Focus on Gen Z: Engaging with the next generation and the ‘cool brands’ they’re stocking

Gen Z want one thing: convenience.

“This generation want quick service; they aren’t really interested in price. If you make a mistake or deliver bad service, they’ll likely go elsewhere,” says Faraz Iqbal, owner of Premier Linktown Local in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Part of offering more convenience is understanding that card and mobile payments are essential. If you’re offering a minimum card spend, this instantly becomes a barrier for Gen Z shoppers.

“Many have a minimum spend to avoid paying additional charges, which older generations know and understand, but for Gen Z shoppers, it’s not great.

“Older customers experienced this growing up and so are used to it, but retailers will struggle to build loyalty with younger customers if they have a minimum spend.”

How to Engage with a younger audience?

Gen Z Shoppers Crowding for a Selfie together

Personable customer service and social media engagement are high on the agenda for Gen Z shoppers.

“I know a lot of our customers personally and when they come in, we always have a chat with them,” says Iqbal. “Doing this means we connect with them on a more personal level, boosting our engagement and ultimately, that will keep them coming back.”

Sudesh Patel, owner of Londis Coulsdon in London, follows a similar approach with his customer service. “We have a lot of competitors, so our service is what gives us the edge,” he says.

Patel says to make sure the customer feels valued by placing your full attention on them. “Many of our competitors will use their phones while serving customers and younger shoppers just won’t accept that and will shop somewhere else.”

Outside the store, retailers are taking to Instagram and TikTok to understand the right products to stock and connect with them further.

“Facebook is most important to us as a store, but Instagram and TikTok is for a younger audience,” Iqbal says.

Reels will help grab the attention of a younger audience, so focus on these to boost engagement.  

Sustainable product options

Snacking sustainably campaign banner

An idea to boost overall engagement is to promote how your business is considering its environmental impact. Did you know that 82% of Gen Zs express concern about the state of the planet?

According to Kadence, 72% of Gen Z individuals have already changed their behaviour to reduce their impact on the environment. This includes taking public transport instead of driving, investing in re-usable drinks bottles and purchasing brands that offer strong environmental credentials.

In fact, 40% of Gen Z consumers are more likely to buy from brands that are in tune with the environment. Within this, 73% are willing to pay more for ethically sourced products.

There are two challenges retailers face with this, however. The first is finding where to stock these products.

At Epicurium, we have been steadily building a credible range of eco-conscious brands that deliver for stores like yours. In our portfolio we have several eco-friendly brands, such as Stoats, which uses compostable wrapping and Seaweed crisps supplier, Abakus Foods.  

The second is driving sales of sustainable brands. It’s true that many of these products have to work harder to earn space, however, the margins are often higher as a result.  

Utilise your space and ensure these products are easily seen by customers. If it’s new, could you dedicate some till space to help sales and grow awareness? Similarly, engage with these brands on social media to grow your following.  

What Snack brands are Gen Z buying?

Gen Z snack brand; C4 Energy

By focusing on the brands that help Gen Z reach their goals, you will drive loyalty and repeat custom.

Gen Z view health as the ultimate self-care and prioritise both physical and mental health more than any other generation. More specifically, Gen Z are concerned about their protein intake, to help them build muscle and stay full for longer periods of time.

Alan Mannings, from the Shop on the Green in Chartham, Kent, has noticed this trend and says protein products will sell phenomenally well if merchandised correctly.

“We stock Kind bars and Grenade, which sell well,” he says. “The trend, though, isn’t necessarily about sugar intake or additives with Gen Z, it’s more about calories and protein.”

Gen Z aren’t into fad diets or highly restrictive ways of eating. Instead, they are striving for balance. For some, this means entering a high-protein calorie deficit or calorie maintenance. This all leads to building long-term health choices they can realistically keep.

The good news for retailers is many Gen Z shoppers will pay for a premium for these options.

“It only works for specific lines, but if it’s something they want, Gen Z will pay more,” adds Patel.

The reason behind this, according to Patel, relates back to convenience and wanting something on-the-go that will help them with their goals.

The popular brand on the UK market is Huel, which offers a range of nutritional bars and shakes. With its shakes, they are not only gluten-free, but they contain 400 calories with more than 20g of protein.

If protein doesn’t work for your store, which is the case for Iqbal, consider products that have added benefits. Brands that meet this criteria include C4 Energy, which is for athletes of all types, and helps to fuel sport and fitness performance. There is also ActiPH water that adds electrolytes to its drinks.

By stocking the brands that Gen Z shoppers relate to and promoting your store in an earnest and sustainably minded way, you will make your business a destination for this lucrative demographic.

Would you like to attract more Gen Z customers?

Get in touch with our expert sales team or click here to create an account. Want to learn more about Gen Z shopper habits and trends? Then click here to learn how to win student consumers

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