The Voice of Retail

Exploding the Myths of the GenZ Shopper

Episode Summary

From Edelman's breakthrough Gen Z Lab, Courtney Miller, Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy, Giselle Huasipoma, Gen Z Lab Ambassador, Influencer Marketing, reveal five myths about how Gen Z shops.

Episode Notes

Welcome to The Voice of Retail podcast. My name is Michael LeBlanc, and I am your host, I believe in the power of storytelling to bring the retail industry to life. I'll bring insights, perspectives and experiences from some of the retail industry's most innovative and influential voices each week. This podcast is produced in conjunction with Retail Council of Canada.

From Edelman's breakthrough Gen Z Lab, Courtney Miller, Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy, Giselle Huasipoma, Gen Z Lab Ambassador, Influencer Marketing, reveal five myths about how Gen Z shops.

If you're not looking closely, you might think the Gen Z demographic is all about impulse buyers, who only buy niche, sustainable brands and are the death of brick & mortar shopping experiences, favouring flashy innovative tech experiences instead. In discussing these beliefs with their Gen Z Lab – 200+ Gen Zers across the Edelman network – they discovered that many of these commonly-held notions aren't true. 

Here is the full study

Thanks for tuning into this episode of The Voice of Retail. If you haven't already, be sure and follow on your favorite podcast platform so new episodes will land automatically each week. And check out my other retail industry media properties, Remarkable Retail podcast with Steve Dennis, and the Global eCommerce Leaders podcast. Last but not least, if you're into barbecue, check out my YouTube barbecue show Last Request Barbecue with new episodes each and every week.

About Courtney

I’ve held many roles over the course of my career, including positions in market research, strategy, and branding. Yet at its core, my career is defined by the constant of delivering superior results for clients. I’ve managed all facets of both large- and small-scale projects—from buy-in and adoption to implementation and execution. I approach my job with two goals in mind—excellence and success. 

In my current role with Edelman, I lead strategy for high performing teams to deliver superior service to clients across a diverse spectrum of industries. With oversight of the Midwest region’s two largest accounts, I gather intelligence via search data, social media conversations, quantitative surveys, and focus groups to identify consumer trends so that C-suite clients can make data-driven decisions. Of the achievements of which I am most proud is my work with the Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) account. This account had been underperforming for consecutive months, and I successfully turned it around. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the talented team members with whom I partner. With the understanding that the people who make up any organization are its most valuable assets, I strive to create a culture that embraces open and honest communication, and positions all for success. 

About Giselle 
Giselle works within the influencer marketing space at the largest global communications firm facilitating campaign strategies and managing hundreds of influencer relationships. She continues to gain exceptional skills and experience throughout influencer marketing, social media strategy, event planning, and integrated team collaboration.


About Michael 

Michael is the Founder & President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc. and a Senior Advisor to Retail Council of Canada and the Bank of Canada as part of his advisory and consulting practice. He brings 25+ years of brand/retail/marketing & eCommerce leadership experience with Levi's, Black & Decker, Hudson's Bay, Today's Shopping Choice and Pandora Jewellery.   

Michael has been on the front lines of retail industry change for his entire career. He has delivered keynotes, hosted fire-side discussions with C-level executives and participated worldwide in thought leadership panels. ReThink Retail has added Michael to their prestigious Top Global Retail Influencers list for 2023 for the third year in a row. 

Michael is also the president of Maven Media, producing a network of leading trade podcasts, including Canada's top retail industry podcastThe Voice of Retail. He produces and co-hosts Remarkable Retail with best-selling author Steve Dennis, now ranked one of the top retail podcasts in the world. 

Based in San Francisco, Global eCommerce Leaders podcast explores global cross-border issues and opportunities for eCommerce brands and retailers. 

Last but not least, Michael is the producer and host of the "Last Request Barbeque" channel on YouTube, where he cooks meals to die for - and collaborates with top brands as a food and product influencer across North America.

