Holiday Season 2022 UPDATE: Engaging with Gen Z 🎅🎄

Holiday Season 2022 UPDATE: Engaging with Gen Z 🎅🎄

During the last couple of years, marketing to millennials, the trendsetting generation, remained the spotlight for ads and promotions. However, times are changing and there is a new sheriff in town – Generation Z. 

Gen-Z is finally taking the limelight from its more well-known and overly studied predecessors.  According to research from Bloomberg, Gen-Z surpassed Millennials in 2019 as the most populous generation, comprising roughly 32% of the population with more than 68 million young people in it while millennials account for 31.5%. That’s 68 million potential customers and this number is only expected to keep growing. 

Read on for marketing strategies to consider to engage Gen Z to be customers for the holiday season… and for life.

What Do We Know?

Generation Z, those born from 1995-2005, is known for being significantly unhappier than other generations. Not only are they anxious about their careers, but they are more concerned about social equality, speaking up for what they believe in, and ensuring individuals of all backgrounds have a voice than they are about what celebrity you have endorsing your product. To reach this audience, you need to think through new techniques and strategies or you risk losing them as a consumer altogether. 

Tech devices, apps, and social media have also been ubiquitous throughout the lives of this generation. A Pew study last year found that nearly half of all Americans aged 13 to 17  said they were online “almost constantly,” and more than 90 percent used social media. The platforms that they expressed they gravitate towards the most include Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.

The 2021 holiday season saw some fascinating stats for Gen Z that are expected to continue into 2022’s holiday season.

  • 59% of Gen Z shoppers are concerned that COVID-19 complications and supply chain interruptions will make it harder to shop
  • 49% of Gen Z shoppers say they search the web for gift ideas
  • 41% of Gen Z shoppers say they will use some sort of installment payments to cover the cost of holiday gifts
  • 44% of Gen Z shoppers say they will do most of their shopping online

How to engage the new generation

Given this group’s purchasing power and self-identity, it is critical that you adjust your offerings and marketing tactics to meet this demographics’ wants and needs in a way you may have never marketed to other generations in the past. This holiday season, not only must your product either work or be made well, but it also needs to be appropriately priced, readily available and sustainably made. Let’s dive a bit deeper into why. 

Step away from traditional ways of advertising and get creative

Gen Z customers are used to hearing about and personally experiencing hacking scandals, data leaks, and cyberattacks over their lifetime because they have grown up in a digital bubble. A bubble where communication with their friends and information can be obtained instantaneously. While they understand the pitfalls that come with living in the digital bubble they also understand its potential. With that, they are not looking for a hit and quit product, they are looking to make a connection; which is where your marketing tactics can step in and gain their trust. 

Generation Z is cautious when it comes to traditional advertising from brands some of us might not think twice about purchasing from because this audience values the opinions of their friends and social media influences over brand messaging itself. Therefore, if you want to succeed with Gen Z, you not only have to have a thriving social media page, but you have to be in the conversation, and social media influencers can make that happen. How can you do this? Shy away from using traditional big name celebrity endorsers like LeBron James to humanize your brand (even if you can afford them) and start thinking about employing influencers on social media platforms like YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and TikTok. 

According to a 2019 Rakuten marketing study, 65% of consumers follow an influencer on Instagram and many of them discover new brands and products by following them; which is why you should consider dedicating some of your marketing spend to spend on influencers. Depending on your budget you can either target micro-influencers (those with 50,000 or fewer followers) who are relatively less expensive than if you were to hire macro-influencers (think celebrities with mega followers). For more on micro influencers and their rise then click here.

Have an open line of communication

If there’s one thing we know about Generation Z, it’s that they want to be sure they are heard. Not only when it comes to having a stance on issues around social fairness, but also when expressing opinions on products they purchase or are considering buying. An Accenture report revealed that 40 percent of Gen Zers leave feedback on products if the option is available. Therefore, having an open line of communication on every outlet possible, social media, and your website, for your brand is vital to keeping Gen Z engaged. In addition, it is just as important to make sure you are responding to their reviews – especially if they are negative – it gives you the option to make things right and turn their opinions around. If you want to cover all of your bases – cut to the chase and have a FAQ call to action front and center on your website so that Gen Z’s feel comfortable in knowing what to expect when purchasing from you this holiday season.

Stand for something bigger than your brand

If you want to reach this demographic, you will have to dial back the blockchain to the source to ensure that what you offer truly is sustainable. “Eco-friendly,” “good for the planet,” and “carbon neutral” are just a few of the terms younger generations look for when seeking more sustainable options. With this shift, sustainability is quickly becoming the bare minimum for both Millennials and Gen Z when shopping.

