Rokt (credit image/Pexels/fauxels)Generation Z appear are the most enthusiastic about using artificial intelligence when shopping online. This is according to new global research by eCommerce tech company Rokt and Harris Poll. The first members of Gen Z were born 26 years ago.

As the first generation to have grown up with Internet access and portable digital technology from a young age, members of Generation Z have been dubbed “digital natives”. As a result, marketers have been keen to understand everything about this group.  In the US, this segment is estimated at 68+ million people in 2021. Similarly, it has been estimated approximately 12.7 million members of Generation Z in the UK in 2021.

According to the research, 88% of Gen Zers globally think AI can improve online shopping. The study, designed to understand the changing expectations of today’s consumers, also identified the top priorities for eCommerce shoppers. This included relevant deals, low prices, and a personalized shopping experience, particularly at checkout.

Brands and retailers across categories are scrambling to identify how they can best use AI to elevate their eCommerce customer experience and drive revenue,” said Elizabeth Buchanan, Chief Commercial Officer at Rokt. “This research provides decision-makers with a roadmap for creating new strategies and implementing advanced tech, such as AI. To significantly help improve the online shopping experience in ways that will surprise and delight shoppers.”

Gen Z consumers globally are optimistic about AI’s role in eCommerce. 55% of respondents were interested in an AI assistant that would make online shopping more convenient by simplifying product discovery and anticipating their needs. Additionally, 51% of Gen Zers say they are interested in augmented reality and virtual reality shopping experiences.

Other Key Findings

Gen Zers globally identify the top five ways AI will improve online shopping, including making it easier to:

  • Compare prices (47%).
  • Find deals (45%).
  • Receive relevant offers and product suggestions (41%).
  • Receive personalized assistance (37%).
  • Find reviews (28%).

Today’s consumers in the US prioritize relevant deals and personalized experiences:

  • Some 63% of respondents say that, due to inflation, they now spend more time online searching for lower prices, relevant deals and offers.
  • Consumers ranked “relevant deals” as the #1 thing they are interested in when shopping. 55% of Gen Zers interested in curated deals from their favourite influencers and content creators.
  • When shopping experiences don’t feel personalised, 20%–29% of consumers say they will walk away from their cart, the brand or the experience.

The checkout experience

The checkout experience colours consumers’ perception of a brand:

  • Among US survey respondents, 73% say they often experience some form of frustration or barrier at checkout. This includes having to log in/make an account (33%), too many ads at checkout (34%). In addition to irrelevant ads and product recommendations (33%).
  • When encountering a frustrating checkout experience, 40% of US consumers have reconsidered their purchase or removed items from their cart. 37% have abandoned their cart and not returned to it. As a result, 22% say that kind of experience has lowered their perception of the brand.
  • Among Gen Zers globally, 73% agree that “it’s satisfying when I find something I needed last-minute while checking out.”
  • In addition, 67% of Gen Zers globally agree that they “enjoy the feeling of adding a little something extra to my online shopping cart when I’m checking out.”

Methodology

This survey was conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of Rokt from May 1 to May 15, 2023. Survey respondents consisted of 6,023 consumers ages 18-78 across the US, the UK, France, Germany, Australia and Japan.

Enterprise Times: What this means for business

Today’s online shoppers are increasingly sophisticated in their search for products, services, and experiences. They are digital professionals when hunting for both validation and value. For brands, online merchants and retailers, these professional hunters are a growing – and increasingly demanding – audience. As a result, retailers must have a clear channel to understand their consumers’ needs and wants. Furthermore, they must serve up the best digital offer at precisely the right time required by these consumers.

But while Gen Z marketing tactics have been around for years, brands must constantly refresh their playbooks in order to effectively reach this coveted generation. This report is essential reading for brands and retailers with products and services aimed at this target group. They must understand that when Gen Zers embark on the hunt for deals, the relevance of the deal directly amplifies its appeal. Consumers ranked “relevant deals” as the #1 thing they are interested in when shopping. Similarly, strategies such as price match guarantees and personalised promotions, due to their targeted appeal, foster a feeling of recognition among customers. Key learnings many brands and retailer should factor into their future marketing planning.

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