The retail industry is constantly changing. From the products being sold to the way in which they are distributed, retail is not what it used to be. Now in 2019, the demographics of who is shopping has drastically changed. Millennials surpassed the baby boomers as the largest generation alive today. According to Lexington Law, millennials are projected to have $1.4 trillion dollars in purchasing power by 2020. With such a dramatic change in demographics, it is essential to understand how to appeal to millennials and adapt accordingly:

1. The Need for Omnichannel

         Now more than ever, the average millennial shopper uses different platforms of shopping and research before making their final purchase. Millennial shoppers have been categorized as very price conscientious and are willing to shop until they find the best price possible for them. Millennials often will research what products a store has to offer online, but then will go in stores to try on or feel the physical product in person. And even though millennials are categorized as being tech-savvy, they still do in fact prefer shopping in stores. With this in mind, retail stores need to provide a smooth omnichannel retail system that allows their customers to have a fluid shopping experience both online and within the physical retail store with consistent prices and products.

2.  Rise of Social Media

         On average, millennials spend about 27 hours a week consuming media- whether that be through social media platforms, television, or radio (Nielsen). Social media has led to an increase in impulse spending for the millennial age group. “57% of millennials reported making unplanned purchases because of what they saw on social media” (cnbc). Furthermore, many millennials are starting to make purchases through social media platforms. Retailers need to not only make a presence on social media but also make it easier to buy products through various platforms in order to remain competitive.

3.  The Age of Technology

        The world is becoming more automated and new products are constantly being created. Millennials love this. New technologies have made shopping more efficient and effective. Online, retail stores like Raybanz have created a technology that allows customers to see what a pair of sunglasses looks like on them using the camera on their phone. Furthermore, in-store self-checkout has become increasingly preferred. By making the shopping experience more seamless, millennials are able to get exactly what they want in the easiest way possible.

4. Creating a Community

         The most drastic change between the millennial shoppers compared to other demographic groups is there desire to feel a part of something. Millennials are more likely to be loyal to a brand if they feel like they are a part of a community. Making a retail store an inclusive environment is essential in appealing to the millennial shopper in today’s world. Simple offers like creating a reward system makes shoppers feel more connected and willing to spend money at a specific store. It is no longer about just selling a product, it is more about creating a relationship with the customer and making them feel like they are a part of something more than just a brand name, but a community.

The retail stores that have been able to remain competitive are the ones that have successfully implemented all the above. An example of a successful store among millennials is Nike. They have successfully created a fluid omnichannel shopping experience by offering products online and available to pick up in stores. Furthermore, their most successful ‘Just Do It’ campaign constantly is updated with new up and coming athletes. Nike tries to showcase a variety of athletes to promote inclusivity. These promotions not only raise more awareness for the brand but also help create a feeling of community. Nike recently opened new innovative flagship stores in New York City that has transformed the shopping experience. Customers can scan mannequins in stores to receive information on what they are wearing and available sizes through the Nike Plus app, a membership program (nike). The membership program allows customers to easily gain information about products in the store without having to ask for assistance. Not only does the app make the shopping experience more efficient, it also helps create customer loyalty. Nike is so successful with millennial shoppers because they have been able to remain current and inclusive among their customers.

With millennials becoming the predominant group of people living today, retailers need to adapt new practices to appeal to them. Having fluid omnichannel platforms, an active social media presence, innovative technology, and an inclusive environment within a store will successfully attract the now largest demographic group of people into retail stores. With millennials having such a powerful purchasing power, the world is changing- and retail stores should too.

Julia Yanowitz, 2019 Summer Intern

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