Shop-o-rif-ic. How to Attract Millennial Shoppers by Creating a Relaxing Store Environment

Millennial shopper comfortable in storeWhen Millennials want fast and convenient shopping, they go online. They come into the store to get something special. Retailers are using insights like this to create in-store experiences that invite Millennial shoppers to come in, relax and enjoy a comfortable experience. In a previous post, we talked about how unique in-store experiences attract Millennial shoppers. Today, we're outlining with lots of picture examples, how a relaxing, comfortable store attracts Millennial shoppers. 

One of the things retailers are doing to accomplish this is by slowing down the whole shopping process. They are working to stop customers from just running in, grabbing what they need and running out. By adding things like cozy seating areas, demos and snacks they are making the whole in-store experience about more than just a transaction. When shoppers don’t feel rushed, they spend more time in the store and it has positive results:

  • more likely to share their positive experiences
  • spend more money
  • will come back

A recent Wall Street Journal report on “slow shopping” by Ellen Byron found that in some cases, shoppers were even spending 20-40% more money when they stayed longer in the store.

Millennial shopper forever yogurt

Millennials are self-reliant but when customer service associates are able to recognize who is there to stay and who just needs to get in and get out, they can offer the appropriate kind of assistance.

Stop in and say "cheese!"

Millennial shopper Cole Hardware display

Noelle Nicks, who oversees visual merchandising for Cole Hardware's four stores in San Francisco draws people into the store with eye catching window displays.

A recent study by Now Sourcing and Frames Direct reveals millennials spend about seven minutes on average for each selfie. The study predicts the average millennial will spend about an hour a week to take up to 25,700 selfies in their lifetime.

Millennial Shoppers Macy selfie wall.jpg

To entice Millennials to linger longer, Macy’s One Below Store created an interactive selfie wall and installed a blow dry bar.

Millennial shoppers blow bar

Stepping in…

Everything from the colors to the smell, lighting, music, merchandise and displays all need to be working together to tell the brand story and transition the customer from outside to inside. Having a clear path directs the flow of the store and creates a more relaxing atmosphere.

Millennial shoppers neutral colors

Neutral colors don’t overwhelm and let the merchandise stand out.

Millennial shoppers De Pratti

This is De Pratti, a department store in Ecuador. The concept for this theme was to create a shopping atmosphere that feels like a leisurely walk in the park.

Slow shoppers down with ‘speed bumps’ such as signage or seasonal displays. 

Millennial shoppers Lowes Grocery

Lowes Grocery store pulls off a hip millennial vibe with their re-design. The agency describes the new look and tone as "if Pixar created a grocery store, but talked about itself the way BuzzFeed would."

Millennial Shoppers boxcar cafe

New stores have a beer den, a pick and prep area, and a coffee shop called The Boxcar Cafe right in the middle to help shoppers unwind and re-charge.

Keep hovercraft employees at bay.

Anthropologie lets customers leisurely browse. They purposely don’t send out very many mailers so that they can have little sale nooks where Millennials can be left alone to discover a good bargain instead of being told to shop a sale.

Millennial shoppers Anthropologie

Customers are free to try things on and the whimsical displays help them imagine themselves in unique situations. By seeing all of the possibilities they feel more relaxed about purchasing something they may not have considered before.  

People = More People

Stores shouldn’t mind having too many shoppers in the store at one time or whether or not people stay all day because that’s what’s going to get people in the door. People have a magnetic effect on other people, pulling them off of the street to check out the scene and see what all of the buzz is about. It taps into the millennial’s affinity for discovery and making connections.

Millennial shoppers Apple store

Apple store creates a hands-on experience with the design of their stores.

Cozy gathering spaces.

Millennial shoppers Sraivia bookstore

Rio de Janeiro’s Sraivia Bookstore makes staying to read comfortable. They’ve created a relaxing environment that makes it just as easy to meet up with friends as it is to find a cozy nook to read in. They also have tables so you can spread out and not have to carry around heavy books while you shop.

Millennial shoppers store lighting

Lighting is also a good way to tell an interesting story and set a relaxing atmosphere in the store. However, it’s important to be able to read the tags. Millennials need to be able to gain information quickly and will pass over something if it’s hard to see.  TIP: Dim the lights to set the mood and use spot lights to highlight information and price tags.

Millennials are looking for high style at a low price when they shop and Ikea fits the bill in a lot of ways. The store offers a huge selection of modern furniture and accessories all in one place. They even have child care and a restaurant in case you wanted to spend the whole day there. 

Millennial shoppers Ikea breakfast

This pop-up café was inspired after discovering that 50% of their customers had never had breakfast in bed. So this Ikea served a traditional Scandinavian breakfast in bed to the hipster borough of Shoreditch, London featuring relaxing music, sleep-inducing teas, and information about IKEA’s bedding options.

Appeal to their senses.

Leon & Lulu is a dog friendly store in Clawson Michigan. They offer a sea of unique items that you can’t find anywhere else. They have a good mix of big ticket items, small ticket items and everything in-between. These kinds of stores appeal to a millennials sense of adventure and discovery. They are also socially responsible, do a lot for the community and support local artists.

Millennial shoppers Leon Lulu

This happens to be in an old renovated roller skating rink playing to the nostalgia that millennials are attracted to and it has a very homey feel. When you walk in, you smell fresh popcorn and coffee making. They also have good candles burning and it just makes for a very inviting atmosphere.

Use music to set the mood.

Music directly affects how long a person will stay in the store and how much they will spend. A study by the Association for Consumer Research found that shoppers ages 25 to 49 tend to stay longer and buy more when attention-grabbing foreground music is played, whereas people ages 50 and older purchase more when stores play softer, more mellow background music.

Millennial shoppers in store music

It’s all about being mindful of your demographic and your typical customer, but most Millennials prefer a more inclusive atmosphere. Finding the balance between fast and slow, and old and new is part of what will create a relaxing in-store experience. Millennials have quickly evolving tastes and are always looking to discover new music. Why not let them discover their next favorite song in your store? The University of California in Santa Barbara found that when people liked the music being played in the store, they reported shorted waiting times in line.

Colors can comfort and calm

Colors = brand recognition. Let the merchandise pop. Don’t overwhelm the products color. Here's a breakdown on what colors to use for what emotion: Oranges and browns are inviting and reassuring. Oranges are happy. Greens and Blues are calming. Red and yellow grab attention and alert customers to certain products. Red is a universal stop color. Too much red can be over stimulating.

In the end, it's all about making Millennial shoppers feel comfortable in an inviting in-store environment that will encourage them to spend some time browsing or even just hanging out. This will keep them coming back and become a place they like to shop at. It's just a part of your retail marketing mix. Come back next month, when we look at what in-store services you can offer to attract Millennial shoppers. 

Sarah Knight_HeadshotSarah Knight – Millennial shopper & retail marketer.


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