Every retailer seems to be directing all their efforts into targeting millennials (anyone with a case of ‘millennial fixation fatigue’ yet?) and many are coming up with new "revolutionary" ideas for a millennial store. But what exactly is a "millennial" store? Here we'll be listing three tactics to create a store that will see the millennials come rushing in and be deemed worthy by the likes of Buzzfeed.
- Capitalise on Social Media
Anything related to social media is a given – especially when APAC millennials are reported to spend an average of 2.8 hours on social media daily (Aspire Systems). But long gone are the days of printing out large foamboard Facebook/Instagram cut-outs and expecting millennials to engage with these silly frames (unless you force them to with discounts).
To truly integrate social media into your stores, you need two things: a really good marketing team but an even better interior designer that can turn your store into an Insta-worthy setting. A good design will not only attract a crowd, but will also naturally become shareable content. To put into perspective, millennials are travelling to more exotic locations, purely for the picturesque-setting (otherwise known as "doing it for the 'gram"). Retailers need to incorporate this mindset into their store design.
Case study – Glossier
(Source: Instagram @jennnsexton)
Digitally-native beauty brand Glossier demonstrates the power of social media at its second retail location at Melrose Place in LA, where they brought the Antelope Canyon into the store. Though they didn't exactly chip off a chunk of the national park, they simply recreated its dusty (millennial) pink setting in the store and fitted it out with nature sounds and a selfie mirror - designed for those Instagram moments. Once seen on social media, it becomes an attraction in its own right and customers will be coming in for more than just your products.
- Interact and Educate
Stores can no longer be a passive experience for customers. Allowing customers to create their own shopping journey and interact with the brand can be done in many different ways. Popular options include hosting workshops as well as in-store personalisation and customisation services. Not only will these activities increase dwell time, but they can also become a socialising activity with peers (note: sharable experience).
Alongside these activities, the experience itself can become a discovery and educating process for customers in terms of getting to know the brand story and forging a deeper relationship with it.
Case study – Vashi
(Source: Business of Fashion)
London diamond jeweller Vashi designed their Piccadilly flagship store with millennials in mind, with the aim of creating accessible luxury. Removing the barriers towards luxury for the millennial crowd, customers can play with diamonds and even help putting jewellery together as part of their customised order. The jewel-making process can even be live-streamed and is also documented into a coffee book for the new owner. This goes to show how a retailer involves their customer into creating their product, yet at the same time builds an experience that becomes a key part of their brand image.
As millennials grow older, they have increased awareness and consideration for the environment and other social causes. More and more brands have also been pressured to become more transparent to their customers on their wider impact to society. Retailers that take a more ethical approach usually come with more premium pricing, however customers are willing to pay more towards brands that are seen to be doing good - perhaps as a way to ease their conscience on their own impact to the wider world.
Case study - Zero Waste stores
(Source: Green Queen)
With the "ban plastic straw" movement taking speed in the FMCG industry and drawing everyday consumers into awareness for the environment, consumers are increasingly interested in ecofriendly ‘zero waste’ formats.
Zero waste stores aim to tackle excessive plastic usage from groceries and sells foodstuffs in bulk, encouraging customers to fill their own containers. This creates an experience of its own, which appeals to the ‘do-it-yourself’ ethos of millennials (as opposed to ‘do-it-for-me’).
The self-service initiative also creates a feel-good factor for the customer.
About Those Touchscreens...
(Source: Retail Insider)
Now hold on - where's the "tech" part? Technology should not be seen or categorised as a separate agenda and should be seamlessly integrated into all of these tactics.
Many retailers often mistake creating a "tech-enabled" store by introducing iPads for their digital lookbook/endless aisle or placing multiple screens together for… an even more gigantic LED display. However, all of these initiatives are simply passive devices that will not add anything to the shopping journey of your consumers.
Millennials are discerning in their use of in-store technology and need it to have a clear purpose. Retailers should actively engage with their younger shoppers – don’t just design a store based off of something you think they will like. In this context, it may also make sense to consult younger members of your staff to sharpen your thinking.