If you want your business to prosper in the changing online shopping space, being environmentally friendly is not optional—it’s a necessity when trying to reach this demographic this holiday season. Gen Z is overly conscious of how their shopping impacts the environment. Many are opting to shop online from businesses that provide sustainable packaging, products, and shipping. In fact, 73% are willing to pay more for sustainable products—a marked difference from older generations. Some brands to look at that are currently paving the way for sustainable options include:

  • Aerrem is the stylish, new everyday bag with an environmental mission of helping people establish a new daily habit, do their part to help save the planet and look good at the same time. It is the first tote bag specifically designed to carry two refillable bottles or tumblers, allowing people to refuse single-use plastics while away from home.
  • Brooks Running-The Ghost 14 is Brooks Running’s first carbon-neutral product, as part of the brand’s commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.
  • Caldera + Lab-Caldera + Lab creates sustainable, clean, prestige skincare for men by combining 100% fair trade, wild-harvested, organic ingredients with green technology that reduces the impact on our environment.

Other notable brands include United By Blue, TOMS, Kut from the Kloth, Ikea, and Patagonia

Make it personal

Everyone wants to feel special, this is not a unique characteristic to just Gen Z. However, we know this generation is significantly more dissatisfied than generations before them. Therefore when marketing your products to this generation, you need to take that extra step to make them feel special. Showcasing your product’s customization options will catch their eyes and possibly make them click the check-out button. It can be as simple as offering different color options like S’ip by S’well or more in-depth where they can add-on products to their shipment like FabFitFun.

Convenience, convenience, convenience 

One thing that is certain about Gen Z is that they still love shopping in-store. We’ve all missed out on this experience in the last year and that has left Gen Z craving more of what they’ve lost. But it leaves retailers questioning; what do Gen Z value about shopping in-store? The simple answer – it’s all about the experience.

  • Fitting rooms: having the ability to try clothes on in-store is more convenient than ordering three different sizes of jeans to have to return two. It’s also a win for the retailer as return costs are lower when shopping in-store.
  • Social Interaction: Gen Z aren’t just out to shop, they desire social interaction, whether that’s shopping as part of a day out with family and friends or developing that one-to-one relationship while being helped to find their purchases in-store by an associate.

The convenience of shopping in-store also translates to their online shopping habits. Being able to shop from their couch and having things brought straight to their door is an appealing option to many customers, most importantly Gen Z. Not only because they receive their items fast, but it allows them to quickly connect with their peers and your brand via social media when they have questions or want to give a review. Learn more about connecting your digital and retail experience with these blogs; Building an Apparel & Accessories Webstore That Matches Your Retail Space and A Guide to Offline Marketing Tactics for Online Auto Retailers.

Bringing it all together

The holidays are around the corner, so now is the perfect time to start showing Generation Z why your business stands out from all of the other options at their fingertips. Meeting them where they are, engaging them in the conversation, and gaining their trust in what you stand for is how you can reach them. In return, they will reward you with their loyalty and spending habits. 

Ready to incorporate these strategies to gain Gen Z customers for life?

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The Focus & Future of the Automotive Aftermarket

The Focus & Future of the Automotive Aftermarket

We’re all used to self-service on the web, whether it’s managing our own finances or booking a flight or a holiday. Why can’t it be the same for car parts?

According to the SEMA 2022 Future Trends report, electric vehicles, connected cars, and eCommerce, among other trends, may lead to the redistribution of 30 to 40 percent of aftermarket profits along the value chain and change the industry landscape in the next 10 to 20 years.

With an increase in demand for aftermarket parts, many retailers are taking a hard look at their ability to meet the demand and provide the experience their customers are craving – convenience, extensive product selection, consistent availability, and fast delivery. To meet this demand, many retailers have a web store in place, but it’s commonplace that those sites were built years ago and may not have been set up to handle the increased inventory options and transaction volume that the current eCommerce environment demands. If you are not offering a seamless experience from browse to search to purchase, you risk being left behind. Now is the time for you and your team to face the facts: What are we doing to provide a better eCommerce experience?

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the key factors that are contributing to aftermarket parts success and how you and your team can be strategic in maintaining a competitive position in a rapidly-changing environment.

Key Factors Contributing to Aftermarket Parts Success

Dramatic changes are in motion within the automotive aftermarket. These include changing customer expectations, accelerated adoption of new technologies, and shifts in competitive power.

Automotive aftermarket eCommerce retailers are seeing growth on just about every front. Why? There are not enough new vehicles to meet consumer demand, according to SEMA. Not surprisingly, this means more and more people are keeping their vehicles and spending more of their money maintaining them.

