Millennials are the 20th century’s last generation and first truly digital ones. They view the world through a uniquely digital lens and have many similarities with their predecessors – The baby boomers and Generation X. Despite the similarities, marketers are finding it difficult to understand this demographic.
Similarly, over the past few years, retailers are trying to predict the future. Spending time and resources focusing on competitors while losing focus on customers, thus widening the digital divide, giving online retailers a competitive advantage. Retailers must make sure they address the “Millennial mindset”. The millennials who have historically displayed lower levels of digital influence have started to embrace newer digital features and functions available in the market. This continuum of adoption can be challenging, and retailers will have to introduce more unique functionalities based on latest technologies, thereby enhancing the customer experience.
“Retail is a customer business. You’re trying to take care of the customer- solve something for the customer. And there’s no way to learn that in the classroom or in the corner office, or away from the customer. You’ve got to be in front of the customer”Erik Nordstorm, President – Nordstorm Direct
The digital consumers desire to search for information about a specific product or product category rather than to receive information. Retailers should identify the steps in the shopper journey where consumers are more likely to be inspired and then deliver the inspiration through the consumer’s preferred channels of engagement.
Millennials are savvy online customers, but that doesn’t mean they have less preference over the brick-and-mortar venues. In research conducted by Accenture, the digital generation actually prefers visiting stores. They want to touch it, they want to smell it, they want to pick it up. The retailers need to address this omniscient group by providing an effortless transition from smartphones to a personal computer to physical store in their quest for the best products and services.
They demand a customer-centric shopping experience, tailored to their wants and treated as a valued customer. This includes millennial customers seeking more personalized, targeted promotions and discounts as the price for their loyalty, rather than generic promotions.
“With the advent of the internet, customers are able to compare prices easily and this has raised the importance of pricing among the 4Ps. That being said, branding is still crucial. Customers will not necessarily go for the cheapest brand. However, they are more than likely to buy their preferred brand from the retailer offering the lowest price.”Philip Kotler, Father of modern marketing
Millennials seek relevancy, they appreciate when brands and retailers can make ads and social media relevant to them. To drive sales, retailers should refocus on innovating the product offerings and enhancing the customer experience.
Research by Deloitte shows in-store signage is far more powerful than social media and other online efforts by marketers to drive online traffic. Retailers need to leverage various digital touchpoints at critical moments that matter for any given category to propel the consumer towards the purchase before they lose motivation.
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