How Generation Z Will Impact Retail

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  2. 2017
  3. April

Generation Z hanging outMove over, Millennials. Generation Z, the youngest cohort of consumers comprised of those born after 1995, makes up 25 percent of the U.S. population and wields $44 billion in spending power, which is estimated to reach $200 billion by 2018.

Also known as “Millennials on steroids,” Generation Z is poised to disrupt retail as we know it. Here’s how you can engage this influential group.

Physical Versus Online

Despite all of the reports and rumblings to the contrary, Generation Z still prefers to shop in traditional brick-and-mortar stores most (67 percent) or some (98 percent) of the time. That could be because some Generation Z shoppers are too young to have a bank account or credit/card, must-haves for e-commerce. Regardless, they’re visiting stores, and that’s a great thing.

To ensure that their in-store experience is a good one, be sure that you’re effectively leveraging your people-counting system to understand traffic patterns, periods of peak demand and whether your stores are staffed appropriately. Capitalize on Gen Z store visits by giving them something that’s elusive online: great high-touch customer service.

It Takes Two

It’s probably no surprise that Generation Z, the first truly digital generation, loves a personalized, interactive experience. They’re looking for collaborative engagement; they want to participate in the brand experience instead of simply making a transaction.

This could mean anything from writing a product or service review in order to help other consumers or participating in an online game for a brand campaign. Generation Z wants to be immersed in the brand, not merely a bystander.

For brick-and-mortar retailers, serving up Gen Z-ready experiences means building meaningful digital experiences into the store environment. How about a digital display that shows products trending on e-commerce — or, for example, dresses similar to trendy off-the-shoulder number Rihanna wore in her latest Instagram snap?

Even better, look for ways to take advantage of Generation Z’s addiction to their smartphones. Leverage beacons and geofencing to send out push notifications to these young shoppers as they enter your stores, giving them motivation to focus on your brand instead of price matching with competitors. Also consider artificial intelligence platforms and similar technologies that can guide shopper experiences and product discovery in store and online. However, if you plan on taking advantage of beacon and Wi-fi based solutions, make sure you’re pairing them with people counting solutions. Wi-fi and beacon solutions are not granular enough to provide essential retail KPIs such as sale conversion rate and shopper-to-staff ratio. Pairing this technology with people counters will ensure your Gen Z customers have a top notch in-store experience.

Quality Assurance

Empowered by the information engine that is the modern smartphone, Generation Z easily can find out what your brand is all about and if your products are as good as you say they are. Gen Zers like to spend wisely and get the most for their money — which means that product quality is one of their top priorities. In fact, more than half (54 percent) of Generation Z would drop a brand due to poor product quality. They also don’t have patience for out of stocks so consider optimizing your inventory management to maximize product availability.

Despite their obsession with all things digital, members of Generation Z do consider the implications of handing over their personal data to corporations. However, they’re happy to do so — as long as they have some assurance that their information is stored securely. Don’t risk alienating these shoppers with another headline-grabbing Target-style data breach.

Generation Z may be young but the way these shoppers behave today will influence how you run your retail business tomorrow. By embracing new ideas and digital technologies in store, you can transform your enterprise for long-term success.

3 Reasons Why Student Unions Need People Counters

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  2. 2017
  3. April

students studying a student unionStudent unions are the social center of university campus life. From faculty and staff to students and visitors, the student union brings together the many populations on a college campus for events, a bite to eat, study sessions and more. As campus populations have swelled, however, budgets that support student unions have struggled to keep pace. People counters can unveil the critical insights to ensure student unions are being appropriately utilized and maintained.

To Expand, or Not to Expand

If your college is like most, you’re attracting more students to campus. This means your user population may have outgrown your current student union. There’s a better way to gather data on how your student union is accommodating students instead of relying on intuition. People counters provide real-time data about how traffic flows through your student unions. They can show which times of the day, week, month and year are the busiest. People counters can also provide information such as the areas that are the most congested or undervalued.

If expansion is among your plans, hard data from people counters can be enormously persuasive when trying to convince your administration to fund an overhaul of your student union. What’s more, you can tie traffic data directly to the value that your student union provides. For example, it can reveal the success of the newest café that opened six months ago. People counters can also highlight the sections that attract the strongest turnout for gatherings and events, which can guide future programming.

Facilities Management

There’s another area in which people counters can deliver value. How do you set your student union maintenance and management schedule if you don’t clearly understand how much foot traffic there is? The bottom line: the higher your traffic, the more often you’ll need to schedule regular repairs and cleaning to keep the student union in tip-top shape. By leveraging people-counting data to optimize your maintenance schedule, you can right-size your man hours and ensure that you’re not overpaying for labor.

Set — and Keep — a Sustainable Budget

Let’s face it: dollars are in short supply on college campuses today. Everyone’s competing for their small slice of a shrinking pie, so when it comes time to make the case for funding the student union, data from people counters can give you the edge.

Without data from people counters, it is difficult to:

  • Create realistic hours that the facility should be open. Also, if your people-counting data shows strong traffic right at opening hours, you may want to test opening even earlier to satisfy demand. This can also drive additional revenue at any eateries and other places of commerce inside the union.
  • Equip the student union with sufficient personnel. Traffic data can help you align staffing levels with actual usage demand. This way, workers aren’t standing are idly when students and faculty have all but vanished.
  • Budget sufficiently for facility maintenance. If you’re simply playing a guessing game, you may blow through your annual budget in just half a year — or be forced to cut back and risk complaints on cleanliness (or even safety) from students and staff.

Your budget approval process will go more smoothly if you show the administration that the student union budget you’ve created is grounded firmly in reality.

If you care about your student union, you should leverage people-counting technology and its ability to reveal that value that your critical campus buildings provide.