From product to experience: How Gen Z could change finance
- Gen Z today makes up one-third of the global population with around $360 billion in disposable income lining their pockets.
- These new market entrants are pushing the envelope when it comes to everything from user experience to embedded finance, and companies are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to connect with them.
Gen Z today makes up one-third of the global population with around $360 billion in disposable income lining their pockets. These new market entrants are pushing the envelope when it comes to everything from user experience to embedded finance, and companies are scratching their heads trying to figure out how to connect with them.
At the onset of the Covid pandemic, Gen Zers were just starting to find their footing in the “real world”. Consequently, they became bigger and more lucrative consumers, growing in economic significance.
Only a zoomer really gets another zoomer, it appears. And that’s a concern because they’re really leaving a deep mark on the nature of financial services globally.
But, well, not for long. *drum rolls*
Style with ease
Produced in partnership with Publicis Sapient, Steez is a five-part series designed to fill in the gap between decision makers in the financial services industry and Gen Z. The word Steeze, coined by rapper Method Man, comes from a 2020 track called Shadoboxin’ and can be understood as ‘style with ease’.
In each of the five episodes, our host Rebecca Cohen welcomes thought and business leaders from the top brands serving the 68 million Gen Z in America today. On the back of industry-leading research and experience, our panels discuss how to capture, delight, and retain this distinct new generation of financial consumers.
We’re here to help you become a Steez organization – a Gen Z-ready institution.
Lule Demmissie, the CEO of eToro in the US, featured in the first episode, where she spoke about how Gen Z has ushered in a new era in the development of financial products.
Today, products are thought of as experiences, and the users are central to the thought that goes behind developing them. There is an intention to try and understand what the customers aim to achieve through a service, and how to best enable that.
This is different from how finance traditionally operated, where customers were offered products that the bank felt it could offer, and then were expected to navigate through and figure out how the offerings would benefit them on their own.
Gen Z’s influence also spills over to finance going digital. Kristy Kim, founder of Tomocredit, speaks about how the comfort Gen Z has sharing data online is helping change the game.
“When we launched TomoCredit back in 2019, I didn't expect so many people to come in and sign up like right away, because I, as a millennial, still have some hesitation on trying totally new startups and giving all my data,” Kim discussed in Steez episode 1. “But surprisingly, younger people like Gen Z, they were way more open.”
That’s obviously not to say that Gen Z will hop onto just about anything digital – that would be a gross oversimplification. To get the Zoomer attention, services need to be made for them, i.e. be fast, seamless, accessible, and convenient, according to Michael Broughton, Forbes 30-under-30 founder of Altro.
“That's where we've ultimately tried to spend our time, thinking about how we can deliver solutions and services with speed and convenience for the users,” Broughton said in a Steeze podcast. “The other thing that I would frankly say is that we continue to talk about the importance of relationships, relationships are a form of social capital.”
And these relationships are built on trust, which inturn is built on effective communication. There are few better at understanding that than actor-turned-content creator Blake Michael, who also helps run the creator-business app Lumanu. In the second Steez episode, Michael lays down the three step process to building effective relationships with Gen Z consumers through content creators.
Firstly, he believes open communication and dialogue is important. This could be about bugs in the program, or users’ suggestions on how to improve things. Secondly, the said communication needs to be honest and transparent. And lastly, brands should develop a long-term mindset to campaigns.
“So thinking of campaigns as not just short-term items but a long-term relationship is important. And it’s really relationship based. So when you instill those three concepts, you’re set up for success in the relationship between the brand and the creator,” he said.