Millennials are a retail force to be reckoned with. This generation, representing 25% of the population, spends $600 billion a year, and its annual spending will grow to $1.4 trillion by 2020. To survive, retailers have to engage with Millennial shoppers, but many have struggled to do so. Major chains — including JCPenney, Macy’s, Sears, Kmart, CVS — plan to shut more than 1,000 retail stores in 2017.
While e-Commerce is one contributor to this retail crunch, it’s not the cause. Brick-and-mortar retail still represents more than 90% of total retail sales. There are many benefits to visiting physical stores that online shopping can’t offer, such as the ability to try things on and walk out with the item in-hand. The challenge that retailers are facing in reaching Millennial consumers is integrating the physical shopping experience and the digital shopping experience in meaningful ways.
When Millennial consumers go shopping, they do so armed with mobile devices. More than 90% of shoppers use their smartphones while in retail stores. They use their phones to access information, compare prices, and solicit feedback from friends as they make purchasing decisions. As a result, mobile devices are becoming a primary interaction, recommendation and knowledge interface for shoppers inside the store. This presents an opportunity to enhance the in-store shopping experience, and in doing so, drive loyalty and sales. The best, most engaging mobile experiences are those that combine intuitive user experiences and design with high functionality and utility.
So, what can be done with these mobile devices and what are those functions that can increase shopper engagement? Information is a start. Millennials are big…