NEW YORK—Reaching Generation Z is going to make connecting with Millennials look like a piece of cake for retailers, but the key lies in an efficient omnichannel order management system, according to a white paper by Order Dynamics.
GenZ, also known as Centennials, refers to the group born between 1995 and 2015 (other estimates place the starting year at 2000). Having experienced the Great Recession and its aftermath has given GenZ, most of whom are still in school, a cautious perspective and a pessimistically slanted view of the macro-economy and their own financial capabilities and stability, the report stated. They are also aware of the social and environmental impacts of their actions and are do-gooders who spend time volunteering and want to facilitate social change. These beliefs and convictions influence their shopping behaviors.
As digital natives with an eight-second attention span, GenZ often use up to five screens at a time, so e-commerce sites should be fully responsive to fit any screen with the consistent information GenZ expects, advised Order Dynamics, a provider of order management software. GenZ’s social media of choice are Snapchat and Instagram, since they prefer to communicate with images, according to the report. They are thorough researchers and expect easy access to product details and reviews. However, although they do their research online, many prefer to shop in the physical store.
An omnichannel order management system takes all these things into account, Order Dynamics said. “The distributed order management component of a robust retail OMS offers the flexible, intelligent ability to process and distribute orders across all retail channels, wherever Centennials interact with your brand,” the white paper said. “An omnichannel OMS should manage the entire order lifecycle—for both retailers and customers—from initial acquisition to final fulfillment. Part of the job is keeping a single source of records on all customers, their orders and their returns.”
Order Dynamics recommends flexible technology and a user-driven platform that can be constantly reconfigured to meet with changing customer demands. Intelligent order routing is also important, since GenZ knows it can demand super fast shipments and can split one order into multiple shipments. “Intelligent order routing determines the best and fastest possible stock location from which to fulfill orders,” according to the report.
The newest generation of future shoppers also demands inventory visibility. They want retailers, whether online or in-store, to give informative and up-to-date information on inventory and options. “A good system allows the retailer to choose what level of inventory is shown to clients and associates. Letting customers and associates have visibility into the entire pool of available inventory or a business-defined subset means a retailer can grow their omnichannel sales and reduce the risk of stock outs.”
Dynamic safety stock capability is the ability to show all inventory or limit inventory visibility. “It enables retailers to determine specific inventory availability levels across their entire network or on a store-by-store basis, create new stock rules on the fly and feed availability levels in real-time into any channel. By employing dynamic safety stock, a retailer can meet Gen Z’s need for instant gratification, whether they choose to purchase in-store or online, or some combination of the two.”
OMS also enables customers to purchase goods online and pick them up from various locations and options, including the physical store, lockers, corner stores, post offices and other locations. Returns must also be equally easy to transact.