Gen Z and their shopping habits are helping to reshape the e-commerce industry, transforming it into a social experience that goes beyond just traditional online shopping. The tech-savvy generation, born and raised in the digital age, is not only interested in transactions; they crave authentic connections, social responsibility and personalization experiences brands they engage with.
Bulgaria-based Push Marketplace, or as its founders describe it as “a social media for clothes”, is a place where users can buy, sell or discover new or used clothing.
The platform has also repeatedly introduced social media-like features for its customers, and with a user base close to 100,000, comprising primarily monthly active users from Generation Z, the startup’s goal is to position itself as the unique and essential platform in the Balkans and wider Europe.
Unlike conventional e-commerce sites, Push functions as a social platform, allowing users to interact with products through social network-style interactions. As the startup explains, it integrates a Tinder-like functionality into its admin interface, where products are verified for authenticity and quality.
“We can see every product that people download, and we can decide if it’s for our platform, if it’s fake, if it’s brand new, etc. We also have verification ads, which means if we see this this product is not fake, and it is original, we ask people for emails, small documents or small things they have for the product , so we can verify the ad. We are the only platform in the Balkans and probably among the top five in Europe to do this,” Ilian Kodzhahristov, CEO of Push Marketplace, told The Recursive.
What matters is the shopping journey, not the destination.
According to industry experts, what Gen Z is looking for from e-commerce platforms is the wholesome experience they would get from it.
“This digitally native generation relies heavily on online platforms for virtually all of their shopping needs, but they’re not just looking for a transactional experience. They seek authenticity and social responsibility from the brands they patronize, often interacting with them through social media long before making a purchase. For Gen Z, shopping is a form of self-expression, and they are more likely to buy from companies that align with their values and aesthetics,” says Valentino Chiavarini, CEO of Green Hive, a platform which connects environmentally friendly consumers and brands. and organizations.
Additionally, platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook have become not only sources of inspiration for Gen Z, but also direct ways to make purchases, blurring the lines between social media engagement and transactions of electronic commerce.
“Because Gen Z grew up immersed in technology, they expect businesses to be on top of their digital game with optimized mobile sites, social media shopping (think Tik-Tok Shop and Instagram Shopping), etc.”, Oliver Goulden, influencer founder. FounderSix incubator, tells The Recursive.
As Push Marketplace’s Kodzhahristov explains, most Gen Zers are also looking to promote the brands and businesses they support, so that’s another feature Push aims to expand.
“Probably 80 percent of all our users are under 25 years old. We are very young and we try to work with brands in Bulgaria that are aimed at young people. As we grow, we would also have these young people on our platform to promote various brands – so we are also a platform where they can promote their products,” he told The Recursive.
More personalization and AI features
For the young Bulgarian entrepreneur, interacting closely with customers and continuously introducing innovative social media-like features is also what helps social commerce become an important branch of e-commerce.
“Thirty-five percent of our users are monthly active users, because we can use all these little tricks that social networks usually use. We will also implement our Tinder functionality for end customers, so they can say what they like or don’t like, and then we can collect all this data and use it for the same customer,” says Kodzhahristov.
Push, which recently raised €85,000 in a pre-seed round led by Innovation Capital and Vitosha Venture Partners, also plans to continue adding new features to its platform.
“The next system we are introducing is a rating system. Usually, on these types of platforms, you can only rate the seller if you are a buyer. Now with Push we do something different: if you are a seller, you can still give ratings to the buyer,” says Kodzharistov.
When it comes to the next big trend in e-commerce, he expects more personalization, as well as increased use of various AI technologies.
“We are also looking for AI trends that we can put on the platform. But we don’t want to introduce AI just for the sake of saying we introduced it. We want to be something our customers need. We were looking for features that would work like Pinterest – for example, if you need clothes for a party or other event – and then the app gives you lots of clothes for those types of events. We can introduce something like this: our users can just leave a phrase and we can offer them many products. » concludes Kodjahristov.