Millennials’ Impact on Retail

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

The retail industry is notoriously competitive, and consumers’ tastes are constantly evolving. A challenge for retailers will be the millennial generation, which is coming of age and on the verge of becoming the dominant demographic in terms of spending. In recent decades, the internet disrupted the retail industry. The rise of the millennial generation is another important inflection point, creating a number of risks and opportunities. Before you can sell to them, you have to understand the impact of this generation. Millennials are defined as being born between the early 1980s and late 1990s. As of the Census of Population conducted by the Canadian Government in 2015, they are now the largest generation. Older millennials are starting to have babies and buying homes. Essentially, the future of businesses all over Canada will depend on whether they can successfully appeal to this generation.

Customer Loyalty

The millennial shopping experience begins digitally, so having an online presence is necessary. Marketing for millennials begins over social media, and millennials are more likely to be interested in your product if friends have posted about it. Therefore, it should be a priority to build a social media following to share information about promotions and new products and regularly engage with this audience. Millennials who engage with you over social media are more likely to be be customers. Once, they are in the store, you can offer incentives or discounts to customers who follow your social media accounts or share their purchases online. This will get their friends interested in your store and products. Until recently, economic activity has been driven by baby boomers and Generation X, so retailers have focused on these groups. These generations were more concerned with the quality and value of a product. Millennials are much more socially conscious. Over 70% of millennials indicated that they’re more likely to buy from a company that’s associated with a charitable cause, even if it means paying a higher price. Retailers should make their mission and social causes clear to create deeper connections with millennial customers who want to see their purchases supporting something more meaningful.

Shopping Experience

Millennials are looking for a seamless shopping experience that is trendy and hip. Think of an Apple store. They’re used to instant gratification and short attention spans. Retailers can structure the shopping experience by making checkout a quick and easy process. The store can be structured to allow for browsing and taking pictures. Millennials run their lives through their phones, so your your physical store should let them buy merchandise with a smartphone wallet. Investing in technology can also personalize the shopping experience. For example, customers can see what purchases they have made recently and other items they may have shown interest in online or on social media. These personal touches are likely to convert casual shoppers into loyal customers. You should also understand that millennials are likely to have done research on your brand and products before they set foot in your store. This makes it necessary that your employees are equipped to handle detailed and specific questions about your items in stock. Millennials are already creating ripple effects through the economy with their buying habits. Rather than focusing on price or quality, millennials are more brand-conscious and want their purchases to reflect their identities. Due to the growing economic power of their generation, appealing to millennials is a matter of survival for retailers.

References & Resources

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