Retailers should re-assess 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 data and analytics company GlobalData.
Pressed for time, millennial consumers look for convenience and flexibility. They expect a seamless omnichannel experience and look to combine online shopping, mobile apps and visits to physical stores.
While millennials use eCommerce platforms and apps to a greater extent than previous generations, more than half of their purchases still take place in bricks-and-mortar stores, reveals GlobalData.
Millennials, however, need an incentive to visit stores, such as an entertaining environment, strong brands that they can identify themselves with, and recreational facilities like in-store cafes or experiences in form of memorable product demonstrations and trials.
As millennials have not completely ditched visiting bricks-and-mortar stores, retailers need to deploy analytics to align their store layouts, systems and operational processes in line with millennials’ digital maturity and preferences.
Andreas Olah, Digital Retail Analyst at GlobalData said, “retailers also need to work on their social media strategies and integrate these with loyalty programs, customer service functions, and various mobile apps, from style advisors and games to third-party apps that provide voucher schemes. They look to cooperate with strong brands that are popular with millennials.”
Millennials and post-millennials primarily use mobile devices including smartphones and tablets, besides wearables such as smart watches and augmented reality devices to interact with retailers and purchase products. Since they use these devices at home, 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, says GlobalData.
Retailers can also use various geo-fencing and tracking tools such as Light Fidelity (Li-Fi), which detects shoppers’ location by sending light signals to their smartphones’ camera, in addition to more traditional ways like relying on Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile phone providers’ data.
Andreas added, “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.”