Unless you have been living under a rock, you know that millennials are completely rocking the foundation that supports our consumer economy. These digital and mobile natives have almost complete access to a brand’s entire ecosystem through the Internet and are not afraid to use their power. Posting opinions on their personal profiles, sharing branded and user generated content and crowd sourcing information are a few of the ways millennials are engaging with their favorite brands.
To win with millennial shoppers, follow these steps:
1. Fill your store with personable and knowledgeable staff who are there to help not to make the decisions
How can you be a resource not the noise?
Despite the evolution into the digital age, research shows there is still a strong appreciation and desire among millennials to purchase their products in a brick and mortar retail store. What this proves, is that although millennials embrace an extremely mobile mindset, they are still driven to brands that enhance a physical relationship in the store. According to research conducted by TimeTrade and published in the State of Retail report, mobile purchasing habits are slow to grow in the coming years. Research shows that only 13 percent of respondents have previously made a purchase using a mobile device. In comparison, 92 percent of millennial participants plan to shop in a retail store in 2015 as often or more than they did in 2014.
One of the key drivers to the brick and mortar shopping experience for millennials is the attention to customer service and expert sales associates. Overwhelmingly, 90 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when helped by a knowledgeable sales associate. This is especially true for female millennials who believe that sales associates offer advice and recommendations that are right for them (55%). In order for brands to engage a millennial audience, they must develop trusting and authentic relationships and that typically comes from human relationships, not just website real estate.
2. Create an inviting space where millennial shoppers feel at home, are comfortable and are not afraid to have a little fun
How can shopping be a social outing instead of a chore?
Millennials seek out environments that conform to their lifestyles, meaning they are not about the put together, “sterile,” environments that most boomers grew up with. According to the new research study from FutureCast, Money Matters: How Affluent Millennials are Living the Millennial Dream, 76 percent of affluent millennials agree that a store’s environment can make a difference of whether or not they will shop there. The stores that are creating a more collaborative environment for shoppers in the store in addition to just online are quickly becoming the most successful. Moosejaw, a retail outlet that sells active wear, has successfully created a space where shoppers can go to hang out. One store location features a permanent Ping-Pong table and Nerf Gun war zone set up in the store. For a millennial consumer, going shopping is not always a result of needing to make a purchase, but rather a desire to spend time out with friends in a fun atmosphere.
Don’t forget about your social presence. Having an omnichannel presence is the only surefire way to connect with millennial consumers today
What platforms can you share your message that don’t seam spammy?
However, this does not mean that millennials who are shopping in the store are doing so independently from their digital connections. “This (millennial) generation does not even have a notion of in-store versus digital shopping,” said Gary Ambrosino, CEO of TimeTrade. “There is a continuity of the whole thing. They really see it as a holistic experience.”
More often than not, millennials use their online resources as a way to research and price shop different products. They are looking at the products they are interested in before they get to the store so that when they get there, they are typically more ready to buy. This has fueled a major movement of brands that originated as e-tailors to the physical brick and mortar space. For example, Warby Parker, which started as an online e-commerce site, now has 12 physical stores and is planning to expand to 20 more by the close of 2015. According to the State of Retail report, 85 percent of people that shop at Warby Parker want to touch, feel and try the glasses on in the store before they make a purchase.
Explore new avenues to interact with your shoppers in the store through seamless integration
How can you integrate their digital savvyness with your store experience?
Ultimately, the seamless integration of a personalized in-store experience with an engaging and interactive digital strategy is the premier way to win millennial brand love. E-commerce platforms like Amazon, are already in the process of re-imagining how they can live both on and offline to reach a more connected generation. The path to purchase is evolving, opening up new entry and consideration points that need to be recognized and activated. True engagement happens when there is seamless integration between the physical and digital world.