How Millennials Are Changing the Retail Economy

February 01, 2018

Millennials are a diverse group that does not adhere to the shopping patterns of the past. Retailers today have noticed that in order to remain profitable they must adapt to the habits of this young generation. Here are some of the ways the retail economy has transformed form the influence of millennials.

Millennials are enamored with technology, and because of this they are professionals at finding the best deals when shopping. They scour the internet to research prices and promotions offered across the web. They also expect the same bargains online and in-store. This belief, coupled with the spread of smartphone use, has led to an activity known as “showrooming”. This is when a shopper finds an item online but goes to a retailer to see it in-person. Retailers are now trying to adapt to this practice by plugging the ability to touch and see the actual products. They are trying new methods to entice shoppers to their stores like with branded music playlists and other in-store-only shopping experiences.

Millennials do not just use social media to talk about their lives, but also to share their acquisitions from shopping trips. The younger crowd likes to be engaged through social media, so retailers are trying to capitalize on this fact. They encourage people to post photos and reviews using hashtags to promote their stores. This satisfies millennials enjoyment of sharing information while also providing free advertising for brands. Stores are able to receive word of mouth marketing and reach a broader audience as well. Social media is also influencing products in stores. Nordstrom, for example, has been tracking online data to personalize customer experiences. The items that are pinned the most receive a label saying so, letting shoppers know what products are popular. Using this community feedback allows them to display merchandise that best aligns to the wants of the public.

This generation of shoppers also craves convenience. As millennials have grown, technology has made tremendous strides and they want to see continued improvement. The payment experience in particular is an area they wish to simplify. To keep millennial customers it is crucial to utilize self-checkout kiosks and breakthrough digital payment technologies. Their smartphone and other devices can now be used to make purchases, so they no longer have to rely on their wallets. This trend of focusing on user-friendly systems is now seen as the norm by millennials. Starbucks has been winning over customers with their mobile wallets for years, and the apps created by stores have simplified the payment process for consumers, while also providing additional perks. In order for retailers to keep millennial shoppers, they must adapt their checkout technology to appeal to customers’ sensibilities. This generation will not settle for outdated practices, and they would rather shop at places that cater to their needs.


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