Episode Transcription

Michael LeBlanc  00:05

Welcome to The Voice of Retail podcast. My name is Michael LeBlanc, and I am your host. I believe in the power of storytelling to bring the retail industry to life. I'll bring insights, perspectives and experiences from some of the retail industry's most innovative and influential voices each week. This podcast is produced in conjunction with the Retail Council of Canada. 

Michael LeBlanc  00:10

From Edelman's breakthrough Gen Z Lab, Courtney Miller, Executive Vice President and Head of Strategy and Giselle Huasipoma, a Gen Z Lab Ambassador, Influencer Marketing reveal five myths about how Gen Z shops. If you're not looking closely, you might think that the Gen Z demographic is all about impulse buyers that only buy niche sustainable brands, and are the death of brick-and-mortar shopping experiences favouring flashy, innovative tech experiences instead, and exploring these beliefs with their Gen Z Lab 200+ Gen Zers across the Edelman network, Courtney and Giselle discovered that many of these commonly-held notions aren't true. Let's hear all about it now. Giselle, Courtney, welcome to The Voice of Retail podcast. How are you both doing this morning?

Courtney Miller  01:06

Great to be here. (crossover talk).

Michael LeBlanc  01:09

Fantastic. Now, Courtney, I think I'm finding you in Chicago. Giselle where are you? Are you in Chicago as well, or are you elsewhere?

Giselle Huasipoma  01:15

No, I lie and say that I'm from New York, but I'm actually from Jersey.

Michael LeBlanc  01:21

Let's jump in with some introductions, a bit about yourself/, how you gotta be you? And what do you do for a living? Courtney let's start with you.

Courtney Miller  01:27

Yes. So, I guess I'm, my name is Courtney Miller. I actually lead strategy for our central region, out here in Chicago, we cover a bit of the Dallas area. I think it's the best job in the world. Because I get to get to know people and really bridge the gap between what people want and need and what brands have to say or sell. Which makes Edelman a really great place for me because we sort of sit right at the intersection of that naturally. We're all about trust in the house of trust and how, how that really drives that link between brands and consumers.

Michael LeBlanc  02:08

Excellent, excellent. Giselle, what about yourself?

Giselle Huasipoma  02:10

Yeah, I've been with Edelman for almost two years. At this point, I work in Influencer Marketing as a Coordinator, sitting on an eCommerce team. Kind of juggling a lot of different hats, I guess you could say under luxury seekers, fashion, a lot of fun stuff collectibles. And then other than working as an Influencer Marketer. I'm also part of the Gen Z Lab, as an ambassador.

Michael LeBlanc  02:35

Tell us about what makes Edelman different and, and again, a little bit of the scope and scale just in case folks, I'm sure they've heard of the name, but don't understand what entirely you do.

Courtney Miller  02:45 

Yeah, I mean, it's a great question. Edelman is often known by name, but the size, scale and scope is lesser known to many. We are the largest independent global communications firm, we've got about 6000 people. Globally, we cater to just about any client you could possibly think of across any sector, category. We do things that range from very branded work to corporate and crisis work. We really do a lot of consultancy with our clients, as well as more of the traditional communications that you would see coming out of advertising. And then of course, we are best known for our annual Trust Barometer as well, which really makes us, I think, super different and compelling. We're, I think, 21 years and running with the, the Trust Barometer that really looks at the State of the Union on trust against some of the biggest institutions in our world right now.

Michael LeBlanc  03:49

What, what, what's the very, very short version of what makes Edelman different? You should choose or work with Edelman or we tell our prospective clients to work with Edelman, because?

Courtney Miller  03:59

You're asking me for the elevator pitch, which is exactly what we do for our clients. So, it's a good question. I would say we are the house of trust, and we really bridge that trusted relationship between brands and companies.

Michael LeBlanc  04:12

Giselle, let's talk about the Gen Zed Lab, Gen Z Lab. What's its role, its work within the firm and, and let's talk about that because we got a great study here is Zed, Z-Commerce, Zed-Commerce. And it's got some, some myths that you've exploded through the work. But let's first take a step back and why was it established? And what's its purpose? And how does it work?

