Chances are, they’ve never sent a fax, taken a Polaroid picture or listened to their favorite song on an 8-track tape. Born between 1982 and 2000, the millennial generation is the largest in U.S. history – even bigger than the Baby Boom.
Millennials spend $600 billion in the U.S. each year, and they are expected to account for 30% of all retail sales by 2020, according to Accenture. They prefer to use several channels when shopping, and 68% expect an integrated, seamless experience regardless of channel.
If you’re not already tailoring the omnichannel experience to appeal to this major buying force, it’s clearly time to start. Wondering where to focus your energies? Here are a few areas to consider:
- Inventory management. Growing up in an age where almost anything is just a click away, these first digital natives have high expectations for order fulfillment and customer service. They are more irritated by inventory inconsistencies than their older shopping counterparts. In fact, their top two frustrations about shopping today are when items are not available or when store inventory is different from the website.
- Delivery options. Shipping and return policies also make the “top 5 list” of frustrations for millennials. They’ve come to expect timely deliveries and want a variety of shipping options, including same-day shipping. While they are less likely to be put off by shipping costs than older consumers, free shipping remains important, particularly for female millennials, 79% of whom say that’s the top way for retailers to improve their shopping experience.
- Customization. Personalization is also important to millennial buyers. For many brands, offering a wide range of customizable products is key to attracting these younger shoppers. They’re eager to tailor products to their preferences – everything from custom running shoes to curated subscription boxes.
Overwhelmed? Consider outsourcing. Third-party providers can be a valuable ally as retailers strive to improve the omnichannel experience. At Saddle Creek, for example, our advanced systems can help to fulfill orders efficiently and improve inventory accuracy without a significant overhead investment. With a network of facilities nationwide and transportation management services, we can help to get products into customers’ hands quickly and cost effectively. And our value-added services allow you to delay product configuration until the last minute for increased flexibility and responsiveness to millennials’ ever-changing demands.
Retailers would be wise to leverage the resources of omnichannel distribution providers to accommodate the demands of this powerful demographic. After all, there are more than 83 million potential customers to consider!
i “Who are the Millennial shoppers? And what do they really want?” Christopher Donnelly & Renato Scaff, Accenture, https://www.accenture.com/us-en/insight-outlook-who-are-millennial-shoppers-what-do-they-really-want-retail.aspx
ii “Retail CMO’s Guide to the OmniShopper,” MasterCard, 2015 slide 38.
iii “Ecommerce Chart: How Millennials and Baby Boomers Want You to Improve the Shopping Experience,” Marketing Sherpa, Jan. 5, 2016. https://www.marketingsherpa.com/article/chart/millennials-baby-boomers-want-improved-experience
iv“How to Engage Millennials in Customer Insight and Marketing,” VisionCritical, March 12, 2014. https://www.visioncritical.com/how-engage-millennials-customer-insight-and-marketing/