The success of any retail business relies heavily on understanding what consumers want and need. If you don’t know those basics, how do you expect to sell anything? That’s why so many companies are leaning into Big Data, which promises deeper insights than ever before.
In retail, all of the attention today is focused on Generation Y, or consumers ranging from 18 to 34. Specifically, retailers are concerned with the group’s massive spending power and distinct mindset. (Check out our recent eBook on this topic.) Companies have found that this generation is more conscious about how and where it spends. This means retailers must figure out how to adapt their current business strategies to tap into Millennials buying power, a task that is far from easy.
What Gen Y Wants From Retailers
According to a 2015 retail overview of trends by PricewaterhouseCoopers, Gen Y values opportunities to offer input that matters as well as more personalized product and service solutions. While this evolving consumer is not so easy to understand, there are four areas retailers should keep in mind about Millennials and their shopping behavior.
1. Constant Connectivity
More than any other generation, Millennials want to be connected at all times, both to people and to information. This means retailers must make communication a priority. Consider social media marketing campaigns or mobile apps, as these are two platforms Gen Y has really made its own. An app, for example, makes it easy for shoppers to browse, shop and purchase without having to leave their house. Nike is a great example of a retailer really excelling on social and mobile channels.
In addition to staying connected, Millenials want to be able to control who they’re connected with and how. They don’t want to be told they have to communicate with you; they want to make that decision on their own. And when they do, you’d better be ready. Slow website load times or a poor in-store experience can lead to a nasty social media review that does permanent damage. Think about Yelp. Gen Y loves sharing experiences with others online – both good and bad.
The Millennial consumer is also a fickle one. They are constantly hunting for the next new thing. They want to find these solutions at affordable prices, and they are always looking for a better way to do something. With easy access to information, Millennials can indulge in a variety of unique products, services and experiences. Additionally, they tend to be drawn to services that are environmentally-conscious and socially responsible.
Increasingly, Millennials look for products and services that allow them to interact at the individual level with retailers and suppliers. In other words, they want an experience that is truly unique and personal to them. According to the previously-mentioned PWC study, Gen Y wants to be involved in every step of a product’s lifespan, from conception to retail. Just think of programs like KickStarter. For the first time ever, regular consumers have a say in what products get created. It doesn’t get more personal than that.
With these four topics in mind, retailers need to work harder to provide more personalized, connected experiences for their customers. Of course, the best way to do this is to find out what consumers want from you. Gathering actionable feedback takes the guesswork out of what shoppers want.
Tools such as the Check Point Survey, a tablet-based app that helps businesses collect immediate feedback, is a useful way to identify what’s working and what isn’t. This is also a much more effective option than traditional feedback methods such as comment cards or telephone surveys and is appealing to tech-savvy consumers. If you want a piece of the $200 billion in spending power Millennials have, you need to do your homework and figure out what your customers want.
Find Out More About Gathering Customer Feedback
Complete the form below to download the free eBook, The Power of Instant Customer Feedback, for more detail about why it matters what customers think about you.
Michelle Strong is chief marketing officer at LRS and an advocate for meaningful customer engagement.