Giselle Huasipoma  04:34

Yeah, so I like to consider the Gen Z Lab as the missing piece to the puzzle for every business no matter what sector you're a part of like tech, CPG, food and beverage, energy, literally anything under the sun Gen Z Lab is just a perfect fit for every business. So, it started back in the summer of 2022 and ever since then, we've grown across the entire globe up to 200 or so Gen Zers. Basically, just having that voice and that input into these bigger, larger scale meetings, that a lot of times we're just not a part of, because there's what I like to call the big wigs in the room. And we're usually not part of those conversations. And Gen Z Lab really opens up those doors for retailers, or any other people in the business that are interested in Gen Z in expanding the future of their business.

Michael LeBlanc  05:31

I guess we shouldn't assume that everyone knows, because everyone, I guess might have a slightly different version of what Gen Zed means. But let's talk about who a Gen Z person is and what's the demographic? What does that segment look like? And just unpack that for a little bit. So, we're all on the same page, so to speak about who we're talking about? 

Giselle Huasipoma  05:50

Yeah, I feel like a lot of times, there's so many blurred lines between like, who falls into Gen Z. There's also a lot of times where people say I am a zillennial, or they're just like in that cusp between being Gen Z or being a millennial or, (crossover talk).

Michael LeBlanc  06:03

Did you say zillennial? (Crossover talk).

Giselle Huasipoma  06:05

Yeah, zillennial, millennial with a Z. 

Michael LeBlanc  06:08

I love that. 

Giselle Huasipoma  06:11

There's a lot, so if we want to go to the very youngest, even before like, or I guess you can say after in a timeframe would be Gen Alpha, which is everybody who's basically still in middle school and elementary school, down to babies that are being born at this second. So, after that, I would say around high school age currently would be Gen Z, all the way up to about 24 to 25. And again, like I said, you can Google who is a part of Gen Z, and a lot of different websites will tell you different timeframes. So, I think just to get a sense of who's where, right now, at this current time in 2023, I think the oldest Gen Zer would be around 24-ish, maybe 25. Again, that starts tipping into the territory of zillennial.

Michael LeBlanc  06:56

Right. And was there a, what was the compelling business case that we said, we need to understand the segment better? Was there a sense? First of all, there was a very large population of people. So, ie the addressable market was going to be significant and B, that, you know, under ordinary circumstances, or ordinary processes or whatever, you didn't really have a good handle on what Gen Z was all about. And was it the client saying, “listen, I can't get my head around what these folks are about”, like, what made it so different that you needed a lab?

Giselle Huasipoma  07:30

Yeah, I mean, there's so many reasons why, but I think the main concern was like, “I don't know what to do”. That was a big, that was a big, I don't know what to do from our clients. And you actually spoke with Jackie Hooper in one of your past episodes. And she, yeah, she is a big chunk of the reason why Gen Z Lab exists, because she has been getting that question so often in the past, where they're like, “I don't even know how to target them, like I'm terrified”. Those kinds of questions were coming from clients, like all of our clients are basically, like, “how do we tap into them? Like, I don't want to be cringy, I don't want to be cancelled”, like, there were just so many questions and I guess fears behind that. And the Gen Z Lab is a safe space, or what I like to call more like a brave space, like be brave to like, speak up with your voice from both from like, you know, both perspectives, Gen Zers are speaking up and like telling it, how it is and how they feel about any of the pitches that they have internally here at Edelman, or also just the brands and clients connecting with us and being brave enough to say,” hey, I don't know if this idea is good enough. Like would you care about it if I actually launched it?” So, we, we are those voices on the inside that help them out? 

