As the holiday shopping season approaches, retailers must be able to satisfy Millennial consumers who, more than ever, want to shop on their terms and expect every step in the journey to be a seamless one, whether they are online, shopping in a store or using their phones, according to ‘Holiday 2013 Retail Shopping Trends’.
The list of consumer expectations of how they should be able to shop, from finding the same prices and promotions in a store as they do online, to buying online and returning to a store, is getting longer every day. Increasingly, holiday season winners will be defined by their ability to deliver a seamless experience to the consumer. Here is what Adrian W., of South Glastonbury, Connecticut, said about holiday shopping at the Westfarms Mall, in Hartford, via Yelp’s on-line customer comments board, ‘My go-to nice mall. I love the following stores for both idea browsing and purchasing: Williams Sonoma, Renovation Hardware, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Cole Haan , Coach, Brookstone, Swarovski (yay sparklies!!), and Ann Taylor Loft. I always park at the Nordstroms parking lot. It makes it really easy to get in and out of the mall and I never forget where I've parked. As there's no food court, I usually hit the Burger King to get fries for the kids. I'd love to try the Rainforest Cafe, but I think my kids need to be a little older for that one. There's no play-pit for the kiddies. There are, however, absolutely spectacular family bathrooms and changing areas. I've been shopping here for years and have the following tidbit to offer: When you come for pictures with Santa, come in November when he sets up shop. Once December rolls around you will be waiting in line for an hour plus no matter what time of day you show up. Enjoy the fanciest mall in Hartford County!’
While most people will continue to use their PC to make online purchases, there is an increase in the use of tablet and smartphones to make purchases. Though with the cost-conscious shoppers, they’ll primarily be shopping at discount stores and looking for discounts upwards of 30% throughout the season, the data from the survey concluded.
Online shopping has become a huge force in the retail industry and the use of smart phones has changed the way Millennials shop. Now, Millennials want to find a good deal online, purchase the product in the store and scan their coupon on their phone at check out. This integration of online mobile shopping and retail stores has lead to a new generation of shoppers who value a shopping experience that can be accessed through a variety of different channels.
One of the biggest concerns of the retail industry is that Millennials no longer have strong loyalties to one particular brand. However, dependent on the shopping experience, Millennials are still very prone to developing loyal relationships with retail providers. Millennial customers value a shopping experience that is tailored specifically to them. They want to walk into a store and be asked how they are doing and have their needs and wants met immediately. Personalized coupons and emails are also powerful ways Millennials feel connected to a retail brand.
Based on these shopping trends, ‘How the Retail Industry Will Engage Millennials this Holiday Season’ makes three predictions for this upcoming holiday season:
- Retailers that effectively use Pinterest to tie pre-shopping to in-store shopping will drive incremental purchases and Millennial sharing.
- Idea Brands that have a purpose will continue to take share.
- Big Box Retailers like Target will start to capture Millennials who have had young children, as they are more time pressed and can not shop across as many specialty retailers as others in their peer group.
Another key component to making this coming holiday season a success for retailers is to increase brand awareness among Millennials. To do this, retailers need to remember three simple things Millennials want good bargains, to be treated well and to have a seamless shopping experience. Keep in mind this experience is not limited to the brick and mortar retail store. It includes the experiences Millennials have before they arrive, while they are in the store and after they leave. The best retailers are integrating new technologies to make it all easier, faster and more enjoyable – right from their smart phone and computer.(‘How the Retail Industry Will Engage Millennials this Holiday Season’)
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