With the distinctive preferences of the Gen Z members, including their attitudes towards payments, Gen Z members are reshaping how businesses operate by pushing for social responsibility and a premium customer experience.

This article refers to the SixthFactor Consulting sponsored by Amazon Payment Services findings that support the report on Gen Z in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, and outline what merchants need to do to successfully capture Gen Z members.

High expectations for social responsibility

Members of Gen Z are deeply passionate about social responsibility and want their preferred brands to mirror this commitment. According to the research, 63% of Gen Z members favor brands that advocate for fair labor policies and cultivate healthy, inclusive workplace cultures. Moreover, Gen Z members are drawn to brands that prioritize sustainability.

What does this mean for retailers? Merchants need to build an understanding for Gen Z’s values, then create and openly communicate a matching strategy – including key factors such as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

CSR isn’t just about making promises; it’s about actions too. Involving members of Gen Z in these initiatives and demonstrating authenticity by measuring and reporting on the impact of CSR initiatives can help build a connection with the Gen Z.

Authenticity is the key here. Gen Z members are technologically savvy; they can easily spot inauthentic marketing. To establish trust, businesses must demonstrate genuine social commitment and transparent practices.

Elevating the customer experience

While social responsibility gets merchants a foot in the door with the Gen Z, the customer experience is what keeps the customers returning time and time again. The digital landscape is Gen Z’s playground and they crave a seamless, integrated, and personalized shopping journey that caters to their needs at every touchpoint, from product discovery to purchase and beyond.

Retailers must prioritize the customer experience and ensure their websites and apps are user-friendly. After all, the digital world offers instant gratification and members of Gen Z expect speed and efficiency. It's essential therefore to simplify the checkout process to guarantee fast, reliable delivery times.

Implementing digital wallets in the checkout flow is one way to achieve that. Broadly speaking, members of Gen Z express a preference for flexible payment solutions including Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) to spread costs. In-app payments also improve the customer experience – and are particularly essential in the context of super apps.

Moreover, Gen Z members connect with an omnichannel shopping experience, including omnichannel payments. Merchants need to offer a retail flow that allows shoppers to transition and pay effortlessly across different channels, from social media and mobile apps to physical stores.

In the survey, it is found that Gen Z members are known for being more relaxed about data sharing than older generations if it enriches their shopping experience. Nonetheless, transparent privacy policies, clear communication about data usage, and an unwavering commitment to safeguarding customer data matter.

Based on the survey one of the respondents said that, “I am aware cookies track down the websites I visit and target advertisement towards me as per my taste and choice. (But) I get relevant content on what would interest me, making my online experience more personalized.”

Don’t use a one-size-fits-all approach

Members of Gen Z are not a monolithic group. This generation's makeup is a mosaic of educational backgrounds and regional diversity – each member of Gen Z brings distinct values and preferences to their interactions with merchants.

Even their attitudes toward payment technologies can differ. Brands must carefully consider these nuances when targeting members of Gen Z, eschewing a blanket approach – instead offering the payment methods and flavors that local users prefer.

Social media is a key battleground in the quest to engage Gen Z. As digital natives, Gen Z members are highly connected, spending significant time on social media. Though the most popular channels may not be what merchants expect: tailoring content and channel to fit the preferences of Gen Z audiences is paramount.

Keeping up with Gen Z

As a group of young people, Gen Z members live a fast-paced and constantly evolving life. Merchants need to keep up and engage with Gen Z members to design products and services that appeal to their lifestyle. But it's not all about speed and features.

Forming an emotional connection with Gen Z members is key. Advertising and collaborations with influencers can build trust and strengthen the bond between brands and the members of Gen Z.

One of the respondents from the research said, “They should have ads on social media. It makes us trust the website. If influencers advertise it, I will trust that company even more because they will not advertise just anything”.

Prominent brand ambassadors can enhance a brand's credibility among Gen Z members. Authentic endorsements build trust and foster a real connection with this generation. Members of Gen Z also appreciate online reviews and peer recommendations. Brands should consider partnering with reliable platforms to gather genuine customer reviews, boosting credibility.

Trust is of the utmost importance. Members of Gen Z customers prioritize their digital safety – including when they pay. Brands must implement strong security measures and communicate these safeguards to customers, particularly during checkout.

Finally, merchants should select their partners, including payment service providers, for high standards of data privacy and security. Doing so instills confidence in Gen Z members and cultivates a robust, trust-based relationship with this young generation.

Based on the survey one of the respondents said that, “There should be some way upfront where it says this website or seller has a tie up with Amazon or someone I recognize and trust. If I see this right in the beginning, I am confident to purchase from that site.”

To find out more about Gen Z, the group’s preferred payment methods, and how merchants can connect with Gen Z, download the whitepaper Understanding Gen Z now.