Michael LeBlanc  08:38

All right, super interesting. Well, like I said, we're here to talk about this new study that ties right into, into retail, and reveals some myths that the lab has uncovered in its work. So Giselle, take us through the first myth, and we'll, we'll put a link into this, the overall document. But from the start, I guess, take us through the first myth, and then why the frame of myths like these were such common misperceptions, you said, “listen, we gotta to, we got to just find five of these things and let's clear the air a little bit”. So, talk about that and the mythmaking and the myth dispelling and then what the first observation is?

Giselle Huasipoma  09:13

I used to work in retail for a couple years. And I kind of have that, I guess point of view, which I'm sure is why Courtney, Bridget and Kelsey tapped me in for this specifically because I was on the inside as just a sales associate. And then kind of grew my way into influencer marketing. So, I think a lot of people think brick-and-mortar is dying or is near to collapse. And that's just the complete opposite and not true whatsoever. I've done several focus groups with clients on the retail side who have asked like “do you just want us to be online? Do you want us to do this?” And a lot of people including myself would say, “no, why would you do that?” I like going to the stores, I like trying on clothes, I like doing returns in person or exchanging in person. I like interacting with a human being like those conversations and even more after the pandemic, like, I want to have those conversations. I do want to go to stores, it's just about doing it right. So, it's really not like having, I guess, a sales associate breathing behind your neck versus having a personal connection, there's like a complete difference. So, I think that's something that we also mentioned in the white paper is just how to connect with Gen Z on a more personal level versus like very surface level and transactional.

Michael LeBlanc  10:27

I think the big confusion sometimes becomes this retail is simply a task or a thing to do when we all know it's, it's, it's social, it’s cultural is, is there a bit of a, I've seen it in some research, that it's kind of a break from social media, like social media is part of our lives. And I guess in a different podcast, we talk about its role with Gen Z, but is it, is it a break from social media? Is it, is it just a different part of socialisation? And would it be the same if the COVID era hadn't happened and kind of woke everybody up to wow, people are important?

Giselle Huasipoma  11:00

Like yes, and no, it's it is a break from social media in the fact that you do go out to the mall to either go with your friends, go with your family, or just go on a solo trip to I guess, just distract yourself the same way somebody goes to a park or an amusement park or something else. And a lot of times, a lot of Gen Zers are going to the mall, because they're hanging out with their friends, like they're not going there to shop. Sometimes, sometimes they're window shopping. And I think window shopping is even stronger than actually shopping, even though there's really no numbers to put behind that other than conversion when people are going in and out of the stores. But it's, I think that that aspect of it, there is a socialisation component to it in person, but then when it transitions over to digital, it's a little bit different, because something important is connecting the stores in person to their online presence. So, that's something that I'm very passionate about. I think that's something that a lot of stores that were brick-and-mortar that have shut down, did not do successfully, because they did not keep that presence on both ends. So, that's something that's very important as well.

Michael LeBlanc  12:11

Well Courtney it’s a good, it's a good segue to talk about the two through four. And the first one is the myth that Gen Zs are huge online impulse buyers. I mean, we see these, these apps like Shein and new apps coming in like one comes one goes really quick. Is it, is it, should we not interpret that to be just launch an app, come and go and just drive impulse? What did you discover?

Courtney Miller  12:36

Yeah, I mean, what's interesting about Gen Zers is they are young. In fact, they're among the youngest of our generations. And that easily comes with this connotation that they are going to be sort of rational buyers and impulse buyers. And, you know, our research has told us otherwise sort of across the board, they're very sensible, they're very pragmatic. And as it relates to shopping and buying, what we've learned is that they might always be shopping, but they're not always buying. And a lot of the things that they're doing online, some of the tools put in place, like wish listing, or cart building, are there to really put some parameters in place for themselves limitations. And if they come back to those things later and still want them, they must really love them, because then they'll buy them.

Michael LeBlanc  13:30

Right. Interesting, Interesting. Yeah, my partner, author, Steve Dennis talks about the difference between shopping and buying, right, that buying is a little more tick a box off a list, it's a little less emotionally engaged but shopping is an overall longer process, a little more of an engagement process. And I guess, I guess we shouldn't make the assumption that entire demographics go one way or the other, right. Is that fair, a fair assessment based on your findings?

