As a consumer group, millennials wield enormous power. An Accenture report estimates that by 2020, thirty percent of all U.S. retail sales — about $1.4 trillion dollars in annual spending — will come from millennial shoppers.
Every retailer wants a piece of that demographic. But millennials aren’t like consumers of generations past. They want a different shopping experience than older shopping demographics, and they respond to marketing in a different way. This is a constant source of headaches for retailers.
But it’s not a lost cause: While the selling points may be unique, there are easy-to-execute strategies brands can use to rope in the millennial crowd and build a presence among these consumers.
What Millennials Want
When thinking of the typical millennial shopper, it’s important to consider the world that molded their young minds. Most millennials under 30 years of age grew up in the constant presence of computers, whether at school, at home, or both. Many had access to the Internet when growing up. They came of age alongside social media, and graduated college to inherit smartphones.
The younger end of this spectrum may not even remember a time before Google, and might have been toting around smartphones since they were in high school. That access to technology fundamentally altered their engagement with the world. Now, retailers have to build shopping experiences with those consumers in mind.
And while it may be intimidating, such experiences are very possible. Millennials may be different from other generations, but they aren’t an enigma. They’re socially savvy shoppers who spurn conformity for custom-made products. They believe high-fashion and high-style should be accessible. More than anything, they want to be seen on the individual level.
This emphasis on individuality is a window of opportunity for retailers. As JCK points out, social media can be a great cornerstone for starting millennial engagement. Encouraging social sharing in stores, even by means of contests and promotions, turns millennials into engaged shoppers as well as brand advocates. JCK even recommends encouraging sales staff to offer to take photos when consumers are attempting selfies.
Other effective millennial strategies include a showroom setup, which uses stores to feature products and supplements that experience with online catalogs available through mobile devices. Retailers should take every opportunity to customize both their products and the overall experience: Assisted selling tools can help deliver a personalized experience by pulling up shopping histories, connecting to shoppers through mobile devices, and facilitating faster service.
Integrating mobile technology and creating interactive features, such as augmented reality, can be a big hit with millennials compared to other generations. They’re more tech-savvy and more connected to their phones, which will make them the earliest and most aggressive adopters of any mobile experience retailers provide.
And when all else fails, listen to feedback from shoppers. Start a conversation with your millennial audience, find out what they want, and make it happen. That won’t just build a better store — it will turn younger shoppers into loyal consumers.
Mad Mobile is the leading provider of mobile-first solutions for the world's top companies and retailers.
Looking for a technology partner who can deliver amazing mobile solutions across multiple mobile interfaces?