Millennial Shoppers Love Retail Personalization
In a day and age in which “automation” and “self-service” are terms often applied to retail sales, it’s eye opening to learn that millennials seem to prefer an in-person, brick and mortar experience, particularly because this is the first generation that is truly digital.
These young adults spend $600 billion in the United States, according to Accenture.
It’s therefore worthwhile for retailers to understand this group’s unique characteristics and requirements and tap into what they want from the stores they frequent.
1. Millennials come prepared and want sales associates to add value to their research
First, sales associates must offer value to the transaction.
While older shoppers may welcome a friendly sales pitch or having the associate function as a sounding board for potential purchases, millennials are looking for experts and answers to questions.
They’ll often have done their homework online, and having read reviews are coming in-store to “touch and feel” and discuss features and comparable options.
It doesn’t hurt if the retailer makes them feel a little special, as well.
For example, retailers can use intelligent appointment scheduling (IAS) combined with artificial intelligence (AI) to recognize a customer’s upcoming birthday and send a celebratory message in advance with coupons, gift suggestions – or a link to set up a wish list that can be shared with family members.
2. Millennials are on the go, so catch them when they're on their iPhone (which is always)
Second, millennials rely on mobile devices to compare prices.
While many retailers offer in-store promotions, having mobile scanning capabilities rather than printing out coupons is a must for this age group.
They are also active users of social media and will interact with a brand – but, once again, it should add real, tangible value to the shopper.
Accenture found that millennials view social media relationships with retailers as transactional, and a way to get deals.
Creating positive buzz, and becoming a topic of conversation with this group, is hard work.
3. Millennials expect every experience to be technologically inerrant
Third, millennials want a seamless, integrated experience more than other generations.
The transition from in-store visit to smartphone and back again must be frictionless.
In fact, the entire experience must be seamless: From research phase to delivery to possible return/exchange.
Retailers will need to partner with technology, data, analytics and process specialists to give millennial customers what they want in terms of service.
For instance, a third-party logistics provider can supply same-day delivery services for online purchases as well as a buy-online, pickup in-store program.
Scheduling solutions company TimeTrade conducted a survey and analyzed census data to conclude that retailers lost $150 billion in potential sales in 2016 by failing to provide shoppers with personalized service.
Most interesting is that millennials would pay up to 20% more for better, highly personalized retail experiences.
By investing in personalization, retailers will not only appeal to millennial customers, but they’ll also open the door to others as they become more comfortable with omnichannel retail.
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