Courtney Miller  13:54

We definitely should not treat them like a monolith. But I think probably the more important takeaway is that conversion, that point of conversion is not quick. And sometimes it's a long game. And I think that some of our brands, clients tend to really look at the quickest way to get to the buy, without really understanding the engagement as you call it behind it.

Michael LeBlanc  14:17

Interesting. All right. Well, let's go to myth number three, that Gen Z is always just looking for boutiques and sustainable brands (crossover talk). Talk about that?

Courtney Miller  14:25

You know what, this is one, one of the most fascinating topics. I have a 15-year-old and was just talking about this very topic with him and he's like, “Mom, I don't understand why everybody thinks we all only want to buy a sustainable”, but we often hear this very real contradiction that happens with our Gen Zers, which is that they obviously value the values in sustainable brands. But that doesn't mean that they're always willing to pay for it. And I think we need to really consider the life stage that they're at, that some of these niche boutique and sustainable brands may just be a little bit out of reach for them. One of our Gen Zers told us “Do, as I say, not necessarily as I do, and eventually, I'm going to catch up and be able to do exactly what, what I want to be able to do with the means to be able to do it”. 

Michael LeBlanc  15:17

I mean that is one of the central demonstrably contradictions of the whole idea of sustainability is that there are retail brands out there online brands that are selling products that are meant to be worn a couple of times and won't last much longer and they're very popular, right. So, it does seem to strike many as the central contradiction, but what you're saying is that it's a trade-off for, you know, the value versus sustainability like folks are having to make trade-offs or you'd like it's very popular, right?

Courtney Miller  15:48

It’s very popular. There's definitely some compromises that often need to take place. But I think it's important to understand the thought process behind buying sustainably with these Gen Zers. You know, we talked to them. And they say that “it's not always just about the claim that a brand puts on their product about sustainability. It's about my own personal consumption. So, how many times am I going to wear it? How many times am I going to use it? Am I going to get the longevity out of it that makes this in my opinion, sustainable and make my personal consumption as sustainable as it can be”? I think we also talk about really for brands, how, how do you balance the value and values, 

Michael LeBlanc  16:18


Courtney Miller  16:19

In there? So that, when they're compromising now. What does that mean for your brand down the line?

Michael LeBlanc  16:38

Kind of a question off to the side about that, which is, you know, the resale market was predicted by some to be to be huge that it said “the ideal world of rebuying? Is that, does that come up in the research as well that, you know, there is interest in it? (Crossover talk).

Courtney Miller  16:54

It absolutely does. I almost think the resale market is the new department store for a lot of these Gen Zers. It truly has moved beyond just the traditional thrift to being something that really allows them to buy what they want, with an exclamation point on their own personal consumption.

Michael LeBlanc  17:17

Well, it's interesting because I know my daughter likes to wear, like, like a David Bowie concert t-shirt kind of stuff that I have from, from, from a while ago. Is that, is that a search for meaning in what they wear and back into history? Or is it just a, not just fashion because we know fashion encompasses a lot of stuff? Any thoughts on that?

Courtney Miller  17:35

It's funny, because I also have a nine-year-old and she just did her class photos wearing an ACDC shirt. And she has no idea who ACDC actually is. But you know, I think that they like this idea of a throwback because it gives them some sort of safety and security about like former days, what once was. I do think that they're interested in sort of learning a little bit more about the throwbacks as well. But our hypothesis is, it comes really back to the safety and security and sort of the feelings that, you know, back then sort of conjured up.

Michael LeBlanc  18:10

Yeah, I guess that would be amplified after the COVID era, right. I mean, we had the opposite of all those for, 

Courtney Miller  18:16


Michael LeBlanc  18:17

For several years, a lot of tough years to go through. So, I guess it does, maybe your (crossover talk).

