Shining a light on Gen Z shopping habits in the run-up to Black Friday 2018

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With projections suggesting Black Friday 2018 will be one of the biggest shopping days of the year, what should online retailers be doing to woo their customers? The answer, according to Matthew Mullen, SVP and MD Americas of Neopost Shipping, is to focus on customer experience (CX) through the convenience of shipping choices and transparent, mobile friendly services. This is true across the population, but is particularly critical for Gen Z shoppers.

Neopost Shipping’s report, Great Expectations: Shipping, CX & Gen Z, suggests Gen Z are most likely to spend more in order to qualify for free shipping (71% of Gen Z versus 56% across the general population). They are also more willing than the general population to increase their spend if speed-based delivery options such as same-day and hyperlocal (one to three hours) are available to them.

Gen Z, being 16% of the UK population, is an important and increasingly influential consumer sector so Black Friday sales and marketing strategies must incorporate their conversion triggers. However, there is a double-edged sword: Gen Z shoppers are most likely to abandon their cart if customer-centric delivery options aren’t available (98% of UK Gen Z customers said they would), so retailers that fall short here are jeopardizing revenue growth.

“Gen Z is instant gratification personified,” said Matthew Mullen, a Neopost Shipping senior vice president. “In a market where the likes of Amazon are pushing the boundaries in terms of what a great shipping experience looks like, retailers rarely get a second chance with young and savvy consumers who won’t think twice about abandoning brands that cannot provide the shipping choice and convenience they desire. This will be as true on Black Friday as any other shopping day – may be even more so.”

With all this in mind, October is a good time for retailers to consider whether they have done all they can to create customer-focused delivery strategies, and to ensure that they won’t lose out to retailers that excel at optimizing their supply chain such as Amazon. With the right technology, there’s still enough time to address consumers’ needs with relevant and dynamic shipping options ahead of the busy sales season.

Consider the upsides of offering same-day, next-day, weekend or out-of-hours deliveries. The research suggests 44% of Gen Z will shop more online if next day delivery was available, compared with 25% across the general population, and that 62% of Gen Z are open to paying for same-day delivery, compared with 48% of the average consumer.

For those retailers with a strong Gen Z urban or metropolitan base, it’s also worth giving some serious consideration to hyperlocal delivery and getting goods shipped within a one to three hour timeframe; 71% of Gen Z will increase the size of their basket to qualify for free hyperlocal delivery, compared with 56% of the general population.

Not only will retailers enjoy bigger basket sizes as a result, they’ll be able to take advantage of the concentration of shipping services offered in busy city locations to lower the cost of shipping fees.

As the biggest online shopping day of the year approaches, Mullen says, “Aside from Amazon, how many other retailers have 100 million participants in their loyalty program? Very few – if any. If I were a retailer in the run-up to Black Friday, I would be asking myself, why Amazon and not me? And then, identifying opportunities to deliver experiences the customer wants so that I can drive loyalty.”

Neopost Shipping’s report also suggests that it would also be wise for retailers to check that their ordering, shipping and fulfilment is cell phone friendly – and that customers can easily track the status of their purchase. More than a third of Gen Z shop mainly on their cell phones compared with 23% of the average consumers, and 85% of Gen Z shoppers expect deliveries to be easily tracked online or via their mobile devices. Furthermore, 78% of Gen Z expect retailers to send them emails throughout the shipping process so they can keep track of their delivery.

“Not all customer bases are the same,” concludes Mullen. “Each may require different features. For instance, more Gen Z consumers will abandon their cart when retailers cannot provide a service to deliver their online orders at a preferred time, compared to Gen X and Baby Boomers.

“This bears repeating – give your particular customer base the correct experience, and they will return more frequently, spend more, and advocate passionately for your business. Make your new years’ resolution early and get your shipping and fulfilment strategies sorted in good time.”

To read Neopost Shipping’s report in full, click here.


Matthew Mullen is the SVP and MD Americas of Neopost Shipping, a market leader in e-commerce supply chain solutions and division of Neopost. Based in San Francisco, Mullen has championed the enablement of global retail initiatives, previously holding executive positions within Epicor and Visa for over 15 years.

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