What do Millennial shoppers really want?

by Warren Richmond | CEO Situ Live

Jun 29, 2021

Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) are the last generation of the 20th century. Arguably the first genuinely digital generation, they are known for being digitally intuitive, highly connected, and social media savvy.

The Millennial generation is conscious at all levels. They want to save their money and invest in a socially responsible manner, favouring brands which embrace sustainability.

Online isn’t everything

There is no doubt that Millennials are savvy online customers, often using e-commerce as a quick and convenient way to purchase products, but that doesn’t mean they want the entire shopping experience to take place online.

Online sales will continue to rise, while physical stores, events and offline advertising will continue to play a major role in influencing consumer awareness and consideration.

When it comes to shopping, 68 percent of Millennials demand a seamless omnichannel experience. Able to effortlessly move from smartphone to laptop to physical store in their search for the right products.

Chasing the experience

Millennials are spending more money on doing things, rather than purchasing things. And the brands who adapt to these shifting behaviours and move to deliver compelling experiences above all else, will be the ones who flourish.   

In-store experiences can also strengthen loyalty, as they help to humanise a brand. With 60 percent of Millennials saying they feel more loyal to the brands that they can physically interact with.

Similar to Gen Z, the way to cater to this demographic is to deliver one-of-a-kind immersive experiences, investing in captivating store design and hiring skilled, motivated staff.  Many want future retail environments to operate as social hubs and event spaces, providing a place for like-minded communities to come together.

The appetite for innovation is significant, as younger shoppers want to break away from the mundane every day. They are also more likely turn to nostalgia to escape and entertain, with 71 percent of millennials seeking out nostalgic activities and experiences.

Community first

During the pandemic, community has never been more important, with more and more people coming together to help support their local areas. Going forward, shoppers will demand more from the brands they choose.  

Millennials are looking for brands with authenticity and a purpose that goes further than simply making money. They can smell a sales tactic from miles away and will skip over polished adverts. So, to appeal to this group, businesses should focus on delivering real-time responses and encouraging meaningful conversation.

Brands need to unleash their creativity—providing a tailored, purposeful shopper experience. This can provoke a sense of community and brand affinity and will encourage shoppers to engage with the brands long after they have made a purchase.

For businesses, it also pays to support the neighbourhood, with over 60 percent of Millennials and Gen Z saying they are more likely to buy from brands that gave back to the community throughout Covid-19.

Sourcing sustainability

Concerns around sustainability are reaching fever pitch. Consumers want brands to shorten the supply chain, produce items which are built to last and ban single-use plastics. This attitude is particularly prevalent amongst Millennials, as 60 percent are committed to being more mindful of their shopping habits on the environment.

Social media campaigns and prominent influencers have had a deep and positive impact on the psyche of young consumers when it comes to sustainability. Consumers are now making far more considered purchases. Brands should be looking to empower shoppers to buy what is right for them first time, thus reducing the probability of returns. And having a physical retail presence, where consumers can try out products before purchasing, is a great starting point.

Millennials will also put their money where their mouth is, preferring to invest in organisations that have a positive impact on the world. So, brands and retailers should be looking to publicly align their business practices with the social issues that matter to their target audience.

Multichannel is a must

Millennials are known to expect a certain degree of technology in every experience, so businesses need to make sure that their in-store experience is evolving with the times. In-store digital kiosks, virtual product displays, augmented reality capabilities and VR headsets are all becoming staples of modern stores.

That said, while technology can undoubtedly enhance the retail experience, a human touch still matters. Millennials are omnichannel consumers, wanting to combine digital and in-store shopping practices in a way that suits them.

The ability to buy products whenever, wherever, and however they want is important to them. And they will use a variety of devices and platforms to browse and purchase, so it is critical for brands to provide a flawless omnichannel experience.

Retailers need to be digitally minded, offering charging outlets and providing an option to pay online. But equally they also need to invest in their store staff, as Millennials use physical retail to escape the screens and engage in real life experiences.

So, what does this mean for brands and retailers?

As the largest generation, Millennials are a key consumer segment. And as they make up most of the workforce, they are shaping business and society in a powerful way.

A generation in pursuit of individualised, authentic experiences; Millennials will seek out brands that act with purpose, and who add consistent value to the customer experience. So, businesses need to factor in these priorities if they want to gain a loyal Millennial following.

Yes, online shopping isn’t going anywhere. But younger generations love brick-and-mortar retail as a space for live, meaningful experiences. Therefore, to truly engage with Millennial shoppers, shrewd brands will be looking to have a presence both online and in-store.

The high street needs an injection of inspiration

We are reimagining the in-store experience for a new era. Situ Live is a multi-brand destination where consumers can fully immerse themselves in the products on display.

Our first venue at Westfield London will play host to live demonstrations and immersive storytelling featuring a world-class collection of innovative brands. It will provide customers with the chance to experience products before deciding to purchase them online using a QR code.