Gen Y, Gen Z…Gen ‘Re’ – the new demographic that will take your marketing plans by storm

Gen Y, Gen Z…Gen ‘Re’ – the new demographic that will take your marketing plans by storm
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine
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In her article for B&T, Jude Blankfield, chief of staff & head of marketing at Slyp (pictured above) explains how the next generation after the Z-ers, which she calls Gen “Re”, will influence the market and force companies to adopt new policies.

As the world begins to return to a new version of normality, marketers are taking a step back to appreciate their malleability and resilience through what has been the fastest and most unpredictable period in the history of our industry.

Not only have marketers navigated a pandemic, there is also a climate crisis, an explosion of new technologies and global paradigm shifts to contend with. From levelling-up tech stacks and taking tactics virtual, to catering to a continually evolving set of values – despite the challenges, marketers are remaining agile to connect with their audiences.

But as the world witnessed an unprecedented amount of tragedy for both humankind and our environment, closures of physical stores, and now a hotbed of competition, a spark in elevated consciousness of values has been ignited.

In response, customer expectations in areas such as convenience, personalisation, and loyalty programs increased dramatically, and marketers are being presented with a different and more defined audience emerging from the pandemic – Gen Re.

Introducing “Gen Re”

Gen “Re” are a new wave of hyper-conscious consumers characterised not by age, gender or socioeconomic status, but by the redefinition of their values and behaviours. Although newly conceptualised, research commissioned by Slyp provides insights into how marketers can best adapt and target this newly emerging audience through thoughtful and intelligent marketing tactics.

Read on for top tips on how to put this theory into practice.

Walking the walk with sustainability

As a group, Gen “Re” consumers have higher expectations and are more willing to act if their expectations are not met. In fact, over half (57 per cent) of shoppers have boycotted one or more brands because they didn’t live up to their customer experience promises. Part of the Gen “Re” mindset is the belief of 68 per cent of consumers that brands should do more than just address their own environmental impact and should actually act as leaders in driving positive change.

Gen “Re” is laser-focused on sustainable shopping and a prime example of a retailer which has identified this expectation and acted on it early is leading Aussie beverage retailer, Dan Murphy’s. In 2020, Dan Murphy’s launched a new store in Batemans Bay featuring an electric car charging station, LED lighting to help reduce energy consumption, and a 53kWh solar roof system that offsets a large portion of the store’s energy usage.

Also striving to meet their sustainability goals, eco-conscious fashion and beauty retailer, Flora & Fauna, are now encouraging its suppliers to help address plastic waste by no longer accepting products sent using unnecessary plastic. As part of the ‘Take it Back’ scheme, suppliers that send products to Flora & Fauna in plastic are given a warning to adopt a more sustainable approach and if changes are not made, the plastic is sent back to the supplier to manage.

Bringing it back to the community

A key element of the Gen “Re” mindset is a re-focus on what’s important. Nearly half (46 per cent) of Australians say that their values and the way they look at life has changed since the pandemic. This ranges from broader issues like sustainability and social concerns, through to supporting their own local community.

While large-scale issues are important, Australians also value their local community. Part of the new Gen “Re” mindset has been that one-in-three now feel more connected to their local community than ever. There are many ways that consumers say retailers can help build a sense of community; for example, 47 per cent of shoppers say having staff that provide a human connection helps build community. This can be particularly important to individuals who may otherwise have limited social contacts.

Redefine the in-store experience

Reducing the friction of in-store shopping is important to Gen “Re” and a range of technologies including interactive screens, QR codes, and various payment technologies including Smart Receipts have proven their potential in this area. So much so that three-in-four (74 per cent) retailers have committed to investing in in-store experiential retail in the next three years.

Payment may seem like a simple part of the in-store customer journey, yet payment methods that reduce friction in the process have experienced a marked rise in popularity in recent years. The use of Tap-and-Pay and mobile app payments all drastically increased through the pandemic, and 46 percent of shoppers are now convinced that contactless payment in-store is here to stay. Retailers should ensure such consumer preferences are accounted for when redefining the in-store experience.

Put omnichannel at the heart

In the omnichannel world, it is quality not quantity that matters, as 69 per cent of consumers say they would like fewer, better, channels when shopping with a brand.

Along with having access to high-quality retail channels, the majority (75 per cent) of shoppers also want a consistent experience irrespective of channel but only 50 per cent feel that the retailers they use deliver it. If your customer experiences friction at the point-of-sale at your shop, but not at that of your competitor, they are far more likely to opt for the experience that was easier and faster for them next time around.

The takeaway for marketers is simple: ensure that your key channels deliver a consistent high-quality experience before adding others into the mix. The sheer scale and complexity of managing multiple channels may mean that larger retailers have an advantage.

Prioritise loyalty

Australians have a long-term love affair with loyalty programs with 89 per cent of consumers participating in at least one, and the average person a member of 5.52. Not surprisingly, the majority of Australian shoppers expect to be rewarded through loyalty programs, both online and in-store.

Along with the rest of the population, Gen “Re” have particular requirements of loyalty programmes, though their loyalty is also impacted by the emotional trust they have in retailers. The intertwined nature of emotional and functional loyalty can be seen in the role of trust in brand relationships. If a shopper trusts a brand, then 71 per cent will buy more from a brand, 66 per cent will make a positive recommendation, 45 per cent will post a positive online review. These are all signs of emotional loyalty. Gen “Re” are redefining loyalty at both a functional and emotional level and that is why over half of retailers made loyalty a strategy priority in 2021 and should continue to do so through 2022 and beyond.

The emergence of Gen “Re” is one born out of global issues from climate crises to Covid-19. The broad range of causes which sparked its emergence means there is no black and white playbook for this audience. Rather, the demographic has room to shift and grow as society’s changing values and expectations continue to evolve. For marketers, the key to connecting with Gen “Re” will be by truly getting to know their customers and learning how to grow with them. In doing so, they will be able to provide a personalised, customer-first service which can quickly adapt to their needs for convenience, community – and ultimately – align with their values.

 

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