How To Attract Gen Z to Your Service-Based Business in 2021: 5 Massive Trends That Are Leading the Way
Gen Z (defined as those born after 1998) is where the big bucks are. And whether you are a barber, stylist, salon, or another small business entrepreneur you should be focussed on this customer segment if you want to see your revenue stream moving upwards.
Wondering why? Here are some stats:
- Gen Z, have been outpacing their Millennial counterparts as the largest spending demographic for a few years.
- By 2017, they commanded $44 billion in buying power, and by the end of this year, it’s predicted that they will command nearly 40% of all consumer shopping.
But how do you capture their attention especially when Gen Z does not behave like generations before them?
Understanding this consumer group and catering to them is essential to attracting more of their tribe through your doors.
To that end, let’s explore the trends that influence buying in this segment and how to attract Gen Z to your salon, spa, barbershop, or wellness business.
Table of contents
- Gen Z consumers are budget conscious
- This generation loves rich business experiences
- Gen Z clients can’t stand inefficiency
- They are obsessed with video
- These clients care a great deal about social and environmental issues
1. Gen Z consumers are budget conscious
Budget is a key consideration when looking at Generation Z spending habits. 72% of Gen Z-ers say that cost is the most important factor when making a purchase.
Now, budget-conscious consumers are not exactly the dream clientele for small businesses like you, but considering the vastness of the demographic, capturing their sparse spending today still translates to more revenue.
It’s also important to look at the bigger picture. Gen Z is at an age where they are still in college or just entering the workforce. They grew up in the middle of the 2008 global financial crisis, and many felt economic insecurity in their households through that time.
Gen Z has not experienced the financial security that generations before them have enjoyed, and they’re not yet at an age to create it for themselves. They are cautious and value-driven. But they will eventually go into well-paid work (as the most highly-educated generation in history).
While they will likely retain their frugal habits, their earning capacity will increase, and so too will their spending.
So, how do you attract Gen Z when they are characteristically conscious of not spending? One approach is to come up with creative offers and promotions.
Consider creating an irresistible service package that’s budget-friendly — without diminishing your brand value.
One great example of this tip in action comes from the hair salon Coy Beauty. The company recently launched a special that offered complimentary deep conditioning for every hair appointment booked on Mondays through Wednesdays.
It’s an well-executed service package because it caters to clients on a budget (like Gen Z), but it also offers restrictions. Coy Beauty is only offering the special to clients who book early in the workweek (which is typically a slow period for salons). Doing so enables the salon to drum up business and attract clients on the days that Coy Beauty needs them the most.
You could also consider loyalty programs, where they can get free services, or heavily-reduced services, as a reward for repeat visits.
The bottom line? Think with value in mind as you market to Gen Z clients.
2. This generation loves rich business experiences
Born with mobile phones in their hands, Gen Z is the most tech-savvy generation we’ve ever seen, but they also seem to suffer from technology fatigue.
To be fair, a lot of people experience tech fatigue, but this generation is hyper-aware of its effects. Gen Z-ers recognize that constant screen time contributes to stress, and as a result, a study conducted by Wattpad found that 43% of Gen Z-ers say they actively opt to spend a couple of hours of each day away from social media.
Some suggest that this explains why experiences are such a big factor in Generation Z spending habits. Members of this generation crave the chance to escape their connected devices.
These experiences could be events, travel, or sports, but it can also include simple shopping experiences that take place in-store. A survey by A. T. Kearney suggests that 81% of Gen Z-ers prefer to shop in stores. And more than half of those say that “real world” shopping allows them to disconnect from the online world.
This trend is a massive opportunity for those in the services space. Gen Z likes to get out of their home, to take a mini-break at a location where they can unplug. With Gen Z prioritizing this time to disconnect from their devices, experiences around switching off for self-care are highly appealing — as long as they’re at the right price point and demonstrating value for this discerning demographic.
As Gen Z-ers are still studying and not stuck in the 9-5 just yet, salons, barbers, spas, and other small businesses should capitalize on this flexibility and provide Gen Z offers and experiences at times when business is usually slow. Not burdened by strict schedules and mindful of the need to break away and switch off, designing experiences just for them in your quiet periods is a huge win-win for you both.
When marketing these offers, be conscious of speaking their language. Talk about the importance of switching off and what you offer that adds to the disconnection experience — emphasis on experience. Consider slight re-designs to the services you provide to facilitate this further.
For example, if you are a busy nail salon, you could offer eye masks so that clients can put in earphones and pretend they are alone in the salon. If you are a wellness center, you could offer tailored immersive experiences or rooms that give your clients an escape.
Naturopathica does this incredibly well. The brand’s Chelsea location (which serves as a retail store-slash-spa) offers unique shopping and spa experiences — including product testing, workshops, beautiful relaxation spaces, immersive treatments, and more.
Sidenote: while these experiences may not be feasible amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, you should definitely keep them in mind for the future.
