What millennials really want from retailers
As millennials come of age, they're an increasingly important demographic for the retail industry.
Although analysts use different starting points for the generation, most people generally regard millennials as the group currently ranging from late teens to early thirties.
According to Venkatesh Bala, chief economist and director of the Economic Center of Excellence of the Cambridge Group, in an article for Quartz, this group encompasses up to 80 million people in the U.S., spends around $600 billion annually and could account for $1.4 trillion in commerce by 2020.
Therefore, merchants have a vested interest in understanding this demographic and its retail customer trends.
Information drives millennials
Much has been said about the technology habits of this age group, inspiring retailers to focus on mobile and ecommerce strategies.
However, the real takeaway is that millennials want more information, are good at finding it and use it when making decisions.
Millennials are resourceful at price-checking and comparison shopping, Bala emphasized - they know how to use sites like Hukkster.com and have more options at their fingertips than ever before.
For that reason, it's important for merchants to consider their online presence.
With or without ecommerce software, retailers can take advantage of the Web by making sure millennials can find their information.
Staying on top of competitive pricing is crucial for marketing to this generation, which tends to be thrifty.
Growing up in a recession has proven difficult for the age group as they transition to adulthood.
Pew revealed that millennials are underemployed and many are living at home with their parents.
CNBC remarked that millennials are still catching up from the slow start that defined their entrance into the job market.
Consequently, it's important for retailers to understand more specifically what these consumers need and how they're balancing their budgets.
In-store experiences and engagement
According to research by Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International, millennials prefer to buy certain products in stores, including apparel, footwear, home goods, furniture and jewelry.
They might still check information online before making a purchase, but they want the physical store experience for these items.
Some merchants are catering their in-store experience to these younger consumers through strategies like "pop-up" retail stores or modern retail technology, Bala explained.
He noted that Nordstrom has crafted a more edgy, youthful image by using mobile POS systems and offering brands that are relevant to millennials.
Overall, millennials want convenience, options and engagement.
Omnichannel marketing is a useful approach because it engages younger consumers and leaves them with both consistency and options.
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