Millennials. That sought-after breed of shopper that holds the spending power of the future. As retailers, we know them, we love them; we want them to love us too.
The great news is that 82% of millennials still prefer shopping in brick and mortar stores, according to Trendsource’s recent report. So we must be doing something right.
But to really capture and engage that market, we cannot ignore the colossal impact that eCommerce has on their in-store purchasing decisions. We cannot simply look at these new stats and stand back and rub our hands in glee.
Instead, we need to ask: How does online shopping affect a millennial’s in-store shopping experience? And how can we adapt to enhance this?
Don’t let your shoppers know more than you
This is the single biggest learning to get our heads around. In an age of knowledge-on-demand, the overwhelming odds are that your customer has already done their research before stepping foot in your store.
Millennials have looked on your website and social channels. They’ve read reviews, and researched pricing and competitors. They know what’s trending, and what they’re intending on spending their hard-earned cash on.
After looking online, millennials are then choosing to visit your store for the experience and immediate gratification. And that experience is directly affected by the knowledge and training that your store associates have.
Put simply- you can’t risk your shoppers having more product knowledge than your store associates. This is particularly pertinent in sectors such as electronics and home improvements. Which brings us on to our next point:
Customer service: Creating the best shopping experience
Did you know that only 34% of shoppers desire advice or assistance from associates in fashion? As opposed to 62% in household goods and 70% in electronics.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to customer interaction in retail. Equipped with a wealth of research and information, the millennial shopper now only requires advice from your store associates in certain departments and situations. Your associates need to be trained on this, and learn when to approach your shoppers and when to hold back, as too much or too little interaction will negatively affect the shopping experience.
Indeed, when shoppers do require your assistance in-store, it is more than likely to do with their drive for immediacy.
Where am I? How immediacy drives sales
The single biggest driver of Millennials to in-store shopping is immediate gratification. That is, the ability to find, try and buy what they are looking for as seamlessly as possible, without having to wait for poorly informed staff or online delivery times.
This drives a whopping 88% of shoppers in household goods, 85% in electronics and 83% in fashion to go in-store.
Your associates need to know your store inside out and backwards. They need to be able to track down products and availability quickly to give your shoppers the best experience possible. Alongside product and department knowledge, this needs to be an essential part of your onboarding and training.
Building a brand experience
Ultimately, 82% of shoppers prefer to shop in-store because of your overall brand experience. This will always be the brick and mortar store’s secret weapon against eCommerce. And the importance of this brand experience is increasingly being recognised as eCommerce giants such as Amazon start to launch physical stores. (A very exciting development which I’ll discuss in a future article)
Knowledge is central to this brand experience. Millennials are more clued up about your brand and product offering than ever before. Your store associates need to be too.
But product knowledge isn’t enough. Your associates need to be trained on the intricacies of how to behave and interact with your shoppers. They need to know your floor space and stock availability. And they need to know your brand values and everything that you represent.
Your employees are the walking, breathing representations of your brand. They are the last barrier between your customers and their increasing spending power. And ultimately, their knowledge and training are what will keep millennials coming back for more.