Since technology is thrown in every direction of Generation Z, you’d be forgiven for guessing that they would also take a preference to online shopping. But a recent report by Profitect revealed that 42% of US shoppers aged 18-22, from a sample of 1,000, took a preference to in-store shopping over online. Moreover, another 34% said they liked both in equal measure.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss how you can boost online engagement amongst this demographic by ensuring that your online and offline efforts complement one another.

Augmented reality

Technological advances are helping retailers to transport their brick-and-mortar outlets to users’ mobile devices. Augmented Reality (AR), for example, has been proven in other verticals such as gaming and social media. In an eCommerce context, brands could use AR to take advantage of the fact that 90% of time spent on smartphones is done so via apps – according to One possibility is allowing consumers to dress up a character, which looks like them, with outfits they’re thinking of purchasing. Retailers could also create competitions where users who find hidden items win a prize. These would help to boost engagement by creating a more personal experience and one which is also fun for the customer.

Virtual reality

eCommerce sites could also create more of a real-life experience with Virtual Reality (VR), which might help to reduce shopping cart abandonment rates. This currently stands at 76% worldwide, according to Annex Cloud. Retailers could implement the feature by allowing

shoppers to try on items they’re thinking about buying in a virtual changing room, which would allow them to just go in and purchase what they want. It could also be used to create virtual high street stores, with virtual store assistants based on real-life employees. Not only would this benefit the customer by letting them explore the store, without needing to visit until they purchase, but it could also have the added bonus of improving internal engagement.

Keeping your catalogue and online inventory updated

As the report also mentions, keeping the stock of your items up-to-date is vital – even more so when well over half (60%) check online to see if the item they want is available before making an in-store purchase. It becomes even more important when you consider that a fifth of surveyed individuals (20%) said they’d never shop again at a retailer which didn’t have an item in-store, despite claiming that it was in stock. Along with helping to engage young shoppers, keeping your inventory updated is also important for maintaining high trust levels – a topic we discussed in a recent blog post.

To summarise…

The fact that high-street shopping with Generation Z is gaining popularity doesn’t mean that eCommerce isn’t still important when it comes to engaging this demographic. Not only does combining online and offline allow for a more seamless customer journey, but it also enables retailers to enhance their reputation amongst consumers. Technological advances can help brands enhance customer experience by connecting both off and online journeys and in turn remain prominent in the long run.