Courtney Miller  18:20

Definitely, safety and security was one of our hallmark findings of Gen Z, is just how much they crave it. And it really comes, it's very pervasive across almost every dimension that you can possibly think of.

Michael LeBlanc  18:31

Yeah, probably no, no surprise there for any of us. All right, number four. And again, this gets back to the whole buying versus shopping. You know, I was sitting through a presentation where they had a keynote, and they were saying, “you know, you need virtual reality in the store. And it needs to be experiential”. I'm like, “ah, yeah, sometimes, but not always and not everybody wants that”. So, talk about this myth of the crave of splashy innovative experiences, or I guess instagrammable stores, I guess, is another, another way to put that.

Courtney Miller  18:57

Yeah. it means it's not to say that they're not interested in that. I think that isn't the only draw. I think Giselle did a really nice job, even tying back into the brick-and-mortar. But, you know, this is obviously a very digital generation and It's something we've heard a lot. But almost half of them say that technology isn't the solution to most problems. And it also isn't the most appealing at times. And so I think that's something we often get wrong that you know, we, they sort of crave the analogue at times this sort of sensible simplicity that kind of comes behind buying and I think being able to use those flashy, innovative experiences and very smart thoughtful ways makes a lot of sense, but it is certainly not the only solution thereafter.

Michael LeBlanc  19:42

Giselle let's talk about myth number five which has to do with influencers or awareness, not commerce. I guess this is the long thought of how do I turn an influencer program into something that generates revenue and is it just so high in the funnel? I shouldn't be thinking like that, but it looks like your research says that there is a role for, for, for, for commerce, when we're talking about influencers I guess in a little more of a direct role. Talk about that for a little bit.

Giselle Huasipoma  20:09

Influencers are at the top of their game right now. And a lot of people have said in studies that there might be a decline soon, etc, etc. But like, I really don't believe that because a lot of times, we are being tapped in for influencers. I myself work in the influencer marketing industry. And if anything, it's growing every single day, there's more demand all the time, especially working with a huge eCommerce client. That's just the number one thing to push out immediately. It's just let's make sure our influencer team is tied into this and they bring us in all the time. So, I think it's very important to tie us in at all times. 

Giselle Huasipoma 20:29

Another thing I wanted to say was that I think a lot of people view it as kind of transactional for an influencer to just post about an item or whatever the product is. But there's a lot of relationships that go behind, building those relationships with those influencers. And a lot of influencers also don't want to put their own brand on the line in order to promote a product. For example, as we were talking about earlier, sustainability, if a brand is like greenwashing, their product, like they're not going to put their own brand on the line, if they do their own research and say, “hey, I know you're offering me like X amount of dollars for this post. But like, I don't want to post about something that's not authentic to myself”. There's been a lot of instances where I've seen that online, where influencers will decline huge partnerships, because it just doesn't align with their brand. And then I've seen the complete opposite too where there's scandals and people are lying about the stuff they're posting about.

Michael LeBlanc   21:44


Giselle Huasipoma  21:45

So, there's, there's just, there's a balance that has to be done when retailers and clients like to reach out to influencers, but that's why we're here to do the vetting and make sure that the partnership is as organic as possible.

Michael LeBlanc  21:56

It's interesting, because you're, you're, you’re talking about accountability, right? I mean, and is influencer marketing particular to this demographic it, it a program that can work at all ages? Not just Gen Z or is it, is it really a Gen Z phenomenon that's here to stay? You seem to not think that there's a waning point or what am I thinking about, like a point of, of just so many influencers, that it all starts to kind of wash out and just be you know, too much too much of it happening? You don't see that in the future? How do you feel about the future like the three to five years ahead where there's so many influencers, that it's all just influencer marketing, we don't seem to be at that point. And you're, you're optimistic of the future.

