By 2020, Millennials are forecast to account for £8.9 billion global spending power – but are retailers doing enough to develop their strategies for this difficult-to-impress consumer group?

The generation born between 1980 and 2000, Millennials are digitally aware, technology-led, spoilt for choice, and short on time. Add these elements together and they create a tough tribe to connect with.

However, with the right plan and investment in omnichannel technologies, there are some effective means by which retailers can reach Millennial shoppers. Here are some examples:

Make them feel special

A recent Accenture survey revealed that 95% of Millennials want retail brands to actively court their custom, by sending them email and postal coupons. However, given the digital-savviness of this consumer group, there is an opportunity for retailers to extend their marketing strategies into the store, to increase customer spend and loyalty.

Millennials are much more likely to use their smartphone than those aged over 35, which makes digital passbooks the ideal vehicle to engage them during their bricks-and-mortar visits. Running loyalty schemes through the smartphones increases the chance of shoppers collecting and redeeming offers, compared to cards and vouchers, which are often forgotten about.

Equally, as mobiles are a key part of online AND offline shopping, mobile can bring together loyalty points collected in all channels, and give retailers an accurate depiction of total customer value.

Give them an experience

“The Millennial audience enjoys shopping and seeks out experiences. It’s our job to make these experiences personalised, seamlessly integrating digital with our in-store specialists,” Boots’ Director of Personalisation, Dave Robinson, remarked in a recent interview with Retail Week.

The store has become much more than a place where sales are made, and therefore retailers need to use their bricks-and-mortar presence as a vehicle for building stronger customer relationships. On a practical level, this may mean offering cross-channel services such as click-and-collect, or order in-store facilities if an item is out of stock.

However, it also means upskilling store associates to become brand evangelists, who can ‘sell’ a product, even if a potential customer does not commit to a purchase at that moment in time. A great experience is more likely to make shoppers buy from that brand at a later date, rather than surfing the web for the best price.

Be transparent

Authenticity is very important to Millennials; they want to have an open, honest dialogue with the retailers they shop with, and expect value and fairness in return.

This is particularly important when it comes to price tags; 95% Millennial shoppers claim to be at least, if not more, sensitive to price than this time last year, in a study by Blackhawk Engagement Solutions.

Being able to equip store associates with connected technologies such as mobile Point of Sale enables this relationship transparency, as they can compare prices with their online platform and rival brands in a managed environment, and price match the best offer if necessary to secure the sale.

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