How are Millennials are shaping retail?

Young people today have never been more tech-savvy, highly educated or ambitious than they are been today. Connected online 24/7, these customers expect stock to always be available and a personalised service. Millennials have been affected by the recession more deeply than the baby-boomer generation and as a result, their spending habits differ greatly.

Millennials want something different, they want to support local and are untrusting of brands that do not do social. With the rise of social media, it is expected that brands listen to their young customers and react to feedback quickly. A poor shopping experience can quickly go viral with the help of a few passionate millennials. Retailers now must look at how they can monitor their social media from the shop floor and react to customer feedback in real-time.

Retailers are already exploring what can be achieved by going digital in-store. Marc Jacobs allowed their customers to pay for items using social currency and Nordstrom created a display using their most pinned shoes from Pinterest. Brands should embrace creative ways they can bring the online in store with innovative POP/POS. Retail designers have the added challenge of meeting the brand’s needs while also being Instagram worthy. As the teenage saying goes – ‘If you are not online, you don’t exist’.


Image from Nordtrom Image from Nordstrom


Millennials’ old-school’ shopping values of showing loyalty to brands that ‘care’ or buying ethically and locally sourced. The vast majority of young people are a result of globalization; they appreciate diversity and are super-informed on issues in manufacture and supply. Although they are slow shoppers, they are happy to spend more on unique or handcrafted items. This behaviour is key to retailers when millennials inherit the spending power of baby-boomers. If retailers wish to supply, millennials with a variety of local products they will also need to invest in versatile fixtures to display their possible new ranges. Although it might be tempting to buy in cheap display units, a beautiful bespoke unit could set Twitter alight while also providing you a long-term solution.

This new generation of shoppers will force brands and retailers to be innovative in ways that they never dreamed. Everyone in the retail industry will need to keep their eye on, or even better, start hiring and investing in millennials. If you want to talk about how to inspire millennials in your store, talk to our team.

Main feature image from Bloomberg