But that’s not all bad news, as this provides retailers the opportunity to increase their bottom line and take advantage of this aftermarket acceleration. Let’s explore some of the key factors contributing to this rise in reliance on aftermarket parts and services.

  • Low auto inventory levels: New-vehicle inventory at the end of July was higher than it was a year ago, when the global computer chip shortage began hurting production, but supply remains low compared with pre-pandemic times, according to Cox Automotive’s analysis of Auto Available Inventory data. In addition, domestic production of new motor vehicles in the United States was down 16.5% from 2019 according to SEMA. Vehicle sales over the same period were down 9.6%, which has led to historically low inventory.  People have reported waiting on an average of six or more months to receive their new vehicle. Low inventory levels likely mean demand for new vehicles will remain strong over the next year, as auto manufacturers work to repair supply chains and produce more vehicles.
  • The rise in technological advancements: Aftermarket parts such as catalytic converters and electronic chips are in high demand as owners invest in their older vehicles trying to make them more fuel-efficient and environmentally friendly. In addition, people are always on the lookout for new features to add to their older vehicles.
  • Government regulations: Stricter car emission regulations have put pressure on manufacturers to produce more environmentally friendly and high-efficiency parts.  This demand is expected to excel at a fast pace in the future and is a trend to stay on top of.
  • More disposable income: More people are self-made millionaires, demanding more luxuries, including wanting to design or remodel their vehicles, which is increasing the demand for aftermarket products.

Overall, aftermarket retailers should feel optimistic about the future. The strong demand for aftermarket products will continue to grow in 2022 and beyond. However, challenges loom on the horizon. Ongoing supply issues will likely constrain available supply and increase prices.

What’s next for your business and retailers alike?

Many retailers are taking a hard look at their ability to provide a better online buying experience for their customers and asking themselves some tough questions such as:

  1. Are we prepared to handle increased online sales? 
  2. Can our current technology help us stay on top of the supply chain issues?
  3. Is our existing store technology a problem?

This hasn’t stopped consumers from making a purchase. Shoppers simply switched brands or went to another retailer to get what they needed. What does this mean for you? Don’t let technology get in the way of your business and profits.

Side Note: According to the SEMA report, nearly ⅔’s of people reported they wanted to purchase something from an online auto aftermarket retailer, but it was out of stock.

Let’s take a look at how you can get ahead of issues like this with eCommerce:

  • Extend your geographical reach: Whether you sell parts B2C, B2B, or both, eCommerce extends your geographical reach and provides your customers with 24×7 access to place orders. Fully integrating third-party codes where customers can view their complete purchase history and status of current orders from anywhere, anytime is just the beginning of building your customer base beyond your brick and mortar.
  • Improve customer experience: Elevate the buying experience by allowing customers to manage parts and pricing while having immediate access to inventory. 

Get professional help updating your eCommerce site: InteractOne offers full-service website custom design and deployment, using Magento. Take a look at how we helped turn a static automotive aftermarket site into a responsive, custom-designed one and how we can do the same for you.

Bringing it all Together

With the accelerating growth of eCommerce – which creates opportunities to modify business models and adopt new ways of interacting with customers – automotive suppliers and distributors face increased pressure to transform now. How come? Retail giants are quick to fill gaps and expand their footprint into new industries like automotive. But the one thing the big retailers can’t match is the automotive experience and expertise of companies that are already established and successful in the industry – this is where you and your team can gain a strategic advantage with FitmentPro.

FitmentPro is our solution to gaining this automotive advantage. Not only will this software tool help keep your automotive catalog up to date with the aftermarket trends, but it will also empower your customers to find the perfect part in record time and so much more. Click here to learn more and book a demo with a member of our Dev team today. You’ll be blown away when you see how this feature can help your site perform at top speed while serving the product catalog search results for your customers.

    Get expert help today!

    An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

    Drop Us a Line At:

    Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
    Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

    4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
    Cincinnati, OH 45241

    Most Costly Adobe Commerce Problems – And How to Fix Them

    Most Costly Adobe Commerce Problems – And How to Fix Them

    A lot of different factors are involved in the development of an eCommerce website and it is ultimately those same factors that will decide the fate of your business. They will also play a large role in  how users are going to interact with or find your website. 

    In this blog, we are going to share the most common issues encountered with the Adobe Commerce platform that your team might be experiencing and how to solve them. If you want to learn a little more about the powerful and exclusive money-making features of Abobe Commerce check out our blogs The 5 Most Valuable, Exclusive, Money-Making Features on Adobe Commerce and Future Proof your Webstore with Adobe Commerce 2.4.5

    Slow Performance

    Having a fast-loading, high-performance website is crucial to your eCommerce business. Why? Because the speed of your web pages play a vital role in your user experience, conversions, and Search Ranking. Unfortunately, too many eCommerce merchants place a priority on having a site with too many bells and whistles and an overly sophisticated website design, all of which slow the site rendering speed. 

