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How to Market to Gen Z: Marketing Strategies for Growth

Have you ever wondered why the online world is changing so much lately? New platforms are popping up, certain types of content are doing better, and brands are supporting causes and showing corporate responsibility.

Well, it’s all thanks to Generation Z, the group born between 1997 and 2011. They’re the ones shaking things up in online shopping, making traditional marketing strategies obsolete.

You might think they’re too young to have a significant impact on e-commerce, but surprise! Generation Z holds considerable purchasing power and influence.

Unlike any generation before, the Gen Z audience is unique and requires special attention. That’s why this article offers a guide on e-commerce marketing for Gen Z. We’ll cover the best platforms, effective marketing strategies, and important mistakes to avoid.

Understanding Generation Z

Are you struggling getting to know Gen Z? Well they’re currently between 9 and 24 years old. Gen Zers are tech-savvy, making up the largest digital native group, always connected online through various devices. Growing up amidst social and political changes, they emphasize genuine connections and diversity.

Adapting swiftly to new technologies and trends, Gen Zers are the first to grow up in a world dominated by smartphones and social media. They excel in navigating digital spaces, showcasing an entrepreneurial spirit by starting businesses or side hustles early on.

Despite their youth, Gen Z is a powerful cohort. Engaged in social and political matters, they aren’t shy about expressing opinions and taking action. Authenticity and transparency matter most to them, and they won’t hesitate to call out brands that don’t align with their values. They also appreciate brands that prioritize sustainability, social responsibility, and inclusivity.

As a socially conscious generation, Gen Z cares about issues like climate change, social justice, and equality. Brands aiming to resonate with Gen Z should openly share their values, business practices, and actively contribute to a more sustainable and equitable world.

Gen Z’s Impact on Shopping and Brand Choices

Gen Z holds significant spending power, contributing about $143 billion to the US economy, and made up 40% of all US consumers in 2020. To succeed, e-commerce businesses must capture the attention and wallets of Gen Z.

These consumers are discerning and not easily swayed by traditional marketing. They trust recommendations from friends, family, social media influencers, and online reviews. To connect with Gen Z, brands must be genuine, transparent, and relatable.

Exploring Channels Used to Market to Gen Z

Gen Z’s omnipresence on social media underscores the importance of selecting the right platforms for effective e-commerce marketing tailored to their preferences.


TikTok has emerged as a powerhouse for Gen Z engagement. The platform’s rapid growth is fueled by the active participation of Gen Z users who create content, share videos, and set trends. Studies affirm this trend, indicating that 60% of TikTok users belong to Generation Z. To tap into this market, aligning with TikTok trends is a strategic move, as this platform plays a central role in Gen Z’s digital landscape.


In the competition for Gen Z’s attention, YouTube stands as a formidable contender. An overwhelming 88% of Gen Zers say they cited YouTube as their primary platform in 2020, solidifying its status as a go-to source for video content. Crafting content suitable for YouTube becomes paramount, allowing your brand to leverage the immense popularity of video content among Gen Z consumers.


Instagram remains a steadfast choice among Gen Z, continually evolving its content to resonate with this demographic. Features like reels and stories have become optimal content types for Gen Z users. While platforms like TikTok and YouTube vie for Gen Z’s daily hours, incorporating Instagram into your marketing strategy is imperative. Research indicates that 62% of Gen Z social media users check Instagram daily, emphasizing its enduring significance.


Despite initial perceptions of Snapchat’s decline, it has experienced a resurgence, particularly among Gen Z users. Approximately 52% of Gen Z identifies Snapchat as their fourth most used app. The platform’s authenticity and its incorporation of features tailored to e-commerce make it a valuable channel for your online store. Leveraging Snapchat’s unique features allows you to connect with Gen Z in a way that aligns with their preferences for genuine, personalized interactions.

11 Gen Z Marketing Tips for Your E-Commerce Business

Go Mobile

With 98% of Generation Z owning smartphones, ensuring that your website is optimized for mobile is crucial. It’s not just about the website; your social media profiles should also be mobile-ready. Regular updates on social media are essential. Gen Z appreciates current and dynamic content, so aim for daily posts to keep them engaged.

Highlight CSR

Developing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategy is vital. Gen Z wants to support brands that share their values. Taking a stance on issues like transgender rights, sustainability, and workplace diversity can significantly influence Gen Z’s purchasing decisions.

