The Millennial Online Shopping Myth

When you imagine your target millennial customer, most likely you picture her lounging on her couch or in a trendy coffee shop, browsing your online store from her iPhone. Surprisingly, that’s not how your millennial customers typically shop. Recent research shows that millennials want retailers to provide online experiences in-store, bridging the gap between bricks and clicks.

Appeal of In-Store Shopping

The over 83.1 million millennials (ages 21 to 33) in the US seek a balanced shopping experience, combining the benefits of online and in-store shopping. Millennials shop in-store for many reasons, including:

  • No shipping costs
  • Easy returns
  • Store ambience
  • Instant gratification (no waiting for shipping)
  • Community experience – interacting with friends and getting their opinions
  • Trial – seeing, touching, trying on clothes, trying out products

Attracting Millennials to Your Store

When you provide a positive shopping experience to a millennial shopper, you will have a loyal new customer who shares her experience with friends and social media. Appealing to the millennial customer means giving them a customized experience that is unique to your brand and keeping convenience top-of-mind.

  • Provide free Wi-Fi. Use it to provide faster checkout for VIP customers or access to special gifts, deals or coupons that are unique to that customer.
  • Millennials are more loyal to retailers who follow-up with communications after a shopping trip.
    • Ask how they want to receive communications and honor those requests.
    • Tailor communications to their personal shopping history.
  • Many millennials prioritize wellness and mindfulness. A calm, relaxing store ambience attracts this group and keeps them in-store longer. Some ways to achieve a peaceful in-store settling include:
    • Curate the space. Keep shelves uncluttered and clean.
    • Reduce the number of displays and racks.
    • Create more space between displays.
    • Use soothing, neutral colors.
    • Provide in-store music or sounds that are natural and soothing.
    • Create a resting space with a comfortable seating area.
  • While millennials seek a peaceful setting, they continue to prioritize connectivity and convenience. Be sure charging stations and free Wi-Fi are easily accessible as well.

Millennials are not online shopping loyalists. They want a balance of bricks and clicks. They search out the best of both worlds. They combine what makes online shopping convenient with the convenience factors associated with shopping in-store. They want to feel understood and valued by receiving personalized service and tailored communications.  They desire a shopping experience that they can share with friends, connecting both technologically and in-person. Instead of picturing your millennial customer ordering from your website while lounging at a café, create an customized experience that attracts them to your in-store location and keeps them coming back for more.

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