Brand Attributes Valued by Millennial and Gen Z Shoppers

Julie Pearl Published on February 11, 2015 Last updated on November 16, 2023

Millennial and Gen Z shoppers dominate the market. Can you keep up and capture the brand loyalty from these generations?

Both millennial and Gen Z shoppers have transformed consumer preferences. These digitally adept generations bring a fresh perspective to the table, seeking brands that seamlessly align with their values and aspirations.

Today, we will uncover the core brand attributes that resonate deeply with millennial and Gen Z shoppers, ranging from sustainability and inclusivity to innovation and authenticity.

The Millennial and Gen Z Consumer Landscape

But before we delve into the specifics, let us first discuss the consumer mindsets of both millennial shoppers and Gen Z shoppers.

  • Millennial Shoppers

    Millennial shopping habits blend the digital and physical realms, showcasing a tech-savvy approach to selecting brands. Hence, this demographic leverages online platforms for extensive product research. In addition, millennial shoppers seek seamless integration between online and in-store experiences.

    Millennial shoppers are drawn to brands that consistently deliver quality, align with their values, and engage in transparent communication. To them, the concept of brand loyalty encompasses the overall brand experience. In fact, memorable experiences often take precedence over the products themselves.

  • Gen Z Shoppers

    In contrast, the Gen Z shopping landscape completely unfolds in the digital frontier. In other words, Gen Z shoppers showcase a strong preference for online channels. Additionally, Gen Z shoppers are characterized by a heightened sense of individuality. They appreciate personalized experiences and products that align with their unique identities.

    Based on said attitudes, brand loyalty for Gen Z shoppers is intricately tied to interactive experiences. Brands that authentically connect with them on social media and integrate them into brand narratives tend to garner lasting loyalty. Unlike their millennial counterparts, Gen Z’s loyalty is often influenced by engaging and visual content.

  • Shared Consumer Behavior

    While there are distinct characteristics that define millennial and Gen Z consumer behavior, there are also notable similarities that bridge the gap between these two generations:

    • Digital Connectivity: Both millennial and Gen Z shoppers are digitally connected generations, relying heavily on online platforms for information, socializing, and shopping.
    • Social Consciousness: Both Gen Z and millennial shoppers express a heightened awareness of social and environmental issues. They are more likely to support brands that align with their values, prioritize sustainability, and contribute to social causes.
    • Desire for Personalization: Customization is a common preference among millennial and Gen Z shoppers. These consumers appreciate personalized experiences, whether in product recommendations, marketing messages, or exclusive offerings.

Now that we understand what makes Gen Z and millennial shoppers tick, let’s now examine the attributes that they expect brands to have.

Authenticity

Authenticity goes beyond superficial facades and resonates as a core value within both individuals and brands alike. This concept reverberates with significant impact, especially when considering the discerning sensibilities of millennial and Gen Z shoppers.

  • Embodying Genuine Values

    These generations possess an uncanny ability to identify insincerity within messaging. As such, they show brand loyalty towards those that emanate genuine values and have a consistent voice.

    For Gen Z and millennial shoppers, brand authenticity guides their choices in an increasingly complex landscape of consumer behavior. They seek out brands that truly embody their values, connecting on a deeper level than just transactional engagement.

  • Revealing the Inner Workings

    An authentic brand, according to these discerning shoppers, is one that doesn’t shy away from revealing its true self. This involves more than just showcasing polished marketing campaigns. It also entails peeling back the layers and providing insights into the inner workings of the brand.

  • Consistent Branding

    Additionally, authentic brands maintain a consistent voice and identity across various touchpoints. This cohesiveness reassures millennial and Gen Z shoppers that the brand’s values are not just skin-deep but ingrained in every facet of its existence.

  • Commitment to Values

    Furthermore, authenticity is more than marketing slogans and campaigns. It must also extend into tangible actions that showcase a brand’s commitment to its stated values. Narratives of real impact, whether it’s sustainable practices or community engagement, provide evidence that the brand walks the talk.

Transparency

For millennial and Gen Z shoppers, brands that openly reveal their practices and principles hold a distinct appeal. This consumer behavior is rooted in the inclination of these generations to align themselves with brands that exhibit transparency.

  • Unveiling the Brand’s Journey

    Brand transparency extends far beyond the surface level. It involves a comprehensive unveiling of the brand’s journey, from sourcing raw materials to the workings of the supply chain.

    Gen Z and millennial shoppers seek to understand not only the final product but also the processes that contribute to its creation. Showcasing these details enables brands to establish a strong foundation of trust that leads to brand loyalty.

  • Conscious Consumerism

    One of the fundamental aspects of transparency lies in revealing the origin of ingredients. Now that conscious consumerism is gaining momentum, millennial and Gen Z shoppers place importance on knowing the source of the materials used in the products they purchase.

