A lesson in store engagement from Millennials and Generation Z

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There’s a reason every retail event or conference these days talks about Millennials and Gen Z – and that is because their shopping patterns are so different to generations before.

People from these demographics grew up in a digital age so they expect their store experiences to closely align with what is offered online. They shop in stores for the experience and want their communication with brands to be a personal.

Below are some intriguing behaviours typically associated with the younger generation, which offer some pointers on what technology retailers should use when they visit stores. It’s worth a quick look to help see things from their perspective.

Store as an exploration station

Generation Z and Millennials see the store as an exploration station and a social meeting point.

They want the traditional store to feel connected with their online experiences, and they are the demographics most keen for retailers to ensure there is consistency between the stock, pricing and availability across channels. They also want to order online when in the physical retail environment.

In fact, there’s a very real possibility that they won’t even consider retailers operate in channels. They see a retail brand as just that, a brand – and not an array of separate business functions.

To serve them in the most suitable manner, technologies to make the store feel relevant are required. The tech needs to be inspiring and cutting edge, such as interactive digital signage and video walls, intelligent audio/lighting systems, virtual shelves and connected sensors.

Shoppers want retailers to know them

So much has been discussed about personalisation in retail, and it is certainly the direction of travel brands need to take to engage and convert with Millennials and Gen Z.

Maybe it’s something to do with them being part of Amazon and Asos era. Both companies have made personalisation a key part of their strategies, while taking market share and turning the retail sector on its head over the last decade.

Much of what we’re talking about here is underlined in the Grassfish market report, The Generation Game: a demographic snapshot of what digital consumers want from the store. Personalisation certainly receives a lot of attention.

Younger shoppers are most keen for bricks-and-mortar encounters to be personalised, with 56% of 16- to 29-year-olds expressing a desire for retailers to recognise their individual value. It’s a two-way street for these shoppers – they want something back for giving their custom, and they want to feel part of a club.

Some 66% of under-45s believe that digital interaction is the best way to tailor in-store encounters, highlighting the demand for technology to aid the personalisation process.

Playing the game

Teens and 20-somethings from across the UK and Germany are the most interested in gamification technologies of all the demographics surveyed in the Grassfish report.

It seems there is more of a demand from the young for an entertaining and inspiring experience in a store, as opposed to the functional interactions favoured by the older shopper. Indeed, not a single respondent aged 60+ suggested they were in favour of a gamified shopping journey.

When visiting a retail event or company meeting, it is well worth switching on to the sessions and information about the Millennial shopper – what they want from the store is set to shape many business decisions for the decades ahead.

Take a look at our market report, The Generation Game, for your lesson in store engagement with the younger shopper

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