3. Gen Z clients can’t stand inefficiency
Coming from a highly connected world where well-paid user experience (UX) professionals have designed many of the services they use, Gen Z has no patience for inefficiency. Their standards are high.
Sixty percent of Gen Z-ers won’t use apps or websites that load slowly or are difficult to navigate. They’re used to Silicon Valley levels of user efficiency, and they expect this from every site they visit online.
This spills over into the offline world, too. Phone calls, for example, will be aborted by 60% of Gen Z-ers if not answered in under 45 seconds. And contrary to popular belief, Gen Z is more likely than any other age group to pick up the phone (or, more accurately, select click-to-call from their smartphone) following their research on your business.
If you are currently operating with a website that loads slowly, looks old, and doesn’t give detailed information about your services, prices, and deals, or does not give them an option to book online you will struggle to capture the attention of Gen Z clients.
Fortunately, it no longer costs a fortune to run a professional website that looks and acts the part. Website building platforms like Wix or Squarespace allow small businesses to make websites that look sleek and function perfectly.
Plus, solutions like Genbook can make the booking process more efficient by enabling your clients to schedule their appointments online or on their smartphones.
Take a look at Mayhem Boutique Salon’s booking page. In addition to enabling clients to schedule appointments online, Mayhem’s booking page contains important announcements about COVID-19 and even client reviews. Having these things on its online portal gives people more confidence in Mayhem, which may ultimately increase booking rates.
With your online presence running efficiently, you also need to ensure your in-store experience matches. Delays will frustrate this busy and already stressed generation, as will fumbled processes that could be run more efficiently.
For example, if you need clients to fill out forms, this should be sent to them prior to their appointment (via appointment confirmation emails and reminders) rather than when they arrive at your salon or spa.
Genbook, once again, can help you accomplish this. You can use Genbook to automatically send appointment confirmations when a booking goes through. You’re able to customize these emails to include any additional information (parking instructions, reminders, etc.) plus you can include attachments in case clients need to fill out anything beforehand.
4. They are obsessed with video
Gen Z loves video content. Following a 2018 Pew study that discovered 85% of teens use YouTube, Google (YouTube’s parent company) set about discovering why. The company found that Gen Z consumes YouTube video content to learn, feel more connected to their friends — by watching together — and de-stress.
When you think about it, video requires the least from viewers. If they’re attracted to the visual aspect, they can view without sound. If they want to listen to the content, they can listen without watching.
Video is one type of content that can be consumed passively and still be enjoyed. This makes it immensely appealing to a generation that is over ads and looking for content that helps them, whether it be to learn, connect, or unwind.
If you’re currently thinking “video is too hard,” you may want to reconsider. Cisco suggests that video will account for 82% of internet traffic globally by 2022. That’s a big chunk of attention that other content forms will miss. What’s more, live video is predicted to grow 15-fold over the same period, making up 17% of internet video traffic by 2022.
Let’s get to the good news. Gen Z loves authenticity, which means that they care more about genuine and real video content than videos of high production quality. They are the Snapchat generation, used to video from mobile phones that doesn’t have the bells and whistles of editing software. This is excellent news for small businesses looking to capture Gen Z’s attention through video.
So if you haven’t done so yet, spend some time doing Instagram stories, sharing fun videos of makeovers, haircuts, or pampers of any kind.
Alternatively, you could take an educational approach by leveraging YouTube to publish informative videos. You already have unique skills that you’re using daily on existing clients. Why not share them to engage with the audience that’s going to make up the majority of your spending demographic in the coming years?
Have a look at Nicck Townsend (aka the East Coast Brow King). Nicck often publishes videos of him or his team in action to demonstrate how to groom eyebrows.
5. These clients care a great deal about social and environmental issues
Gen Z is the most values-driven generation we have ever seen. They are environmentally conscious, deeply aware of social issues, and they are more engaged than any other generation in activism on these issues. Their sense of self is strong, and they see straight through typical advertising techniques. This generation craves people, brands, and businesses that are real, authentic, and share their values.
That’s why it’s important to consider the values of your business. Communicate these on your website, on your social media pages, and in-store. Look at where your products come from, how you recycle, or what causes you’re involved with. Communicate all of the good you are doing for the community and the environment.
Check out what Nori’s Eco Salon is doing. A certified green salon, Nori’s puts the brand’s environment-friendly values front and center. Its website goes into detail about the salon’s green practices and policies, and the site contains pictures and social proof like awards and reviews that reinforce the company’s values.
Marketing to Gen Z can be challenging, but the effort is more than worth it
Gen Z may just be the toughest demographic to accommodate. The tried and tested marketing tricks and gimmicks don’t work, and they really do require some extra effort. But at the core, Gen Z consumers just want to engage with good people who are conscious of the same things they are. Get that right, and you’re on track to winning their hearts and conscious spending.
Hopefully, this post gives you some inspiration on how to attract Gen Z clients.
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