Take Note, Mobile Payments—Gen Z Prefers Brick-and-Mortar

September 25, 2018         By: Steven Anderson

For anyone planning to shutter their physical storefront and move operations entirely online because that’s what the millennials all seem to want, be careful; you may be painting yourself into a corner. A new study from Profitect reveals that Gen Z—the generation immediately following the millennials—would rather be shopping in a physical storefront.

The Profitect study found that 42 percent of Gen Z shoppers preferred a brick-and-mortar experience over an online one. That may not sound like much cause for celebration—there’s still 58 percent of the study outstanding, after all—but it gets better. Just 23 percent prefer online shopping only, which means out of that remaining 35 percent of the study outstanding, it’s a mix of online and brick-and-mortar, which suggests further opportunity for the brick-and-mortar shops to get customers in.

Those who actually enter a store, meanwhile, offered some unexpected points; outright browsing proved a motivating factor for 46 percent of customer purchases, and 40 percent were influenced by in-store displays.

Profitect’s CEO, Guy Yehiav, offered comment: “Our survey of Gen Z shoppers found that the in-store shopping experience still plays an important role in the shopping journey, even with digital natives. From price and deal shopping, to ease of returns, to interest in checking product availability, the data demonstrates that retailers should not neglect the importance of a strong in-store and online strategy.”

The lesson is simple: hang on. Hang on to your storefront, hang on to your physical inventory. The millennials are a blip in the historical radar, and after they lose their primacy to Gen Z, you will be ready to catch the wave again. However, that’s a generation away, and a lot of brick-and-mortar operations can’t wait that long. The answer, therefore, is simple if difficult: maintain both presences. Use the lesson of the millennials to prepare for whatever bizarre offspring comes out of Gen Z, which may well prefer shopping in astral trances for all anyone knows about them yet.

Having a mobile payments profile certainly won’t hurt matters either, as that will work both sides of the fence at once. In the end, though, one thing is clear: what customers demand today, they may well refuse tomorrow, so the only way to win in retail any more is to be ready for anything.