Gen Z quickly ‘cancels’ brands and moves on; no patience with online errors

Marianne Wilson
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Gen Z is not likely to give retailers a second chance when faced with a poor online experience. 

One-third of Gen Z shoppers will abandon a purchase or post a negative review due to a poor online shopping experience, according to a survey by digital experience management software company Sitecore. The research, conducted by Advanis, revealed that Gen Z, which has an estimated shopping power of up to $143 billion, quickly cancels brands and moves on.

With Gen Z, brands must get it right or suffer the economic and reputational consequences, the survey found. Fifty-seven percent are less loyal to brands than before the pandemic and 80% are now more willing to try new brands online. Retailers have no room for error, however, as 38% of Gen Z shoppers only allow a brand a single second chance before switching to a competitor. 

Speed of delivery is critical, with 80% finding retailers able to deliver in less than 24 hours more appealing. In addition, 37% identify free delivery as the most important element when shopping online. And if an online store is out of stock, 74% of Gen Z will move to another retailer.

Before the pandemic, almost a third (31%) of Gen Z – digital natives – had never purchased anything online. Since COVID-19, the vast majority (87%) state their online shopping skills have improved, with 26% using a mobile device to make a purchase for the first time. Sixty-three percent find online shopping is now more enjoyable than in-person, with nearly two-thirds (64%) identifying as digital converts who want to keep buying almost everything online. 

Other key findings from the survey are below.
• An overwhelming majority (83%) of Gen Z view online shopping as an experience rather than a transaction and has lofty expectations. Three quarters want new and exciting experiences when they shop online, and 71% expect a highly personalized experience. 

• To improve the experience, Gen Z wants brands to take action to ensure their website works well on mobile devices (53%), remembers shopping preferences (46%), and provides personalized suggestions (43%).

• Seventy-six percent believe that their favorite brands should reward them for their patronage.

"This study highlights that brands can't ignore the power of poor digital experiences when it comes to Gen Z and its shopping habits," said Paige O'Neill, chief marketing officer, Sitecore. "This group has quickly shifted its significant spending power online, and pressure will continue to mount on retailers until they can deliver an experience that delights. Brand loyalty has evaporated and there is no margin for error any longer from browsing through to delivery. The ability to consistently create personalized experiences is critical to secure the wallets of Gen Z. This puts technology firmly at the center of this new battle for retailers."