Embrace Video

Video content is king, especially short-form videos. Platforms like Instagram Reels and TikTok are Gen Z favorites. Given their brief attention span (around 8 seconds), concise and engaging videos are more likely to capture their attention.

Leverage Influencers

Gen Z is highly engaged with social media influencer marketing. Creating a micro-influencer strategy can significantly boost your brand’s visibility. Look at success stories of brands that rapidly grew with the help of micro-influencers on TikTok, using branded hashtags to build a strong online community.

Customize for Each Platform

Different social media platforms have distinct user expectations. Tailor your content to each platform’s strengths. For example, TikTok is perfect for quick do-it-yourself (DIY) videos, while Instagram might be more suitable for polished visuals.

Manage Reviews

Gen Z values brand loyalty, and online reviews play a crucial role. Actively respond to both positive and negative reviews. How you handle feedback reflects the type of customer experience potential buyers can expect.

Show Behind the Scenes

Authenticity is key to market to Generation Z. Instead of polished marketing campaigns, provide a behind-the-scenes look into your brand. Live videos on platforms like TikTok or Instagram can be a powerful way to connect with Gen Z, showing them the human side of your business, from product packing to the design process.

Speed Up Your Site

Nobody likes a slow website, especially Gen Z, known for their impatience with slow internet experiences. Investing in site speed not only attracts Gen Z but also enhances the overall customer experience for all demographics and boosts your Google search rankings.

Offer Quick Delivery

Gen Z, like many online shoppers, values speedy delivery. It’s the top change they’d want in the customer experience. Providing free and fast delivery serves as a great loyalty perk and is a crucial aspect to consider in your customer service offerings.

Use SMS Marketing

Gen Z sees their phones as an extension of themselves, making SMS marketing an effective way to reach them. Keep it balanced, though, as too many messages may lead them to block you. The direct communication through SMS boasts a high open rate.

Offer Buy Now, Pay Later Options

While Gen Z might be wary of traditional credit, they love Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) options. Factors like mobile convenience, easy acceptance, and the “cool factor” make offering these payment methods crucial to winning over Gen Z shoppers.

5 Common Mistakes to Avoid for Your Gen Z Campaign

Marketing to Gen Z in the wrong way can scare them off, or worse, get your brand canceled. Here are some common mistakes to avoid to thrive with the Gen Z market.

  1. Treating Gen-Z Like Previous Generations – Recognize the distinct characteristics of Gen Z and avoid the misconception that marketing tactics effective for millennials will work the same way. For instance, the prevalence of Gen Z on platforms like TikTok, as opposed to millennials who are more engaged on Facebook, highlights the need for tailored strategies.
  2. One Size Fits All Messages – Acknowledge the diversity within Gen Z, which sets them apart as the most diverse generation. Tailor your marketing messages to address this diversity, steering away from generic approaches. Personalized product or service recommendations and customized marketing messages establish a connection and enhance brand engagement.
  3. Avoid Unrealistic Claims – Understand the discerning nature of Gen Z consumers. Exaggerated claims about product value or features can lead to skepticism and hinder their purchasing decisions. Maintaining honesty and authenticity in your marketing builds trust, an essential factor for Gen Z.
  4. Don’t Oversell – Recognize that aggressive selling tactics do not resonate well with Gen Z. Instead, focus on building genuine connections with your target audience. Emphasize the value your products bring and how they address the specific needs and concerns of Gen Z, steering clear of robotic and sales-oriented approaches.
  5. Address Privacy Concerns – Given Gen Z’s strong awareness of security and privacy, prioritize these aspects in your online store. Clearly communicate the measures taken to protect user data, assuring a safe shopping experience. Avoid gathering customer data without explicit consent, as violating privacy can significantly tarnish your brand’s image among Gen Z consumers. By respecting their privacy concerns, you enhance their trust in your brand.


Reaching out to Gen Z means finding the right mix of what’s fresh and what’s real. It’s not just about buying and selling; it’s about using technology to make genuine connections. To win over this generation, focus on being genuine, using digital platforms wisely, offering personalized experiences, and sticking to important values like being eco-friendly and inclusive. Keep in mind that Gen Z is more than just a group of people; it’s a community that wants to connect with brands on a meaningful level. Businesses that get this will not only survive but thrive.