Much has been said about the importance of engaging millennials. But while brands and retailers would be wise to continue focusing on millennials, another generation of shoppers also deserves its fair share of attention.
Centennials, also known as “Gen-Z,” will make up 40 percent of the population by 2020 and their current annual spending power of $44 million is only expected to grow. There’s never been a better time for brands and retailers to start engaging with the next generation of consumers.
Born around the turn of the century, this up-and-coming group of consumers has grown to expect access to technology at every step of their shopping journey. And when it comes to product research, centennials tend to value one thing above all else — online reviews. In fact, 95 percent of centennials read reviews, and nearly two-thirds read at least four reviews before making a purchase. Thus, brands and retailers that want to attract this demographic should focus on making their product reviews easily accessible, across all devices and platforms. By prominently displaying ratings and reviews, optimizing their websites for all devices and platforms, and fostering transparency and authenticity, brands and retailers can ensure they become a go-to destination for centennials.
Make Reviews Front & Center
Reviews are essential to attracting centennial shoppers. Centennials rank online reviews as more important than a recognizable brand name or free shipping, and nearly half of centennials won’t consider buying a product that doesn’t have reviews. Brands and retailers that are eager to drive sales from centennial shoppers should make it easy for shoppers to find reviews — positive or negative — regardless of the device they’re using to shop.
And while text reviews are a great place to start, it’s important to remember that centennials also expect visual content such as photos and videos. In fact, 40 percent of centennial shoppers won’t buy a product if its online listing does not feature pictures of people using the product.
Allow Customers To Ask Questions
Similar to reviews, the ability to ask questions about a product online can also play a role in determining whether or not a centennial decides to make a purchase. Forty-five percent of centennials won’t purchase a product if they can’t ask a question about it, and 79 percent who are unable to ask questions on a product page will go directly to a competing retailer such as Amazon.
In order to provide centennials with the answers they’re looking for, retailers should create a means for consumers to ask questions and receive answers about products from other shoppers. After all, nearly two-thirds of centennials prefer having their questions answered by previous customers rather than a retailer.
Maintain Transparency & Authenticity
Hours spent perfecting a product can often make brands and retailers wary of anything less than a five-star rating. But negative reviews aren’t all that bad. Nearly half of all centennial shoppers won’t trust a product’s reviews if there are no negative reviews present. The reason is simple: Negative reviews indicate transparency. Brands and retailers that avoid deleting negative reviews or paying for fake ones will cultivate transparency and authenticity that centennial shoppers trust.
Brands and retailers eager to engage centennial consumers must provide them with what they value most — the tools to make their own shopping decisions: ratings and reviews, the ability to ask questions about a product, and a transparent review process.
Theresa O’Neil is marketing senior VP at PowerReviews, a leading provider of customer review technology to more than 1,000 brands and retailers.