Everybody wants to attract Millennial shoppers to their store. But how far are you willing to go? A recent article in Fortune boldly stated Whole Foods may add tattoo parlors to attract Millennials. In it, they talk about the chain opening up a new, lower-priced off shoot that would appeal to more cost conscience shoppers, ie Millennials. And although they may not actually add tattoo parlors, they are open to adding all sorts of services within the store and that's just one of them along with record stores, body care services and others. Whatever it takes to make the stores a destination for the coveted Millennial market.
Does that mean your store should add new in-store services to attract Millennial shoppers? It depends on your store and if the services are relevant to your brand. Something that's not relevant can kill your brand. The Alibi Room, the fictional bar on Showtime's Shameless is a good case in point. After being named Chicago's "Best Crappy Bar" they were inundated with Millennial hipsters who went there for the experience the colorful local clientele offered (Millennials are very experiential, often valuing experiences over physical things). Once the bar started changing to offer "in-store" changes that they figured would appeal to the new clientele, which drove away their current customers, which was the reason the new customers were there. Soon they offered all kinds of things that didn't fit their brand and nobody was coming at all.
Sure, this example is a bit extreme and fictional, but it's a good case in point. Don't try to become something you're not in order to attract this new market, because you might lose your current customer and not bring in the new ones. Whole Foods' new chain may or may not have in-store tattoo parlors. And if they do, it may or may not work. It will all depend on how well it fits their brand.
Look for things you can add that will attract Millennial shoppers that won't seem alien to your current brand. Or better yet, take a look at what you're doing now and see where it might fit in a Millennial marketing effort. For instance, tons of research shows that Millennials really want personalization and customization. Having grown up in the internet age, they've always been able to customize experience online. Do you already have the capability in your store? In talking with some of our furniture retailers who would like to start connecting better with Millennials, we looked into this very idea. All of them have custom order capabilities within their stores. It's not a huge part of their business because it generally costs a little more and takes longer. But, it's a service that would connect really well with the Millennial mindset. They don't have to add it, they just have to talk about it.
So, when considering adding new in-store services, look first at what you already offer that would appeal to this customer. If you have something that could be tweaked or even just marketed more, you're ahead of the game. If not, make sure the services you offer fit within your brand and won't become a brand killer. There is a lot of research out there. Do what we've done, compile it and look at how the Millennials' needs and wants can be satisfied by what your store or brand offers. Make smart decisions for both your brand and your desired customer.