Recalibrate your approach to reach millennials

Retailers should reassess their business strategy and technological prowess by benchmarking their store layouts, systems and processes against shopping preferences of millennials and post-millennials, who are going to redefine the future of retail, says leading data and analytics company GlobalData.

Pressed for time, millennial consumers look for convenience and flexibility, says GlobalData. They expect a seamless omnichannel experience and look to combine online shopping, mobile apps and visits to physical stores.

While millennials use e-commerce platforms and apps to a greater extent than previous generations, more than half of their purchases still take place in bricks-and-mortar stores, the company says.

Millennials, however, need an incentive to visit stores, such as an entertaining environment, strong brands that they can identify with, and recreational facilities such as in-store cafes or experiences in the form of memorable product demonstrations and trials.

As millennials have not completely ditched visiting bricks-and-mortar stores, the company says retailers need to deploy analytics to align their store layouts, systems and operational processes in line with millennials’ digital maturity and preferences.

Global Data Digital Retail Analyst Andreas Olah says retailers also need to work on their social-media strategies and integrate these with loyalty programs, customer service functions and various mobile apps.

He says millennials and post-millennials primarily use mobile devices including smartphones and tablets beside wearables such as smart watches and augmented-reality devices to interact with retailers and buy products. Since they use these devices at home, at work, on the bus and when visiting physical stores, retailers need to detect their location and provide store- or aisle-specific content and notifications to encourage interaction and purchases.

GlobalData says retailers can also use various geo-fencing and tracking tools such as light fidelity (li-fi), which detects a shopper’s location by sending light signals to their smartphone camera, as well as more traditional ways such as relying on wi-fi hotspots and mobile-phone providers’ data.

“While some millennials may object to being tracked and value data protection, the majority are happy to share at least some data if they get something valuable in return, such as greater personalisation, more convenient wayfinding, special offers, and the ability to complete multi-channel purchasing journeys in stores,” Mr Olah said.

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