  • Commitment to Accountability

    However, transparency isn’t just confined to individual components. It also extends to the brand’s broader principles and practices. Whether it’s ethical sourcing, environmental sustainability, or social responsibility, being forthcoming about these aspects communicates a commitment to accountability.

Sustainable Shopping

The discourse surrounding sustainability has evolved far beyond a fleeting trend. Now, it has become a key attribute that shapes brand loyalty and consumer behavior. Within this context, the discerning sensibilities of Gen Z and millennial shoppers come into play.

  • Greenwashing is not a Green Flag

    These generations possess an innate ability to discern and identify instances of greenwashing - the practice of making superficial claims regarding eco-friendliness. Fueled by a commitment to authenticity, millennial and Gen Z shoppers demand genuine sustainability endeavors that aren’t just lip service.

  • Responsible Sourcing

    At the core of sustainable shopping lies an unwavering dedication to responsible sourcing. As previously mentioned, Gen Z and millennial shoppers wish to discover the workings of supply chains and production processes. They use this knowledge to seek out brands that demonstrate a commitment to ethically sourcing raw materials.

  • Eco-friendly Packaging

    In addition to responsible sourcing, eco-conscious packaging stands as a tangible manifestation of a brand’s dedication to sustainability. Millennial and Gen Z shoppers champion brands that adopt packaging solutions mindful of their environmental impact.

Engaging Content

Social media has become an arena where brands can leave an indelible mark on Gen Z and millennial shoppers. On that note, the key lies in crafting content that resonates deeply within the context of these platforms. Such content ignites a spark of interest that can lead to lasting brand loyalty.

  • Visual Storytelling

    In the era of social media, visual storytelling takes center stage. A single image can evoke emotions and memories that words alone might struggle to convey. Brands that adeptly utilize visuals to tell their story forge a path that influences consumer behavior.

  • Relatable Narratives

    Relatable narratives, another cornerstone of successful social media engagement, enable brands to establish a connection with their audience. Sharing stories that align with the experiences and aspirations of millennial and Gen Z shoppers creates a sense of camaraderie.

  • Interactive Posts

    Furthermore, the power of interaction cannot be understated. Interactive posts provide a bridge for Gen Z and millennial shoppers to actively engage with brands. Quizzes, polls, challenges, and behind-the-scenes glimpses invite consumers to participate. These transform the relationship from passive observation to active engagement.

Mobile-First Approach and Seamless User Experience (UX)

The evolution of the mobile phone into an extension of an individual’s identity has ushered in a new era of connectivity and convenience. Needless to say, this integration has become a trademark of millennial and Gen Z shoppers.

What can brands do about it, then? The answer is simple: implement a mobile-first approach that influences the consumer behavior of Gen Z and millennial shoppers.

  • Fluid Design

    Websites that respond intuitively to the touch of a fingertip forge an unparalleled user experience (UX). This inevitably leads to brand loyalty among millennial and Gen Z shoppers. In addition, as Gen Z and millennial shoppers navigate through a brand’s website, the absence of cumbersome adjustments leaves an impression of seamlessness.

  • Streamlined Shopping Cart

    Aside from a fluid website design, the streamlined shopping cart shows a brand’s commitment to enhancing convenience. The ease with which millennial and Gen Z shoppers can add and remove items aligns with their consumer behavior.

  • Frictionless Checkout

    The culmination of the mobile-first journey lies in the frictionless checkout experience. The ability to swiftly complete a purchase speaks volumes about a brand’s dedication to prioritizing its customers’ time and preferences.

    Gen Z and millennial shoppers are accustomed to the rapid pace of the digital realm. Hence, they appreciate a checkout process that mirrors the simplicity and efficiency they encounter in other aspects of their lives.

Affordability

Millennial and Gen Z shoppers always base their consumer behavior within their economic constraints. For these generations, the intersection of quality and affordability becomes a pivotal juncture where brand loyalty is either secured or denied.

This presents a two-pronged challenge for brands. First, they must maintain a commitment to delivering products and services of commendable quality. Simultaneously, they must ensure that the products remain within the financial reach of Gen Z and millennial shoppers.

  • Value Proposition

    For millennial and Gen Z shoppers, the value proposition goes beyond a simple transactional exchange. It’s a connection between the perceived quality of a product or service and the price they pay for it. Brands that demonstrate an awareness of this dynamic and extend offerings that embody this connection secure brand loyalty from these shoppers.

  • Consideration of Economic Realities

    However, the resonance of affordability with these generations goes beyond fiscal concerns. More importantly, brands that understand and address the economic realities of Gen Z and millennial shoppers are one step closer to securing brand loyalty.

  • Economic Inclusivity

    Furthermore, the intersection of affordability with quality reflects a brand’s commitment to economic inclusivity. In other words, brands must open their doors to a wider audience, inviting individuals from varying economic backgrounds to check out the brand’s offerings.

