The Younger Generation That Chooses Brick and Mortar Stores
You’re a part of Generation Z if you were born between 1997 and 2012. (If Z is the last letter of the alphabet… then what’s next?) This generation actually prefers shopping at old-fashioned brick-and-mortar stores. Why? Simply put—because it’s fun and entertaining! Does this mean we’ve all exaggerated the death of retail? We think so.
According to a recent Morning Consult study, “(They) will be the largest, most ethnically diverse, best educated, and most financially powerful generation ever.” When Gen Z-ers started spending their own money, two-day delivery was becoming the norm. They made their first purchases when the convenience of online ordering and home delivery was the trend. So why didn’t they keep it up and hop onto the online bandwagon? Is ecommerce missing something? Or was it that, when looking at these different shopping experiences side by side, they found that neither was shiny and new? Why did they choose brick-and-mortar shopping over online?
We think it’s the spontaneity that comes with retail. There’s also a tactile experience that online shopping can’t provide. And we think shopping brick-and-mortar satisfies a social need, whether it’s just being out of the house, dressing up, or investing in “retail therapy”. They might find exactly what they were looking for, or they could discover something brand-new! Either way, they’re going out to interact with real people instead of clicking around online from the comfort of home.
The Beauty of Brick and Mortar Shopping
As producers who have built a major retail brand, we appreciate the power behind brick-and-mortar. We were lucky enough to offer our products in a large territory to retailers’ existing customers. Unlike the direct-to-consumer business where only a few items are sold at a time, we received one check for one big shipment of many different products. Our brand had the opportunity to be discovered on retail shelves and floor displays. When people buy online, they’re likely to repeat the same purchase of the same brand over and over again. There’s barely any chance of discovering something new! Convenience and time-saving triumph over discovery!
Price-wise, ecommerce is a race to the bottom. Price is always the determining factor online, rather than quality. Both the customer and the producer know that quality is hard to fake in a physical retail store.
Going Shopping—For Fun!
According to the report we mentioned earlier, two-thirds of Gen Z-ers shop for fun at least once per month. Among the list of their top “brands” were Wal-Mart and Target—two of the world’s largest brick-and-mortar stores.
“Free delivery” is a peculiar misconception that has boosted ecommerce as we know it. If everyone working for the USPS, UPS, and FedEx still gets paid to ship “for free”, where does the money come from? Either the online merchants factored shipping into their prices, or they “invested” in delivery costs to compete with brick-and-mortar stores. The customer ends up paying for delivery one way or another in the end. But a brick-and-mortar store will meet you halfway—You drive to them. They offer you prices that don’t include the cost of getting the product in your hands.
It’s been interesting to see Generation Z rediscovering what the Boomers knew all along about brick-and-mortar shopping. But don’t let them have all the fun—let’s go on a shopping trip! We’ll discover something new and meet people along the way!