My daughter Gabby is 13 and testing her boundaries of independence. Along with my patience, of course, but that’s another story.

The “play dates” are long gone. Now she prefers to go to a local outdoor mall – either that or Scheel’s, a ginormous sporting goods store with a cafe, sports simulators and even a full-sized Ferris wheel inside – to hang out with friends. She’s a super-social creature, unlike her brothers, who never once asked to go to the mall. Ever. So this is new for me.

Yesterday I was dropping off Gabby and her friend Maya at Town Center for a few hours, and after the standard lecture of “stay together, don’t talk to strangers, be respectful in stores, etc.,” I started thinking about what stores Gabby actually likes, and what retailers are doing to appeal to her and her friends. After all, like I wrote in a previous post, Z’s prefers to research products online but go into brick-and-mortar stores for the retail “experience.” So, what retail experiences get Gabby and her friends in the door?

A recent article in Small Business Trends addressed this issue with six tips for retailers to appeal to Gen Z shoppers. Check it out. (The following is pulled directly from that article).

  • Be Highly Visible Online and On Social Media. Gen Z’s purchasing process starts with what Fitch (a global retail and brand consultancy) calls “aspirational browsing” — looking for products they want to buy online and on social media, collecting images and getting feedback from friends. But it’s not your mother’s social media: Gen Z tends to prefer peer-to-peer focused social media platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram rather than, say, Facebook. Use social media and online advertising to get their attention.
  • Keep Their Personal Info Secure. Concerns about the security of personal information rank high with Gen Z, and are a primary factor in their preferences for shopping in-store. Make sure you implement data security policies to protect their financial and personal information, or risk incurring their wrath (and losing their business).
  • Share Diverse Images. Generation Z is more racially and ethnically diverse than any other generation, and they take diversity for granted. Make sure your advertising, window displays, website and social media accounts include images of diverse customers, and treat all customers with respect, no matter their age.
  • Let the Music Play. Incorporate music into your store experience if you want to attract Generation Z. Fitch found that for this age group, music shows a store is “open for business,” while a silent store won’t draw their attention. (Angie’s note: Gabby said trendy music is a big reason she goes into stores. She won’t step foot in a store playing “classical” music.)
  • Design Layouts with Them in Mind. Generation Z tends not to look up when shopping, according to Fitch. Instead, they focus on eye-level displays, and on products rather than signage. Keep this in mind and use signage to attract other demographics while creating a visually pleasing eye-level display for Gen Z. One thing they do look at is price tags. They want to make sure they can afford an item before inspecting it, so make sure your prices are easy to see at a glance.
  • Think Tactile. Generation Z wants to touch and handle products before they buy. Create displays that appeal to the senses and let them touch instead of putting products behind glass or high out of reach.

On an end note, as I was driving Gabby and her friend to Town Center, she asked me if I’d ever heard of a “new store” called Express. Um, not so new, my dear daughter, but apparently they’ve done a great job of staying relevant and appealing to younger consumers.

Photo credit: The Houston Chronicle