Giselle Huasipoma  22:42

A lot of people say that there's an oversaturation of influencers. That word specifically, like it's oversaturated, the market is crazy, like how am I going to get noticed, you know, from like the TikTokers or Instagram persons, like perspective, a creator, but I feel like it's just gonna keep growing. And there's always somebody specific out there. We're always looking for people with specific niches as well. People who like multiple things, people who are into lifestyle, beauty, fashion, but also into cars. Like that's just so random. You know, like, those kinds of crossovers that a lot of retailers look for. So, there's always something out there for someone. So, I think, if anything, the oversaturation is only a good thing for a business, especially retail and commerce in general.

Michael LeBlanc  23:22

Let me, you touched on something there. Just let me talk. Let's talk about the platform real quick, you talked about TikTok. And I've been talking to some retailers who are really interested in what's going on in YouTube shorts. I mean, really short form video broke it open in terms of, you know, platforms and media, is there any media that's on the decline? We hear challenges with TikTok politically, but from a user perspective? Boy, really, you know, it's TikTok, Reels, all these things? Like, what, what's, what's popular now? And where do you think, you know, if we were to look around a corner, is it, is it YouTube shorts? What do you guys think?

Giselle Huasipoma  23:55

Yeah, a lot of the platforms are just copying each other a lot. So, a lot of the time because they are copying each other, one tends to die down, for example, at least for me, and the group of Gen Zers that I hang around with, like, we don't use Snapchat anymore. And it's just not a thing because we have Instagram Stories for that. And even though, like that short form like photos or videos started there, and then moved over to Instagram, like we're sticking to Instagram because their layout was better, the interaction and the experience was better as well. But from seeing it like (crossover talk).

Michael LeBlanc  24:29

They had controversy pretty recently, though, when they went, I think the, the community thought they went too far into video and kind of, you know, we're under, undermining the visual purpose was, is that settled down? Or is that, any thoughts on that?

Giselle Huasipoma  24:42

Instagram specifically has started to prioritise more of their photos now. We actually have seen more research come out that they did prioritise videos last year and then into this year, they actually announced that they're going to prioritise photos because that's what they were mainly known for, as we all know, and they should stick to what they know. But yeah, we've seen our own research, at least on my end from my influencer team on this past campaign we did, where this influencer did a carousel post and everybody else did Reels or TikTok. And their posts performed way better than everyone else. And it's just the algorithm doing its thing. So, that's an example right there for you. Another thing I think long form video is, is here, but like, nobody really cares about it, at least from a client's perspective. And like what I've worked with, like nobody's going to be posting a video over a minute, because a lot of the attention span on TikTok ends at five seconds, so you need to catch them extremely early.

Michael LeBlanc  25:39

Wow. All right. Well, you know, again, another great segue to talk about advice to the retailers, I'm going to frame it in a two starts, and a one stop for retailers who want to grow their business with Gen Z, understand them, Courtney, I'm going to I'm going to tag you for the two things that retailers should start doing. And Giselle, I'm going to ask you, for one stop. So, Courtney, 

Courtney Miller  26:01

Oh, I also have one stop. So, I might, I might offer that and you can decide which one, (crossover talk).

Michael LeBlanc  26:06

You guys throw it around, but there, you know,

Courtney Miller  26:07

Okay. So, the two is, the two starts, are definitely considered Gen Z, you know, oftentimes, what we hear is that our clients let the fear of doing it wrong, really get in the way of doing anything, right. And so what we learned is that you get more credit for doing something than nothing. So you know, don't let fear get in the way, our entire principle is trust drives action and action drives trust. So, keep leaning into that and understand the influential value of Gen Z. I think the second thing is, just like any other generation, this is not a monolith, Gen Z's are very different. And, you know, probably one of the most fascinating things that we've learned is that it seems like a no brainer, but a 13- or 14-year-old is very different from a 26 year old. And you know that there's probably no other generation that spans so many transitions in life. And so definitely consider segmenting them and understanding through each unique value.