CSR and DEI

These days, brands are no longer relegated to the role of commodities alone. For millennial and Gen Z shoppers, brands need to embody something far more profound - purpose. After all, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) hold sway in the minds of these generations.

  • Corporate Social Responsibility

    The notion of CSR transcends consumer behavior and brand loyalty, evolving into a driving force behind a brand’s ethos. In the eyes of Gen Z and millennial shoppers, brands that embark on meaningful CSR initiatives become agents of change within society.

    At the heart of CSR lies the commitment to ethical practices that extend far beyond the boardroom. Millennials and Gen Z shoppers, distinguished for their ethical sensibilities, are drawn to brands that align with their values. This, in turn, could lead to brand loyalty.

  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    However, aligning with the values of Gen Z and millennial shoppers also extends to the realm of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The inclination of these generations towards brands that prioritize DEI reflects a profound yearning for inclusivity and fairness.

    The elimination of prejudice and corporate bias is perceived not only as an act of compliance but also as a way of respecting the complex human experience. In other words, brands that champion DEI show a commitment to eradicating social barriers.

Simply put, millennial and Gen Z shoppers are rewriting the playbook for engagement. They hold a special place for brands that embody authenticity, sustainability, and inclusivity. Through these attributes, businesses can flourish in a marketplace filled with changing customer behavior. The journey to securing their brand loyalty is ongoing, yet the rewards are boundless.

As a brand, Open Access BPO also keeps in mind its corporate social responsibility and implements inclusive hiring practices, reflecting the same core values that most Millennials and Gen Z-ers uphold.

Outsource to Open Access BPO to make your brand more capable of catering to the younger generations. Contact us today!

group-of-smiling-millennials
In a post describing the generations of customers that every business must learn to accommodate, we labeled Generation Y as the easiest to market to but the hardest to manage. This demographic composing of millennials is targeted by businesses not only because its massive population of consumers is highly influential, but more importantly because it’s the future.

With 80 million of them in the US alone, Gen Y is the largest consumer market, holding a purchasing power that s greater than what Baby Boomers possess. Consumer psychologist Kit Yarrow even estimated that by 2017, American 20-somethings will altogether spend $200 billion annually. Captivating millennials is indeed more than a feat for securing your brand s stability. Sell to them well, and you ll have a market of loyal customers who will collectively spend $10 trillion throughout their lifetime.

group-millennial-taking-selfie-with-tablet
The media may have stereotyped this generation as underemployed, self-centered, and image-conscious, but there is more to millennials definition of customer satisfaction than getting service that is tailored solely after their personal tastes. Here s what your business should be in order to give Gen Y the type of customer experience they seek:

1.     Multifunctional and mobile

young-millennial-girls-looking-at-smartphone

Catering to an audience that fully embraces technology requires aligning yourself and your customer experience strategy to the same level of tech-savviness it’s on. Millennials were raised in an environment that provides instant access to communication, entertainment, and commerce in one bundle, so they expect everything to work with just a few taps on a screen. For most of them, that catchall is their smartphone—they use it for everything, from socializing to shopping. Fail to go mobile, and you ll fall off their radar.

2.     Promoter of social consumption

female-millennial-holding-smartphone-shopping-bags

A generation that spends a significant portion of their day looking down on their screens may seem far from sociable, but millennials are actually quite well-engaged. They may express their sociability more online, but their reach and network size are greater than what other generations can achieve “in real life.” A notable indication of their social behavior can be seen in how they shop—it s their habit to buy in groups, seek shopping opinion from others, and discuss purchasing decisions with peers. So if you re targeting millennials, you should offer tools for sharing their consumer activities involving your brand.

3.     Collaborative

group-millennials-stacking-hands

Gen Y has a mindset of fixing things together; they like the feeling of being able to contribute decisions that affect a whole community. This is probably why crowdsourcing and user-generated content proliferate today. Let your millennial customers enjoy the possibility of collaborating with your business through interactive forms of feedback generation. Open your brand to their voice to make them feel that they matter and that they are heard.

4.     Values-driven

group-young-people-gathering-issue

The well-informed and image-conscious millennials are concerned with political and ethical issues. They want to be associated with brands that care about or are involved in the same causes they support. As they integrate their beliefs in choosing a company to do business with, you should be able to offer not just things that interest them but also an affirmation to their preferences, whether it’s organic eating or going against bullying.

Successfully targeting today s biggest population of consumers indeed gives you a secure shot at the future. With the great influence millennials have with their parents and with the older generations increasing level of comfort with digital technology, it won t be long until these Gen Y behaviors become the same standard for other demographics. However, never forgo of your pursuit of addressing the unique, individual needs of each specific customer you serve even if these generalizations apply to your market as a whole.

OABPO-Julie Author
As one of Open Access BPO's content writers, Julie Pearl shares her BPO knowledge through her blog posts, research papers, and other resources. She writes about outsourcing news and call center management tips and insights.
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