The Millennial generation is empowered, savvy and digitally stimulated. Millennials are always connected and use their mobile devices to their shopping advantage, yet most Millennials still prefer to visit a physical store. According to a recent study by Cushman & Wakefield “75% of Millennial purchases are made at brick-and-mortar stores.”
For Millennials, shopping is an experience rather than a way to acquire things. They prefer to see, touch, and interact with the merchandise and the brand; something they can’t get online.
Although this is a huge opportunity for brick and mortar, it’s also a frustrating challenge. Since Millennials have easy and immediate access to a wealth of information, they are selective and demanding. Therefore, how a store makes Millennials feel is crucial to their customer satisfaction.
In order to entice, and more importantly, retain Millennials as customers, retailers must understand, embrace and respond to the four top behaviors of Millennial shoppers:
Millennials are connected 24/7.
They leave their phones on, even while they sleep. Millennials have constant access to a wealth of information about brands, products, trends, and sales. This puts pressure on retailers to keep up, adapt, and move ahead of their competition.
They want a unique, memorable experience.
Millennials expect a compelling, personalized in-store experience every time. Retailers get one chance to get it right. If Millennials aren’t engaged when they enter the store, they walk out without purchasing and head straight through a competitor’s doors.
Millennials share everything.
How a piece of clothing looks, how much a product costs, a display that makes them laugh, or how they were treated by an employee – it all gets shared to their huge social networks. Whether it’s a good or bad experience, Millennials let their peers know. The message is clear, and it can influence others’ opinions and make or break a retailer’s reputation.
They want shopping to be seamless.
They want the products, information and prices in store to match what they found online, and they expect digital transactions to be easy. This means all retail channels should be unified, and stores must be able to scan coupons and accept payments on consumers’ smartphones without hassle or hesitation.
In summary, retailers need to evolve to please smart Millennial shoppers. By accepting change and adopting new technologies, retailers can consolidate merchandising information and open up communication between stores and corporate headquarters, allowing for consistency between all channels. Retailers can also look at each store’s attributes, customize their stores to Millennial shoppers’ preferences, and track execution and performance results to figure out what is or isn’t working. As a result, retailers can design an authentic, exciting, on-brand experience that keep Millennials interested, engaged and ultimately coming back.