Michael LeBlanc  27:12

All right, Giselle, one stop. What should, what are you a common see, another way to think of this is, you know, common misstep. Or maybe something just doesn't work anymore? I mean, things change, right? So what's, what's the one thing that retailers should, should stop doing if they're doing it or not start?

Giselle Huasipoma  27:27

Not a stop, but more of like an adjustment, what you're doing is just bringing in Gen Z to these conversations. And that's where I think the Gen Z Lab steps in as well. A lot of times, we have a huge room filled with, like 50 plus execs, and they're all pitching around ideas, something gets through the door, and it's aimed towards Gen Z, and they don't even know it. So, then it gets out the door into the public and Gen Z is like, this is not good. And then people start getting mad, people start getting cancelled, or people start throwing dirt around this brand's name, etc. And it's not a fun time and then crisis PR comes in, then it's a whole big jumble, jumbled up mess, right? So, I think all of that can be avoided at the very beginning. And I've said this on multiple client calls where they're like, “can you just give us overall advice, like, what should we do”? And I'm like, “well, the good thing is that we're here to help before anything gets out of these four walls”, right. (Crossover talk).

Michael LeBlanc  28:25

Before you need the Edelman crisis team. Let's, let’s avoid that. They got enough to deal with, they got enough stuff that creates itself. Let's not create more for them.

Giselle Huasipoma  28:34

Exactly. So, I feel like a lot of times I like to call this in my head like the point A to point C and a lot of people are skipping the point A and just going B to C And I think we're really the point A here. Like we are the voices that need to be tapped into first before anything goes out the door, especially if any brands, any retailers are looking into the future of their business because we're the future, even if they're not thinking about Gen Z specifically. And they say they're looking into the future of their business. We are right there.

Michael LeBlanc  29:03

You're right there right in front of them. Don't skip over the future. Great advice. Well, where can folks go to learn more, and I'll put a link into the research itself. But if they want to get in touch with either of you, are you LinkedIn people? Are you, what's the best way to get in touch? Courtney, what's the best way to get in touch with you?

Courtney Miller  29:21

Yeah, so we're all over everywhere. We are all on LinkedIn. We're you know, we're both on Instagram, I believe if you would like to read a little bit more about our Z-Commerce study, you certainly can check that out at There is a ton of great stuff including all of our proprietary research that we've done as well as this Z-Commerce white paper.

Michael LeBlanc  29:45

All right, Giselle, are you on a platform I'd never heard of? It’s time to talk about it now that you've been on it for years and we don't know about it but I'm assuming LinkedIn and that and plus, yeah, email. Do you guys, you guys take email too, the old school way?

Giselle Huasipoma  30:05

Yeah, I am on LinkedIn, just my first and last name. And also, on Instagram. I'm sure you can probably find my Instagram somewhere on LinkedIn. And of course, just check out and read through our five minutes.

Michael LeBlanc  30:19

All right, well listen, Courtney, Giselle, thanks so much for joining me on The Voice of Retail. A real fun, and very interesting discussion. And, as you say, you know, look to the future. Here you are, the future is right here and thanks for putting this research out and helping us take another step forward in understanding. So, once again, thanks for joining me and I wish you a great rest of your week.

Courtney Miller  30:40

Thanks, Michael.

Giselle Huasipoma  30:41

Thank you.

Michael LeBlanc  30:42

Thanks for tuning into this episode of The Voice of Retail. If you haven't already, be sure to follow on your favourite podcast platform so new episodes will end up automatically each week. And be sure to check out my other retail industry media properties Remarkable Retail podcast with Steve Dennis and the Global eCommerce leader’s podcast. Last but not least, if you're into barbecue, check out my YouTube barbecue show Last Request Barbecue with new episodes each and every week. 

I'm your host Michael LeBlanc, Consumer Growth Consultant, President of M.E. LeBlanc & Company Inc. and Maven Media, and keynote speaker. If you're looking for more content or want to chat, follow me on LinkedIn or visit my website at 

Safe travels everyone.


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