How retailers can utilise engagement strategies to target 'digitally native' millennials. 

Millennials are the most talked about generation since the baby boomers, so much so that the government had to publish a 50 page guide on millennials for our MPs. The House of Commons describes ‘millennials’ as those currently aged between 25-34 (although others would argue a different age range), so will have experienced some or all of their teenage or young adult life in the 21st century. The dates are important as it means that millennials are the first generation to have grown up with such technological advances as the internet and smartphones, and are therefore ‘digitally native’.

With a new generation and new technology comes increasing changes in spending habits which means that retailers have to adapt in order to thrive. Here’s 4 things that Retailers can look at in order to make their brand more attractive to the millennial generation.

1. Showrooming

According to a recent Accenture survey, 41% of millennials said they were ‘showrooming’, a practice of examining items in a store to then shop online to find the item at its lowest price, more this year than before. My colleague, Rich Ellis, wrote an article about the‘Bricks & Clicks’ strategy for Retailers which relates very closely to ‘showrooming’. Like it or not, the practice is easier than ever due to the prevalence of mobile phones, 4g reception or in-store WiFi so retailers should look to embrace it.

We’re seeing an increasing trend of stores becoming more of a ‘shopping experience’. Why not be radical? Offer in-store expert advice, remove the vast and expensive stock rooms and instead offer same-day delivery from an off-site warehouse.

2. Webrooming

Webrooming’ is a similar yet almost exactly opposite practice to ‘showrooming’ - the art of researching a product and its prices online before travelling to a store for final inspection and to purchase.

A report from 2014 shows the reasons stated for Webrooming:

  • 47% don’t want to pay for shipping
  • 23% didn’t want to wait for the product to be delivered
  • 46% like to go to the store to touch or feel the product before purchase
  • 36% will ask the store to match a price they found online

Given this increasing practice, omni-channel retailers need to ensure their offline and online shopfronts are integrated completely; shoppers should be able to check stock volumes, reserve items for collection and return items in-store as a given. Furthermore, 88% of millennials would consider reserving an item online for in-store collection if it meant saving £10 on a £50 purchase so multichannel retailers should be incentivising this to save on costly deliveries and potential missed sales.

3. Millennials like to be courted by brands

Accenture found that 95% of millennials want their brands to actively court them, and coupons sent via email or their homes have the most influence on them. By utilising a social media presence and big data to understand their customers, retailers can expand their targeted marketing efforts in order to provide attractive, personalised offers to their millennial customers.

4. Develop a socially conscious brand

75% of millennials said that it’s either fairly or very important for a company to give back to society instead of just making a profit, and more than 90% would switch brands to one associated with a good cause. Given the common link between millennials and social media, and the ease of using the platforms to highlight a company’s ethics, developing a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) policy should be a key part of what a retailer sets out to achieve. One example of this impact is that Google topped the global CSR RepTrak rankings for 4 years in a row due to its commitment to good causes, and 20% of millennials say they want to work at Google.

About the Author...

Rich heads Answer Digital Retail, delivering world class solutions to clients including Costcutter Supermarkets Group, FCUK, Arcadia and Ramsden International. Richard has a passion for retail and the transformational impact technology is having on customer experiences.