Guest blog: Adding in-store theatre to attract Gen-Z customers – Dan Mayer, C J Retail Solutions

CJRetailSolutions_DanMayerAs Generation Z comes of age, it has become even more important for retailers to harness the power of digital to attract them into their stores. By delivering experiences that are more likely to drive sales and encourage brand loyalty, Dan Mayer, field marketing specialist, from retail experts C J Retail Solutions, explains how retailers are enhancing their stores to attract this generation.

When drawing in the younger generations, you need to think about where you have the edge, and often this is found in giving people the chance to try before they buy. Certainly in the case of make-up, perfume, food or an outfit for a special occasion, there are clear benefits to trying different products before making a decision.

Product sampling and demonstrations have always been one of the most effective ways of engaging customers with your brand – and they are becoming even more powerful in the digital age. Livestreaming exclusive events tailored to those in their early 20s can help you create a buzz around products and seasonal events.

Book signings, make-up demonstrations and taster nights are a tried-and-tested way to get people talking, and if you impress digitally-savvy younger shoppers you can benefit from extra exposure on social media. Wherever possible, be generous with your free samples and gifts – the more imaginative you can make them, the more likely you’ll be to get them snapping pictures and sharing key content on Instagram. When customers are genuinely excited about a product, it will come across in their posts and looks far better than simply asking them to tag the brand or comment on a post.

Another good way to get them talking is to collaborate with social influencers by inviting them into the store to promote products. For Gen-Z, YouTube stars rank much higher than traditional celebrities, because they give off a sense of authenticity – something that is extremely important for this generation.

No one understands this generation more than its members, so draw on the insights of the younger cohort of your store team. A team brainstorming session will give you a good idea of what your target customers might be looking for and suggest ways to improve the in-store experience.

Gen-Z might not, for example, respond well to traditional upselling or harder sales tactics. However, by encouraging staff members to become loyal brand ambassadors themselves, their enthusiasm will come across when talking to customers. Cosmetics brands do this well by listening to the specific needs and preferences of their customers and creating a bespoke experience.

With Gen-Z said to have just an eight-second attention span, you’ll have to work hard to capture and keep their attention. Bear in mind that they may filter out anything that appears too much like an advertisement or sales push. The key here is to get them engaged in an authentic manner.

When it comes to merchandising for this growing population of buyers, you need to play into their wants and needs at strategic points in the store. Health and well-being is a high priority for the age group, so placing items like protein-rich snacks and hand sanitisers at the entrance of your store or on promotional stands near the tills are a great way to harness the power of impulse purchases.

When it comes down to it, field marketing isn’t that much of a far cry from a store’s regular approach, and if you want to turn the Gen-Z customer base into regulars, understanding what they like – and vitally – how they want to receive it, will give you the best foundation for success.


Dan Mayer is a field marketing specialist at C J Retail Solutions

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