Jun 19, 2024

About Gen Z

Generation Z, or simply “Gen Z”, is fascinating. They are a hybrid generation with their phones in hand and their eyes on the horizon. They’re a generation fully immersed in the digital world that wants to make a lasting impact on the physical world.

Many retailers feel intimidated when they consider targeting marketing efforts at Gen Z. Some retailers fear that any approach they take will feel dated or patronizing. Others worry that since the digital space changes so quickly, any attempt to stay relevant is doomed. Then, there’s always the fear of making a cultural or social gaffe that can sink a brand’s reputation with a younger generation.

Here’s what you need to know about Gen Z if you want your brand to remain successful:


Although younger customers aren’t afraid to confront brands they find hypocritical or out of touch, they’re incredibly loyal to brands they connect with. Gen Z are also great connectors and promoters of relevant products.

A vast network of social media influencers partner with retailers to help spread the word about new products, initiatives, or innovations that can skyrocket a business’ success seemingly overnight. Older, stagnant brands without a digital presence are finding it hard to compete in a new retail environment dominated by social media.


Although there are more total retail closings than openings, stores that have built massive brand relationships with younger customers are entering the retail space at incredibly rapid speeds. Retailers like Warby Parker, Casper, Allbirds, Glossier, BaubleBar, Fabletics, and Bonobos have all opened numerous physical stores and plan to add more.

All these brands were born online and are transitioning into physical spaces. In other words, vibrant and relevant brands are moving into a disrupted retail space. This makes it even more important for older retailers to transform in-store environments to appeal to younger generations.

Most retailers incorrectly believe that Gen Z prefers only to purchase products online. That’s not actually true. According to EcoCart, 81% of Gen Z shoppers prefer to shop in a physical store because of the experience it offers.


Younger customers crave a physical experience with the product they’re purchasing. Uniquely, Gen Z makes in-store purchases while simultaneously looking for sale prices or researching comparable products on their phones.

One way retailers can cater to their customers is by providing clear visuals with side-by-side comparisons of competing products. Gen Z likes to be in charge of the purchasing process by gaining as much information about products as they can. When retailers provide that information for them, they win bonus points for transparency and clarity—two values that younger customers champion.


Here are five guidelines for retailers reaching out to Gen Z:

1. Think Visual

Gen Z grew up in a world of streaming video and scrolling social feeds. To attract attention and keep their interest, in-store retailers must update window displays and physical spaces. The days of updating displays seasonally are over. Weekly or monthly displays let a retailer keep pace with how quickly trends change online.

Big, bold graphics are a great way to advertise the changes present inside the store.

2. Seek Authenticity Over Curation

Gen Z saw firsthand the disconnect between staged Instagram photos and real life. They prefer the immediacy and approachability of Snapchat. Rather than curating a visual archive, they triumph messy experiences.

Drop the Photoshop approach. Shift the focus to being candid and making small mistakes. Gen Z doesn’t read casual as lazy; instead, it feels warm and approachable.

3. Emphasize Differences

Gen Z emphasizes highlighting and celebrating differences. The goal for this group is differentiation, not assimilation. Although it takes courage and vulnerability, brands should look for stories of unique customers and employees they can showcase. Telling these stories creates an opportunity for retailers to share how they value and celebrate the wide variety of human experiences.

Large window graphics of real customers or real employees will go far with Gen Z customers. Younger customers want to see themselves represented in a brand’s visuals. Using visuals of women, people of color, people with disabilities, and individuals of all shapes and sizes lets young customers know that their individuality is valued.

4. Offer an Experience, Not a Showroom

Traditional retail displays are picture-perfect. Clothes are arranged beautifully, and furniture looks pristine and unapproachable. Gen Z wants to play with what they purchase, so a traditional approach can feel too formal.

Invest in graphics that encourage customers to get up close and personal. The opportunity to try products, even for extended periods of time, is a successful retail strategy that appeals to younger people. Focus on offering experiences alongside product launches.

New signage can signal rotating exhibits, games, opportunities, or experiences in a retail space. Customers who know they’re likely to experience something new and interactive are more likely to make repeat visits to a store.

5. Put Values Front and Center

Young Americans think big about the impact they can make in the world at large. This understanding makes them interested in partnering with brands that share their values and want to make a difference.

As brick and mortar retailers, don’t be afraid to showcase the causes you’re supporting through large in-store graphics. Gen Z wants their purchases to make a difference. Let them know that shopping with you will support their larger beliefs and concerns.

Refresh Your Retail Presence

The talented Big Visual Group team can help you refresh your retail presence to appeal to Gen Z shoppers so you can connect with younger generations. With years of experience in retail design, we can create a suite of signage that leaves a current and relevant impression.

Interested in updating your physical space? Request a quote today!

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