Understanding the consumer and their preferences is vital in delivering outstanding sales and service. Especially with the drastic changes in the retail sector over the past decade, it is important for retailers and salespeople to adapt their strategies to meet the expectations of consumers.
One specific generation, Millennials, have had a tremendous impact on the retail sector already. Their buying power will only increase, as they are expected to make up one-third of all retail spending by 2020. The Millennial generation, born roughly between 1980 and 2000, have unique buying tendencies that differentiate them from other generations. Although it is important for retailers and salespeople to understand all generational cohorts, understanding Millennial consumers might be the key to improving future retail sales.
Even though Millennials are the first truly digital generation, they actually prefer in-store purchases to online. In fact, “81% of Millennials’ retail spending occurs in brick and mortar stores and 57% of Millennial in-store shoppers make a purchase” (Buxton Customer Analytics). Compared to other generations, Millennials have notably unique expectations and influences that impact how they engage in this retail process. It is important for retailers and salespeople to understand these differences in order to provide the best possible customer experience and ultimately profit from it.
At CPM we have highlighted the unique attitudes and behaviours of Millennial consumers and how to best engage with them in-store:
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Growing up in a technological revolution, Millennials are constantly immersed in technology and social media. Not only do Millennials use social media to share their product and purchase experience, but they also rely on the reviews and information from social media and apps to influence their purchase decision. In fact, 62% of Irish Millennials said they use social media to inspire purchase decisions. According to the 2018 PWC Retail Consumer Report, Irish Millennials, “…are more likely to make purchases when retailers actively engage on social media with this age grouping.” Therefore, it is important for retailers and brands to incorporate social media platforms in order increase brand awareness and promote customer loyalty. A strong social media presence can have a positive effect on Millennials’ purchase decisions.
Millennial social media engagement has shifted toward sites and applications that are photo and video-based such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and YouTube (Fashion United 2018); therefore, retailers should utilise these platforms to their fullest potential to attract and maintain the Millennial consumer. Make sure your social media presence is unique, interactive and consistent to create a positive brand experience for your customer.
Unique In-Store Experience
Millennials crave a unique and personalised purchase experience. In order to capture the attention and loyalty of this generation of consumers, it is crucial for retail salespeople to create an in-store experience that relates to customers on a personal level. Millennials want to feel important and emotionally connected throughout their purchase experience. They want to feel unique as a customer and they search for unique experiences and products.
Make your products and POS fresh and new; Millennials are always searching for a unique and personalised purchase experience. In fact, Millennials tend to prefer the experience over the item itself. Create a purchase experience that resonates with customers and shows your brand values. Pop-up spaces and high impact in-store merchandising are two innovative ways to attract the Millennial consumer. It is key for retailers and brands alike to create authentic in-store experiences to captivate the Millennial generation in a world of distractions, noise and competition.
Speed, Convenience, Flexibility
Another important aspect of the purchase experience for Millennials is speed, convenience and flexibility. Millennials expect retail experiences to be quick and easy, catering to their fast-paced world of instant gratification. It is important for Millennials to have quality information and convenient resources to make their purchase decision seamless and speedy. This can build a positive purchase experience that might prompt customers to engage with that product or brand again.
Simple changes to payment experiences and customer service can incentivise a purchase for Millennial consumers. Self-checkouts and digital payment technologies attract Millennials because they make the process speedy and effortless. Millennials expect systems to be most convenient for them, so it is important for retailers to understand this and change their methods accordingly to attract and keep this important generation of consumers.
At CPM we are always researching and analysing consumer behaviour and preferences to make sure we deliver top-quality sales. If you are looking for new and better ways to engage with your customers no matter their generational cohort, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 01 7080 300.