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Generation Z Is Inspiring the Future of Customer Experience

by Robert Hetu  |  May 4, 2017  |  Submit a Comment

There is much talk about the millennials shaping the future. However, retail CIOs should be cognizant of Generation Z, a rapidly growing cohort that is already becoming a prime mover, shaker and disruptor, shaping experiences not only for the future of retailing, but for the future of living.

Fellow Gartner analyst Miriam Burt recently published research on the impact of Generation Z. Some of her findings include:

Key Findings

  • Today’s youngest generation, Generation Z, is disproportionately influencing and impacting the world as it is already setting the foundation for the future of living.
  • Generation Z is inspiring the future of customer experience.
  • Retailers’ business “calls to action” and technology investment plans for the future of retailing must be prioritized on Gen Zs’ expectations of the customer experience.

Generation Zs are inherently mobile and social, going beyond mobile downloading and texting. Their “always on” social behavior means that they are constantly accessing easily digestible bits of contextual information through multiple devices — they favor images rather than just pure text. Gen Zs have adopted an everyday “conversational” style — short bursts — with friends, families, peers, colleagues and the world at large. This is evidenced by the rise in mobile messaging apps. For example, in 2016, the market saw the double-digit growth of Snapchat. One reason these apps have grown in popularity is because they allow people to interact in a much more conversational style using natural-language processing (NLP).

Moreover, these types of platforms are beginning to let consumers conduct in-app commerce activities. A case in point is that users of the Facebook Messenger app will now be able to order flowers by chatting with chatbots that power 1-800-Flowers’ Facebook Messenger account. They will also be able to access an automated personal shopping assistant by messaging with mobile shopping app called “Spring.”

Generation Zs’ expectations of the customer experience are influenced by their key attributes. They expect the experience to be conversational in style, easily accessible, experiential, curated, shareable, secure and controllable:

gen z expectations

Gartner clients can read the complete research Future of Experience: Generation Z Is Inspiring the Future of Customer Experience.


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Category: retail-trends  

Tags: customer-experience  cx  gen-z  generation-z  retail  trends  

Robert Hetu
VP, Analyst Retail
7 years at Gartner
29 years IT Industry

Bob Hetu is a Research Director with the Gartner Retail Industry Services team. His responsibilities involve tracking the technology markets and trends impacting the broad-based retail merchandising and planning areas. Mr. Hetu is an expert in the areas of brand, vendor and assortment management, merchandise planning, allocation, and replenishment. Read Full Bio

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