    A slow-loading site can cause major conversion rate issues that dramatically affect your sales.  Some extensions (and extension providers) are notorious for breaking Adobe Commerce’s cache and not working properly with JS bundling and CSS/HTML minification.  These extensions can create very slow page loads and poor performance across the site.

    Your site speed is important for the overall user experience you are trying to create and if your site takes a long time to load (especially on mobile) causing impatient customers to leave your site, increasing l your overall bounce rate and reducing the average time spent on your site. Slow loading sites also get lower SEO scores from Google and affect your business’s conversion rates; which further exacerbates the problem. In fact, the highest eCommerce conversion rates occur on pages with load times between 0-2 seconds, with nearly 70% of consumers admitting that a page speed beyond this impacts their willingness to buy from an online retailer, according to a study by Portent

    Every extension should be reviewed by a senior developer before being installed and a full regression test and possibly a load test of the site should be performed before releasing the extension to production. For more information on factors that might be affecting your site speed, check out our blog, Perfect Page, Poor Traffic? Why Site Speed Matters. 

    Conflicts

    For the eCommerce teams that do not plan their websites correctly, it is easy to go overboard and install extensions that affect your website’s functionality. That can be easy to do with the 3,800 extensions that the official Adobe Commerce Marketplace offers. This is because sometimes it’s not possible for all 3rd party extensions to be tested against one another. They also might not be of top quality which may hinder your customer’s experience. Another conflict your team might be experiencing is incorrect database configurations. If you are using Magento 2.4 or above, it is essential that your team upgrade your database to MySQL 8; which can take your performance to the next level. According to a report, this database upgrade can improve the performance of a website twice as much as its previous versions.

    To help stay on point with your sales strategy while improving your performance and experience on your website, the solution to this issue is to ensure that full regression testing and load testing are routinely performed before releasing any extension into production. In addition, you can set indexers to ‘update on schedule’ rather than ‘update on save’ to help eliminate Adobe Commerce performance issues in case of large volumes of traffic, especially around the holidays or other particularly busy times. 

    Support

    Sometimes extension providers are slow to respond to support requests or they simply stop supporting their extension.  Although not common, we have seen this happen several times in the past.  The most significant impact can be when an extension provider decides to stop supporting their extension altogether.  This means the merchant is forced to either pay a developer to keep upgrading the extension to match overall site upgrades or replace that extension with something else.  

    One of the most popular extensions to lose support recently has been the Ultimo theme.  This extension was used by many merchants, all of whom were left with no support when the Ultimo theme developer decided to no longer support or upgrade their theme.

    The recommended solution to this issue is to only purchase extensions from the bigger and more well regarded providers like Aheadworks or Magefan who have more resources for support and are not likely to fold up shop anytime soon.

    Solutions

    Slow loading pages, especially for mobile users, are by far the most important and costly of the issues outlined above when it comes to improving conversion because these issues involves not only a lot of quality assurance testing, but the following interdependent processes:

    • Analyzing all 3rd party extensions and custom code to find which modules are causing performance issues.
    • Any necessary work to resolve those issues (replacing modules, refactoring code, etc.).
    • Full regression testing of the site to ensure the resolutions work properly.
    • Identifying any unused or bloated Javascript code causing performance issues.
    • Any unforeseen work that might be required to remove/replace or refactor Javascript code.
    • Full regression testing of the site to ensure the proper functionality is in place based on the above task. 
    • Minimize CSS/HTML and Javascript
    • Full regression testing of the site again.
    • Work with full page caching and CDNs to further optimize page loads and image sizes etc.
    • Full regression testing of the site again.

    After these steps are followed to correct and improve your site speed, your team can determine which approaches to take for further conversion improvement, such as A/B testing or hiring a third-party expert.

    Side Note: ​​If this all seems like a lot that’s because it is. If you’d like to speak with an expert click here.

    Bringing it all Together

    Before proceeding to make any changes to these third-party codes or any performance issues, it is important to make sure you understand where the bugs and issues reside and how to fix them; which can quickly turn into a larger task than originally anticipated. That’s where we come in. It’s vital to have a team of experts that understand your needs and who provide the right solutions to help you stay at the top of search results and ensure a better return on your investment. Please feel free to reach out if you’d like to talk.

      Get expert help today!

