Millennial shoppers haven’t gone completely digital. They still value brick-and-mortar stores—often even more than older generations—but they still want an enhanced, digitally connected shopping experience.
68% of Millennial shoppers prefer to complete transactions in-store rather than exclusively buying online. But nearly half of this demographic does extensive online research of products and brands before making their in-store purchase. At first, it may seem like a disconnect, having the most digitally immersed demographic doing more in-store shopping, but Millennials desire a connection to the world around them, and that connection extends to the brands and retailers they frequent. Millennials also tend to value having options and prefer to be able to shop both online and offline, including browsing on their mobile devices while in a brick-and-mortar store.
Improving the Store Experience
Because of the digital experience that Millennials are accustomed to, stores can appeal to these shoppers by offering a variety of shopping options and by increasing the availability of online services in the physical store.
Many stores provide the option to buy online and then pick up at the store. This gives consumers the opportunity to do research and make more informed decisions prior to going to the retailer. The option to buy online and pick up in-store benefits the consumer, who is properly informed prior to making a purchase, and benefits the retailer as well, since shoppers often make additional purchases while in-store.
Retailers can also up their digital game by providing more access to digital information in the stores themselves. Digital kiosks and customer service employees equipped with tablets can help blend the online and in-store experience. When shoppers can research merchandise and ask questions without standing in line, they will have a more positive shopping experience overall. In a brick-and-mortar store, shoppers can view items (or try them on for size) in person, but with additional access to an online store, retailers can provide more variety in size, color, and design than they can in-store alone.
Merging the in-store and online shopping experience is crucial for the digitally connected Millennial. They want to shop. They just want to do it on their terms.