7 things Gen Z-ers want to see in your product content

The rise of Gen Z promises big business for ecommerce. Research from media planning company MNI Targeted Media predicts that Gen Z-ers will comprise 40% of global consumers and influence $4bn in discretionary spending by 2020. What’s more, a 2018 survey by Criteo revealed that 75% of these young consumers like to do ‘as much shopping as possible’ online.

For retailers hoping to attract younger shoppers, the ease of the online purchase journey – and, by extension, the quality of the website’s descriptive product content – are now more crucial than ever before. Of the Gen Z-ers surveyed by Criteo, exactly half thought that retail websites and apps were the most influential factor in their purchasing process – ranking above search, TV ads, online ads or even social media. However, 2 in 5 Gen Z consumers would stop visiting a website if it didn’t anticipate their needs, while 52% of this age group compare products to those on other sites most or all of the time.

To help businesses compete in this crowded marketplace, and meet the hefty expectations of this digital-savvy demographic, here are seven things that Gen Z-ers want to see in your online product content.

1. Information for the ‘phygital’ shopper

For Gen Z consumers, the line between online and offline shopping isn’t clear-cut; they do both, often simultaneously. Two thirds (67%) of Gen-Zers use their phones while standing in-store to research purchases. According to the Criteo study, a third engage in ‘webrooming’ – the practice of researching online then buying in-store – while 1 in 5 do things the other way around, purchasing online.

Together, these practices reveal a common trend: much of the time, Gen Z-ers want to gather more information before making a purchase, and they want to access that information online.

To meet this need, omnichannel retailers must offer information-rich, helpful product descriptions that provide details beyond the basic. For example, in an online fashion store, product descriptions might offer information on environmentally-friendly processes, materials used and design inspirations behind the garment. Give the customer the information they’re looking for, where they’re looking for it, to drive significant conversion rate uplifts.

2. Feedback

Gen Z-ers enjoy giving candid feedback about products – and they love reading it too. According to research from Gen Z specialists Gen HQ, 11% of Gen Z males and 21% of females claim to read nine or more product reviews before making a purchase.

Rather than forcing Gen Z-ers to search elsewhere for reviews of the products listed on your site, it’s preferable to include user-generated review feeds on product pages. Links to in-depth, brand-created reviews and product guides will also serve to showcase your merchandise in all its glory. The closer you can keep your customer to your product pages, reducing the need for external searches, the better the potential for conversion.

3. Video

Gen Z loves visual media, and video is their preferred format for digesting information. According to research from Accenture, Gen Z-ers are twice as likely as millennials to turn to YouTube for product demonstration videos. Savvy ecommerce businesses will save them the trouble, and feature video guides alongside their product pages wherever possible.

4. Quality

Like any other consumer demographic, Gen Z-ers value quality. IBM/NRF report that two thirds (66%) of this segment think quality is an important factor when choosing one brand over another.

Online, it can be a challenge to convey quality beyond well-staged images and detailed product specifications. One solution is to be clear on the benefits your products offer to consumers. In research conducted by Quill, we discovered that 71% of consumers prefer product descriptions that clearly explain the practical day-to-day benefits of a product. In the fashion category, it also helps to evocatively describe the texture of items; 94% of consumers consider the ‘feel’ of a garment important to them when browsing clothing and accessories.

5. Uniqueness and exclusivity

Everyone loves an exclusive offer – but Gen Z takes this preference to another level. Criteo reports that 49% of Gen Z-ers think having unique, bespoke products is very important. If your products offer options for customisation – as exemplified by the hugely successful NIKEiD concept – prioritise this information in descriptions and let your customers know.

Time-sensitive or limited-edition collections also have a proven record of success, giving consumers the feeling of buying into an exclusive experience with your brand. Drop culture’, typified by streetwear label Supreme, isn’t going anywhere – so if you have limited stock of an item, make sure your online customers know it.

6. A seamless user experience

Gen Z-ers have high expectations when it comes to the online shopping experience. In a survey from IBM/NRF exploring what Gen Z-ers want most from a multichannel shopping experience, the largest group (49%) cited an ability to find what they want quickly and easily. Unfortunately, not all etailers successfully meet this requirement: according to Criteo’s study, 38% of Gen Z consumers find it difficult to locate products they need or love online. To help consumers find complementary items, consider surfacing relevant how-to and buying guides alongside descriptions on product pages; such guides are an excellent vehicle for providing up- and cross- sell recommendations.

7. Mobile content optimisation

Mobile searches now make up over half of all web traffic, with Gen Z browsers accounting for a significant share of these. Ecommerce statistics reflect this trend, with over half (53%) of teens now making mobile purchases according to Google, compared with only 43% of millennials. In fact, Criteo’s report reveals that over half (51%) of Gen Z-ers say that mobile optimisation on websites is ‘very important’ to them.

With more and more purchases being made on mobile devices, optimising content for the small screen has never been more essential – and that includes product descriptions. For Quill’s 7-step guide to mobile content best practice, click here.

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