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Between Gen Zs and Millennials Business: A Strategy Comparison

online to offline shopping with omnichannel marketing for millennials and Gen Zs

If you are an avid consumer of the internet, especially social media, you know that most of these internet users are the younger generations. Divided into two main generations, the millennials or Generation Y, and the Generation Z or popularly shortened as GenZs. Millennials are born between 1981 to 1996, while Gen Zs are born in the latter, between 1997 to 2012 (really keeps us wondering what a ten-year-old can do these days). Millennials are often described as the first generation that grew up in the internet age, with exposures of mobile devices and early stages of social media. Then Gen Zs elevate the use of social media, growing up with excessive exposures of smartphones or tablet devices.

Both generations have their own perks to the world of business, as they need different approaches. What millennials think is better may not be the right option for Gen Zs, and vice versa. To deal with these constant changes, business leaders must now open up to absorb new and crucial lessons, to recognize and accept the wisdom of a younger generation to bridge that gap. But how is it exactly to incorporate both generations into business? We will compare some of the factors that you may need to learn, so keep reading!

Unique concerns

Most millennials now are in their prime working age, or as expected for them to be. This brings us to what the generation actually needs, aside from incomes. According to Deloitte's survey, the top 5 needs or concerns for the millennials are, from highest to lowest, the cost of living, climate change, health care/disease prevention, unemployment, and personal safety. So technically they want to take good care of their own well-being while also wanting to have stability in life. They are either settling down, or in a business-centric lifestyle, with the probability that they may not have started saving for retirement. As for Gen Zs, from the same Deloitte’s survey their top 5 concerns are, from highest to lowest, cost of living, climate change, unemployment, mental health, and sexual harassment. Although they share three similar concerns with millennials, they address mental health as an important need. We can see that Gen Zs have taken actions to put further actions on mental health challenges at workplaces.

In business, it may take different approaches to differentiate the two generations. For example, Gen Zs are probably starting second jobs or as they call it, a side hustle. They create small businesses as a creativity outlet. Millennials probably don’t have the time to express these as they have spent lots of hours in their main occupations, but may have an expensive hobby as an emotional outlet. As an idea, we can take selling bicycle gears as an example. For millennials it may be seen as tertiary expenses related to their hobbies, they go biking on weekends or during certain times. However, for Gen Zs, specific bicycle gears can be expensive, so they see this as something they have to save their money for, or maybe as their primary expense to help them commute around the city. Even for the same type of products, each generation has different concerns.

Shopping habits and frugal living

simple transactions in businesses for millennials and gen Zs

Let’s face it. Everyone loves to shop online within the past decade. Back in the day, online shopping can only relate to millennials as they reach the age of they can apply for credit cards. Today? Everyone can shop online with the many payment options offered. Millennials also have to deal with healthcare prevention, as mentioned above. This gives them more reason to stay healthy, but it is inclined to impulse buying on something that they find relatable, which sometimes only rely on scouring information from advertisements on social media. But then, it leads to the different ways of each generation to manage their finances. As most Gen Zs grew up during the Great Recessions, they have this paradigm that everyone struggles financially. This results in them being cautious with their finances. They start to look for promotions or ways to get things cheaper.

As an example, millennials may have found this up-and-coming bottled healthy smoothie company via social media campaigns, and they order them online, then proceed to wait for the delivery to come to their address. They have the patience to wait for the products. On the other hand, Gen Zs tend to be more old school with this. As they grew up with the internet, going to an actual store makes them excited. In the same context, an omnichannel works better for Gen Zs, as they order the bottled smoothie drink for designated time, pay online, then pick up their orders in the store nearest to their location. As cited from the study of McKinsey & Co about Gen Z in the United States, “they are much more likely to shop in physical stores than millennials, who were the first generation to grow up with online shopping and who are more likely to shop that way”. Having a promotion can also be the best way to gain interests, not just for Gen Zs but also for millennials.

“They are much more likely to shop in physical stores than millennials, who were the first generation to grow up with online shopping and who are more likely to shop that way.” –McKinsey & Co study on Gen Z.

Online and offline presence

targeting both online and offline marketing with omnichannel business

With the combination of concerns and habits, each generation probably has their own tweaks when it comes to business. But did you know? All concerns and habits can be put into a box as one. Namely: a vending machine. You may start to wonder what it has to do with the idea of bridging the gap between generations. Put it this way. The bicycle gears and the bottled smoothies do have one in common: an online and offline presence. Millennials may have found out about a brand from offline exposures then go online to find more information. Gen Zs found out about a brand online, allegedly from social media they cannot stop scrolling and sharing, then goes offline to the store either to take pictures as their social media contents or the idea of going out with friends already excites them. Smart vending machines can do as much to bridge this gap.

Today, a smart vending machine can be used as a tool for marketing campaigns. Let’s keep on track with our bicycle gears and the bottled smoothies. Vending machines which sell bicycle gears may interest millennials during their day out with their bikes. With a cool interface and easy cashless payment system, they easily can be the target of direct purchasing. Next, by adding the online store feature on the LED touchscreen, it will attract Gen Z, where they may not instantly purchase something, but they can scan a QR code of a product, added into their wishlist. This idea has been implemented by Bodypack, where they provide customers an online webstore option, where they can scan products that are way too big for vending machines, and be sent to their address.

Omnichannel marketing

We did mention omnichannel. Our hip bottled smoothies can adopt this idea. People can go to the app or website to choose which smoothies they want (not gonna lie this makes us thirsty), proceed to payment and choose the nearest smoothie’s pickup location along with the time they want to come. Then they can scan a QR code to pick up their bottle. For Gen Zs this looks fun. For millennials, as young parents this can be a fun activity for their kids. This idea has been out in Japan. The Label Fruit, opened in Harajuku area last year, a place where people can order fruit drinks and customise the label on the bottle, then they can pick up at chosen time. The place does not allow in-store consumption, so the crowd mostly comes from people who want to take pictures of the bottle and the place, which is a very Gen Z thing to do.

The bridging process

It can seem difficult to bridge these generations, but it is still possible. You can start by learning more about what vending machines can do. If you have any questions you can comment down below or click the button for a free consultation. Smartven will help you with any questions and inquiries about vending machines. Also check our website and Instagram page for more information about us. Stay healthy and see you soon!


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