New Data Says Gen Z Prefers Brick-and-Mortar

March 2, 2020 | 4 min to read

Your customers have tons of options for where they buy Magic. But no option is strictly better than the others—some fans are going to see the simplicity and speed of online shopping as huge benefits. Others are looking for something else entirely.

Shopping in a brick-and-mortar store offers a completely different experience than shopping online: there's a person happy to answer questions, a chance for personalized recommendations, and the opportunity to disconnect from the online world.

And these perks appeal to a huge chunk of the gaming community: Gen Z.

Gen Z is made up of people age fourteen to twenty–four—a segment that overlaps a lot with people interested in gaming. And it's not a small group. Some estimates predict one-third of the US population will be made up of Gen Z by the end of 2020.

The best thing about this huge group of shoppers? They probably already want to visit your store.

A huge portion of Gen Z customers prefer brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping.

In the report detailed here, more than half of surveyed Gen Z shoppers like to spend their disposable income on products over events like travelling or concerts. But they don't want to buy those products just anywhere—they want to get them from a local, physical store.

A whopping 81% of surveyed Gen Z shoppers said they prefer to shop in brick-and-mortar stores over shopping online.**

And that doesn't only apply to people who already know what they're shopping for. 73% of the surveyed shoppers said they like discovering new products in physical stores over learning about them online.

In fact, more than half the surveyed shoppers like brick-and-mortar because it isn't an online shopping experience—they said visiting a physical store helps them disconnect from the digital world for a little while.

Browsing products offline means there's no chance of being distracted by notifications mid-purchase or feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of products and sellers available. And it's that opportunity to focus and disconnect that appeals to Gen Z.

Gen Z shoppers love brick-and-mortar stores so much that it's their first and second choice: most said even if their favorite store closed, they wouldn't start shopping online—they'd find another brick-and-mortar store.

Gen Z customers want more than just products—they want an experience surrounding the product.

One of the reasons Gen Z prefers shopping in store is something that can't be found online—the experience.

While Gen Z customers do like to spend their money on products, acquiring the product isn't their only focus. The generation likes to look at shopping as an experience—an opportunity to interact with products and socialize offline.

While an online platform has algorithm-based recommendations, it can't ask questions quite like an employee can. Are you a collector? Do you like playing limited or constructed? Are you building a deck for Standard or Commander?

That explains why 73% of the surveyed shoppers said they like discovering new products in physical stores.

An algorithm can offer similar products based on previous purchases, browsing data, etc., which can be powerful, but it shouldn't be mistaken true personalization. It's the personal touch, employee expertise, and amazing experience that draw the generation to brick-and-mortar shops.

So, Gen Z shoppers are looking for a few different things: cool products, helpful employee interactions, and opportunities to connect with friends and family offline in an amazing, welcoming space.

That sounds a lot like what they can get at one of the world's best game stores.

Keep your customers coming back with Premium experiences.

You don't have to pull the newest generation of shoppers away from online stores. They're already looking for a great shopping experience where they can disconnect and spend time with their community—you just need to have it ready for them.

WPN members already have an edge here by providing a great player and customer experience. It's the way to get players to choose your store over the other options.

But Gen Z expects more than a building where they can do their shopping. All the data show that Gen Z expects their shopping experiences to be Premium—and we can help you give it to them.

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