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Report: Millennials least influenced by retail advertising, most active tech adopters

The bar is getting higher for retailers, and most of them won’t clear it.

It may be that different generations have always shopped differently. However, new research from Euclid shows that millennials stand apart from earlier generations in their shopping habits and use of technology.

The new Euclid report (registration required), based on a survey of 1,500 US consumers in March, is called “The Store of the Past Meets The Shopper of the Future.” It argues that Gen Xers and Baby Boomers are more closely aligned with one another than either group is with millennials. Overall, millennials are much more inclined to use technology throughout their purchase journey and have different expectations of retail experiences, including in-store.

Use of buy online pick-up in store

Source: “The Store of the Past Meets The Shopper of the Future,” Euclid (2018)

Millennials appear to be less focused on or impressed by basic retail competencies than Boomers and Gen Xers, who emphasized checkout wait times, inventory availability and simple returns as their top priorities for retailers. Though somewhat ambiguous, the report suggests that these are baseline or “bare minimum” considerations for millennials:

Compared to their other generational counterparts, Millennials don’t put a reasonable checkout time at the top of retail must-haves; just 34 percent indicated this was a focus for them, as compared to 59 percent of Baby Boomers and 42 percent of Gen Xers. They’re also not overly motivated by a reasonable return and exchange policy; 52 percent of Boomers named this a top priority versus approximately one-third of Millennials . . .

Euclid writes that millennials are more social, shopping more often with friends and family, than the other segments. In addition, millennials are more likely than the other groups to use multiple channels, including social media, to communicate with brands. And millennials were also much more likely to embrace virtual assistants and smart speakers as future shopping tools and communication channels than Boomers, for example, by a wide margin.

Millennials’ use of social channels to communicate with brands

Source: “The Store of the Past Meets The Shopper of the Future,” Euclid (2018)

Given this emphasis on technology, one might expect millennials would shun interaction with human sales associates. However, the survey found that “they’re more than twice as likely to say that interaction with knowledgeable sales staff influences their purchasing decisions.”

Boomers and Gen Xers were more inclined to respond to advertising or targeted promotions than millennials. But millennials appeared to be more tolerant of email marketing and less likely to unsubscribe at high volumes than the other groups.

The conclusions and recommendations of the report are relatively straightforward — but extremely challenging to execute:

  • Recognize and adjust to higher consumer expectations.
  • Understand how different customers approach technology, marketing and channels.
  • Tailor marketing outreach and in-store experiences accordingly.

Basically, retailers must master “the basics” of the in-store experience, must be able to respond to shoppers/customers through multiple channels and not take a one-size-fits-all approach to promotions and advertising. As a practical matter, only a small percentage of traditional retailers will actually be able to do this.

by Greg Sterling
source: Marekting Land