      An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

      Drop Us a Line At:

      Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
      Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

      4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
      Cincinnati, OH 45241

      Now Available – Future Proof your Webstore with Adobe Commerce 2.4.5

      Now Available – Future Proof your Webstore with Adobe Commerce 2.4.5

      Adobe’s (Magento) latest and greatest update is arriving tomorrow, August 10th – Adobe Commerce 2.4.5.

      Adobe Commerce 2.4.5, marks a new step forward in commerce capabilities, security, and performance. The advancements in this release set the foundation for the next several years of Adobe innovations to ensure your commerce business continues to be resilient. This release strategy also ensures that customers maintain the ability to adapt to changing market trends with continued flexibility to customize.

      In addition to platform quality improvements and enhanced security, Adobe Commerce 2.4.5 includes improvements to payment methods, accessibility, Adobe Commerce branding, integrated Google Modules, and Adobe Commerce IMS integration (single Adobe account login). 

      Other updates include PWA 12.5, Live Search B2B support, B2B Shared Catalog scalability and performance improvements, GraphQL Caching Performance improvements, Page Builder 1.7.2, and updates to Channel Manager and Upgrade Compatibility Tool.

      Adobe Commerce is not only growing in its offering and abilities but it is also continuing to increase in its complexity; which can feel overwhelming for eCommerce managers and teams. That’s where we come in. We’ve been a Certified Adobe partner for 14 years now, all the way back to the launch of the original  ‘Magento! version’. Book your consultation with a senior member of our development team to implement these changes and updates once the launch is live.

      Stay tuned for more information on release notes and how Adobe Commerce 2.4.5 will directly affect you and your brand.

        Get expert help today!

        An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

        Drop Us a Line At:

        Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
        Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

        4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
        Cincinnati, OH 45241

        Shopify’s Latest Apps Lead to New B2B Discoveries

        Shopify’s Latest Apps Lead to New B2B Discoveries

        Every merchant has unique needs and with so many specialized apps to choose from, finding the right one for your eCommerce business can be challenging. That’s why the Shopify community of app developers has been busy building flexible solutions to help grow your B2B business. 

        As part of a new avenue of attack against one of the big tech giants, Amazon, Shopify is launching a line of 100 brand new or updated apps all intended to bolster B2B businesses. The launch of these new or updated apps will consist of bountiful tools for your team, designed to scale up B2B sales. some through collaboration with Twitter to boost social commerce and their DTC eCommerce revenue.

        This offering will provide merchants with the option to sell to both DTC and wholesale customers from the same online store in Shopify Plus or a separate ‘expansion store’ for B2B. Both options will be baked in with the ability for your team to create company profiles, price lists, payment terms, and customer accounts.

        “We’ve long heard from our merchants that they’d like to be able to sell wholesale and direct from one online store,” said Shopify merchant success manager Shakir Gill in a blog post. “To meet this growing demand, we’ve worked to build the most foundational and powerful features B2B merchants need directly into the heart of Shopify.”

        Not only will your team be able to sell from one online store, but the integration with Twitter provides the opportunity for you to connect your business profile to your Shopify store. What is the advantage of this strategy? It makes items on your site shoppable through your feed, including a carousel feature that can rotate up to 50 different products at once.

        A separate marketplace kit includes API hooks into Spotify, Google, Facebook, TikTok, and others, while Linkpop creates a shoppable landing page connected to social accounts, web stores, and media like music and videos.

        Shopify President Harry Finkelstein stated that he believes B2B eCommerce represents billions of dollars of untapped revenue for Shopify to take advantage of and might be the reasoning behind another new app, Shopify Markets. 

        Shopify Markets will give your team additional revenue opportunities by tapping into cross-border eCommerce through the creation of localized currencies, translation services, domain names, and payment methods.  

        “This is the next phase of retail,” Finkelstein told Reuters. “In many ways, shopping has become a vote with your wallet to support that brand…and that’s what I think connect-to-consumer is all about.”

        Bringing it all together

        Even though Shopify offers an excellent array of apps and extensions, these out-of-the-box solutions will still require customization to be fully functional with any large eCommerce store. That’s where we come in. If you want to learn more about these new Shopify features or you simply want to make the most of your current store, schedule a call with a member of our Dev team today. 

        Side Note: ​​The new Shopify apps were rebuilt with both new and existing merchants in mind, to make it easier for you to find the solutions that you’re looking for and discover apps you didn’t know you needed.

          Get expert help today!

          An InteractOne Senior Team Member will get back to you within a day.

          Drop Us a Line At:

          Or, if you prefer an old-fashioned phone call:
          Phone (USA): (513) 469-3346

          4665 Cornell Rd. Suite 255
          Cincinnati, OH 45241