How Gen Z is informing SMEs’ digital strategies

Gen Z

The new WP Engine Generation Resilience Report 2021 reveals that Gen Z (ages 16-24) is Australia’s most internet-obsessed generation, with 18 per cent unable to go more than an hour without internet access before feeling uncomfortable. The report uncovers valuable data highlighting how small and medium businesses need to take note of emerging online habits, shifting perception of the web and ever-increasing demands for more personalised and purpose-driven digital experiences.

Digital habits are here to stay

61 per cent, expect to maintain their new digital habits post-pandemic. 37 per cent tried online video chats for the first time during the pandemic. 27 per cent ordered food online for the first time. They also cited remote learning and online grocery shopping as activities they tried for the first time during 2020.

Gen Z will soon be the biggest consumer generation, and other generations tend to follow. SMEs need to focus on curating positive experiences that meet the growing demands for better online commerce, so they can remain relevant to demanding customers. Partnering with a trusted WordPress technology company like WP Engine makes this simple by providing automatic updates to websites where needed, without the need for human intervention.

Changing perception of the web

43 per cent rely on the internet for entertainment. 68 per cent of Gen Z increased their use of video streaming in 2020, aligning with their desire to be entertained. TikTok, which was already extremely popular among younger generations, grew 52.4 per cent among Australian Gen Z users in the first half of 2020.

SMEs need to approach their digital marketing strategies carefully, slowly interweaving more entertaining content across their digital channels, while still remaining informative. They must also bolster spending across preferred online sources to ensure they are delivering engaging content to the right audience at a time when they will most engage.

Demand for a more human web

Gen Z is turning to the internet for social connections, with 54 per cent having made a new friend online during the pandemic and 28 per cent depending on the web for all social connections.

The online options that have replaced traditional mechanisms for human interaction have experienced rapid adoption, with little sign of turning back. SMEs have an opportunity to drive differentiation through more personal connections. By leveraging data and creating personalised dialogue with customers, enduring relationships can be formed, leading to greater customer loyalty.

Broad, untargeted adverts are disengaging for Gen Z. For SMEs, using information that is validated through the likes of third-party reviews is a powerful tool that goes a long way in building trust and creating strong personal relationships.

People are becoming more purpose-driven

71 per cent of Gen Z are more likely to buy from a company that supports social causes. Purpose extends beyond what SMEs do for their customers; it’s why they exist and how they can empower an individual’s sense of determination. 40 per cent say they learn about social causes that businesses support through social media.

The phenomenon of purpose-driven marketing continues to be central to businesses’ online success. Communicating, listening, and acknowledging customers’ concerns in a genuine way can drive a more loyal customer base. Those companies that take a stand on the issues that broader society aligns with will reap the rewards.

Gen Z has, and will continue to have, enormous influence over the Australian economy. Thanks to their demands, digital interactions across the customer journey must now be powered by responsive, modern, scalable technology that works across all channels. Businesses that create these interactions will win increased market share, build loyal customers and secure their future success.