millennial - shoppingWith an estimated purchasing power of upwards of $200 billion, Millennials are the latest target of retail marketers today.  However, this generation is less likely to buy actual stuff and would rather spend their money on experiences. To address this challenge, retailers whose livelihoods depend on consumers purchasing their products, need to embed their shopping into broader experiences for their customers.

“Experience is an important part,” said Margie Bell, senior director of product management at NewStore. “A big part of engaging a consumer is making them feel a part of a community. So think about it as if I am an activewear brand,” she said. “It is about using the mobile app as a way of engaging them in community exercise classes, or providing them with health and fitness tips from recognized gurus. Anything that helps to give them a good experience to create that notion of becoming a trusted friend.”

Addressing this problem also requires retailers to remember that this is also the same generation which has grown up interacting with almost everyone and everything via digital platforms. This background influences the way they shop and to respond to this perspective retailers need to increase their omnichannel experience. According to Rodney Mason, GVP of Marketing at Blackhawk Engagement Solutions:

Millennials are savvy shoppers and many have come of age in a post-recession era; our research shows that this group routinely comparison shops on mobile to get the best value and shopping experience, but the market has not yet capitalized on those habits.

For a generation comfortable with technology, creating a seamless omnichannel experience is the way that retailers will draw them in. Some retailers have experimented with this through apps, beacon-based marketing and even mobile coupons but most efforts to lure millennials back into stores have been subpar at best, often failing in execution.

A common complaint among millennials is that they receive a mobile coupon and are eager to redeem it in-store only to be greeted by a retail associate that has no knowledge. So if retailers are serious about making omnichannel a strategy, then they must ensure that staff on the other end is properly trained or their entire strategy has failed. This will only alienate this generation of shoppers more. To be successful with an omnichannel approach, retailers must realize this and create a shopping experience that is uniform on all platforms, while still delivering a channel specific experience to align with the users’ expectations..

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