Millennials have been credited with upending entire industries, and retail is no exception. Here's what retailers need to know about attracting and retaining consumers from a maturing generation of digital shoppers.
No. 1: Retailers Must Be Digital and Corporeal
The concept of omnichannel is simple—be where your customers are, whether that's online or at a brick-and-mortar location. But bridging the gap between digital and physical is easier said than done. Retailers that figure it out will be rewarded, however. A September 2018 poll conducted by Roth Capital Partners found that nearly two-thirds of US millennials used some mix of digital and in-store to research and then make a purchase. Similarly, research from Alliance Data revealed that more than half of millennials surveyed also used a mix of online and in-store channels to shop for products across a wide variety of categories, including clothing, beauty items and even furniture.
No. 2: They're Open to Social Commerce
While the idea of buying something on Instagram might be off-putting to older generations, the same can't be said for millennials. According to a Bizrate Insights survey conducted for eMarketer in December 2018, 35% of millennials made a purchase on social media. And nearly 30% said they hadn't done so, but were open to the idea. Those figures were higher for the 18- to 34-year-old group than older cohorts. The takeaway? Retailers should ensure that their social media strategies don't ignore the "buy" button.
No. 3: Don't Forget About Email!
Email might not be flashy, but it remains a workhorse of digital marketing that delivers results. Data shows that it also serves as a security blanket for millennials making online purchases. A November 2018 survey of US digital shoppers found that 62.4% of those ages 18 to 24 had experienced a moment of panic after failing to immediately receive a purchase confirmation by email. That figure was higher than any other age group. Retailers can spare younger shoppers some stress by ensuring that emails arrive quickly after an online transaction.