According to Accenture, millennials are expected to spend approximately $600 billion annually. This is a significant market, one that retailers must ensure they are part of. Yet millennial shoppers are a unique breed with very specific preferences, often leaving many retailers scratching their heads as they explore new engagement methods. Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International recently completed a survey around millennial shopping preferences with the goal of identifying where this knowledge gap exists and, in turn, helping retailers more effectively identify ways to attract and engage millennial shoppers. Based on the data, Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International identified the top five myths retailers believe and put them to the test: are they true or just a myth?
Click through for the top five myths retailers believe about millennial shoppers, and find out whether or not they stand up to the results of a survey conducted by Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International.
Myth #1: Retailers will always market differently to various shopper demographics.
BUSTED — In the survey, there was an even 50/50 split between those retailers that choose to market differently to various demographic segments, and those that don’t. And though we can’t speak to the success of any targeted efforts as they relate to driving new traffic to a site or into a store, an interesting point worth noting is that 68 percent of consumers say they view retailer engagement as only somewhat important or they’re neutral toward it.
Myth #2: Every millennial wants to use mobile devices, and looks for loyalty and rewards programs.
BUSTED — Not all millennials are created equal, but many of them are information-seeking shoppers. This group tends to gather more information on products before making decisions than any other demographic; of the respondents, 60 percent said they do their pre-purchase research through retailer websites, 57 percent said they turn to Amazon and 55 percent use word of mouth. Needless to say, online research played a major role in shopping decisions this holiday season.
Myth #3: If you offer a discount, they will come.
TRUE, to a point — Almost 50 percent of consumer respondents reported they’d be willing to go to a retailer location to use a coupon if it offered at least a 20 percent discount, while 17 percent said they’d appreciate any discount as an incentive to walk in the door. And perhaps a very interesting note for retailers: 63 percent of consumer respondents said they’d be more likely to “check in” on various social channels if they were to get a coupon or discount for doing so. This could open the door to a number of exciting new ways for merchants to engage with new and existing customers.
An additional point: Loyalty and rewards do seem to play a role in attracting and engaging both new and prospective customers. However, more than 50 percent of retailers reported not offering any loyalty program, and only around 8 percent who do use an integrated loyalty program that applies across all purchasing mediums (online, in-store and via mobile).
And let’s not forget about the importance of having items in stock — 85 percent of respondents said the ability buy an item in real time (i.e., it’s in stock) will impact where they make their purchase. Being able to walk into a store and buy what they want, when they want it, can dictate where a purchase is made; it’s not necessarily based entirely on the customer experience.
Myth #4: Retailers are way behind where they should be when it comes to delivering a seamless, omni-channel experience.
BUSTED — Believe it or not, 53 percent of consumers say their shopping experiences are seamless across channels with their favorite retailer, though they do admit that retailer sites are often lacking in extensive functionality. This is aligned with the retailer perspective, since 45 percent of them believe their customers have a seamless shopping experience, regardless of where they make their final purchase (in-store vs. online).
But despite the appearance of a seamless experience, it’s worth noting that mobile strategy is still very young in the market. For instance, only 27 percent offer mobile coupons and nearly 90 percent of retailers don’t offer any mobile payment options to their customers. It’s possible that consumers and merchants have yet to realize what a truly seamless shopping experience looks like — largely because none really exist quite yet.
Myth #5: No one uses cash anymore — everything is done on cards.
TRUE — 68 percent of consumer respondents reported using credit or debit cards primarily, but 25 percent admit that their payment methods vary between paper (cash, coupons) and plastic (debit, credit).