5 Insights on Tactical Marketing to Gen Z Buyers

Your youngest buyers aren’t shopping the way their parents did. Are you marketing to Gen Z effectively?

5 Insights on Tactical Marketing to Gen Z Buyers

You, as a purchaser of any goods and services, think and act a certain way due to many factors, including your age. But your age simply is a way to identify the myriad influences on your life that make you who you are as a purchaser, among other activities. Your retail customers are the same. They make purchasing decisions based on their environment, upbringing, and so on. Often this kind of analysis informs the demographic and generational categories we hear tossed around in retail and marketing resources, and lately, these resources most often highlight millennials and Gen Z. Having a basic understanding of these groups and how they operate will help you market to them effectively. In fact, every retailer everywhere should not merely be aware of but also should carefully consider the purchaser’s side of a retail experience, learning what proclivities and viewpoints affect or inform his or her purchasing decisions.

Millennials and Generation Z are, of course, just two of the categories. The rest include the following:

●      Silent Generation (1945 and earlier)

●      Baby Boomers (1946 to 1964)

●      Generation X (1965 to 1976)

●      Millennials or Generation Y (1977 or early 80s to 1995 or the 2000s)

●      Generation Z (1996 and later)

There are other category names, as well as some debate about when some category birth years start and finish, and therefore there’s some overlap between generations. For a retailer, it’s simply important to understand how each — but perhaps most importantly, the youngest buyers — operates. Heads up: They can be quite different and, at times, not what you’d expect. A quick search of the internet will yield dozens of resources dedicated to this topic, and it’ll probably seem overwhelming at first. But read through these insights and see how they apply to your marketing efforts in the tactical retail space. For purposes of this article, we’ll mainly focus on millennials and Gen Z.


Insight 1: The younger an age group, the more technologically savvy they are.

We’ve all joked about finding a 15-year-old to help us learn how to use a mobile device. It’s no joke: When it comes to personal tech, they’re quick studies because they’ve grown up with it. While many in Generation X and some millennials watched and participated in early internet development and use, Gen Z has always had it — and usually right in hand via a mobile device. Today, virtually everyone has a mobile device of some sort that’s connected to the internet all of the time. The communication possibilities, as well as the sales and marketing opportunities, are seemingly endless. But with a generation that’s grown up with this kind of tech, you, as a retailer, need to think like they think. This minimally means realizing much of their communication and information gathering occurs via their mobile devices. And that’s where your sales and marketing tactics need to reach them.


Insight 2: Post-pandemic Generation Z represents a substantial amount of focused purchasing power.

Some researchers say Gen Z spending for 2021 will be near $323 billion, with their key motivators not being cost but quality and influencer endorsements (key social media outlets who post reviews and opinions on various products and services).

The oldest Gen Z’ers turned 25 years old in 2021. For tactical retail, that means there’s a fresh crop of relative youngsters who are able to purchase firearms and related gear, who have joined police or security forces and organizations, and who are in or graduating from colleges and universities. They have considerable buying power, and now’s the time to be aware of their buying proclivities and patterns.


Insight 3: Other generations turn to Gen Z for information on household purchases.

Mostly this means parents of Gen Z children generally ask for their insights on basic goods to purchase, but the point may be broadly applied: Gen Z influences other spenders. So retailers do well to acknowledge them, even in their relative youth in a market setting. That’s why influencer endorsements are a crucial area. Multiple generations of buyers look to Gen Z to learn the good, bad or ugly about a particular product or service. Even in tactical retail, this means many in the field who may be older than the Gen Z generation will realize their ability to quickly research products and services and render an informed opinion. In short, you can’t count them out for their lack of experience. What they lack in experience, they make up for in buying savvy.


Insight 4: Gen Z loves the in-store experience, but only after researching and studying the store online.

The availability of online shopping of course plays a massive role in many industries — especially in the last year during the pandemic — but it’s not the only place where retail will be successful. Remember, Gen Z isn’t always looking for the least expensive option; they’re looking for the best quality and, when they’re ready, a more holistic retail environment in which to buy it. Granted, tactical retail is a whole ’nother type of shopping experience than others. But there’s still plenty of overlap in how Gen Z approaches important buying decisions.

In tactical retail, stores can play to Gen Z’s preferences by making sure online marketing matches in-store experience, being willing to allow shoppers to try before they buy, and having clear and simple value propositions for large ticket purchases.


Insight 5: Getting to know Gen Z better means being better prepared for the next generation.

Your tactical retail outfit is in it for the long haul, right? If so, you’ll need to constantly be studying and adjusting retail strategies as Gen Z grows up and are replaced by whoever’s next and what may be a list of additional shopping and buying tendencies that we don’t expect. As always, a key to successful sales is knowing your customer. So don’t just read about Gen Z in all the studies out there; get to know them as a customer. Ask them pointed questions about why they search, shop and purchase like they do. How they answer may surprise you and you might even disagree that their tactics will work, long-term. But they’re a key demographic of your tactical retail enterprise and, to be successful, you’ll need to get to know them very well.


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