By: Sandy Stark
2 min read, E-Commerce, Optometry

Gen Z is changing the face of retail both online and in-store. Not only is this generation coming into great buying power, they also have significant buying influence over their Gen X parents.

Witnesses to the financial mistakes and struggles of their elders, this pragmatic group is already taking a different approach to money. Zoomers, born between the mid 1990s to mid 2010s are demanding more for their money and loyalty. Gen Z is discerning in their spending, even frugal, but they are willing to spend money if you can deliver on value, authenticity and experience. In other words, your brand has to make sense and demonstrate a high level of perceived value in cost, quality, functionality, practicality and credibility.

As for experience, it's easy to assume the first digital native generation would be flocking to online stores but, the reality may surprise you. In fact, up to 81% of Gen Z say they still shop in store. However, the difference is in how they travel through the buying journey. Gen Z is looking for a shopping experience that includes enhanced technology. They spend 8 hours a day online, over 4 of those hours on their mobile devices.  They look to social media, friends and influencers to research and connect with brands. They want speed, convenience, personalized experiences, easy checkouts and mobile payment options.

What does this all mean for your optometry clinics? It means good news for those who may have resigned themselves to forfeiting retail sales to the third party online retailers who are, quite literally, banking on discount prices to win wallets. Not to say that cost isn't a factor, of course it is. Nonetheless, buying from you makes sense. You know your patients' history (there's practicality). It means, you are your brand and your patients trust your expertise and recommendations pertaining to their eye care (that's authenticity). If you are willing to embrace the future you can offer that multi-channel experience Gen Z is searching for (that's functionality). You can use your social media to connect and educate (now you have credibility). Your online store (enhanced technology) can be used to book appointments (convenience), showcase products such as frames that can be pre-selected for try-on (speed), or lenses that can be shipped to their home (easy check out and mobile payments), promote sales and rebates (cost), and make recommendations based on their unique needs (personalization). Did we miss anything?

Gen Z have mastered the art of omni-channel shopping, looking to a combination of social media, brick and mortar and e-commerce to journey from search to purchase. There is still much to learn about this dynamic and critical generation. Chances are their behaviours will evolve as they come into their own. One thing is for certain, experience is king and these will be your patients for decades to come if you can deliver on all fronts.

Sightly is a leader in Patient-Commerce solutions designed specifically for optometry practices. Patient-Commerce is the seamless union of e-commerce and personalized patient care. Propelled in consultation with top optometry professionals and motivated by subscriber feedback, Sightly continues to enhance their product offering with tools intended to integrate the care and expertise your patients receive in-office, with the 24/7 accessibility they have to come to expect in an online world. There are no limits to the products you can retail on your Sightly storefront. Lenses, frames, dry-eye products, accessories, cosmetics even books have been sold using the Sightly platform. Launching an online store this robust has never been easier and Sightly will guide you through comprehensive training and accessible customer service.

Sources; 70+ statistics on Gen Z Spending Habits for 2022 (February 2022),

IMRG.ORG; What Generation Z expects from the online retail experience,

Global Web Index; Observing the latest trends on Gen Zs,

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