping in-store rather than online.
The research comes from the 11th edition of AMP Capital’s annual Recommended Retail Practice report, which surveyed ‘future shoppers’ or Generation Z—those aged between 18 and 22—and ‘current shoppers’, those over 22 years old.
It found that 87 per cent of future shoppers like or love shopping in-store compared to 79 per cent who like or love to shop online.
Mark Kirkland, managing director of AMP Capital shopping centres, said the findings are significant as they confirm the future of retail is bright for retailers that are committed to creating engaging in-store experiences.
“The continued popularity of shopping in-store provides a positive outlook for retailers,” he said. “It’s important that, as an industry, we constantly evolve to adapt to the current trends that engage our future shoppers in order to stay relevant.”
Traditional shopping not dead for Generation Z
Despite the allure of online shopping (buying groceries while in your pyjamas and drinking wine, for example), future shoppers still enjoy shopping in-store. According to AMP Capital, this is because they use physical shopping as a way to socialise and are drawn to the touch-and-feel aspect of bricks and mortar.
“The research highlights the importance of developing fun, social experiences in-store and the opportunities that emerge once brands and retailers align their online and offline offerings,” explained Kirkland.
Beauty retailers Mecca Cosmetica and Mecca Maxima are great examples of this, providing valuable in-store experiences that bring products to life. Makeup artists and skincare specialists are located in every store, giving customers access to personalised beauty advice.
Mecca also hosts exclusive events, including group makeup lessons with global makeup artists, master classes and product launches, inviting loyal customers to get up close and personal with the world’s leading experts.
Online and in-store work together
For time-poor shoppers, the internet plays an important role in their shopping experience before and during their in-store visits.
Over half (61 per cent) of future shoppers use the internet to research while in-store, compared to just 36 per cent of current shoppers. According to AMP, smart retailers are embracing this trend by aligning their bricks and mortar and online offerings.
“It’s vital that retailers and shopping centres engage with the digital world to deliver a seamless online and offline experience that will create new and exciting avenues to connect with their customers,” said Kirkland.
This includes Nike, which is using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, tablets and TV screens to create an engaging omnichannel experience. The retailer’s Action Sports digital installation gives shoppers access to product information, images and stock availabilities. Even better, if a product isn’t available at the time, shoppers can share their details to be notified via SMS or email when it has arrived.
This is important as 88 per cent of future shoppers would like to check stock availability online.
Don’t just sell something, mean something
Future and current shoppers are both highly engaged in global issues and value companies with a purpose that goes beyond selling.
“[The report] confirms Australians are ethical shoppers, who are willing to invest in sustainable brands,” said Kirkland.
Brands like Lush, which has been recognised for its ethical practices, are attractive to customers who value authenticity and a sustainable and responsible approach to business.
Nearly 70 per cent of both future and current shoppers prefer brands that give back, and 62 per cent of future shoppers prefer brands that stand for something.
These consumers are willing to demonstrate this with their hard earned cash, with 59 per cent of future and 48 per cent of current shoppers indicating they are willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Male future shoppers: the new trendsetters
While last year’s survey found that men love shopping, research this year revealed young Australian men are more interested in staying ahead of popular trends than young women.
Male future shoppers prefer to shop in groups as they see it as a social experience and feel more confident when around others. They admit they feel uncomfortable shopping in shopping centres, which means retailers need to help young men feel more comfortable.
Streetwear retailer, Culture Kings, makes shoppers feel welcome in-store with DJs and a barbershop.
“Trailblazing Australian retailers such as Mecca Maxima and Culture Kings have captured the attention of future shoppers by creating a personalised customer experience that’s exclusive to in-store,” said Kirkland. “These are just a few representations of the future of retail although we look forward to seeing more bold ideas from retailers within this innovative space.”
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