Millennials are reaching their peak as a generation. But they do not live as their parents did, so retailers need to use different tactics to attract Millennial shoppers than they've used to motivate past generations. How are they different? Where their parents value integrity, family and practicality, Millennials focus strongly on happiness, discovery and diversity. The generation is not spending money like their parents. Getting married, buying houses and having children are not on their agendas – just quite yet. Due to growing up during the Great Recession and endless amounts of student loan debt, Millennials focus on spending their money on other financial priorities.
In short, this is one complicated group to interpret! Retailers have to delve into and weed through everything to truly understand who Millennials are as consumers. But if Millennials right now are not focusing on buying homes and purchasing furniture, how do furniture retailers attract consumers of this generation? It is not entirely true that they are not in the buying stage of their lives. Once the generation is broken down into segments, retailers are able to see that there are some Millennials who are better targets right now than others – those who are of certain income levels, who own homes and who have started families.
So once furniture retailers understand who their Millennial targets are, they need to somehow work on getting their attention. In a previous post we covered some of the strategies for attracting Millennial shoppers. Now, here are a few go-to tactics furniture retailers can use to attract Millennial shoppers!
Have a Customizable Product Available
Thanks to growing up with all the options the online world provides right at their fingertips, Millennials not only want, but expect customization and personalization. Many retailers are beginning to hop on the custom product train and really showcase that customization is a service they offer. Sofas are one of the best products for retailers to carry with the option of custom ordering. Presenting the hundreds of options of different sofas Millennials can create when they combine frame, color and fabric choices, even down to the fabric of the throw pillows, resonates well with the generation. And if furniture retailers give them the style and personalization the generation wants, all at a lower price, it is the most efficient way to gain Millennials’ attention.
Digitally Engage In-Store Shoppers
According to a retail industry report on being more customer-centric, “customer-facing tools such as smartphones, tablets and in-store kiosks have become mission critical to the shopping experience, yet most retailers still have not integrated these tools into a cohesive system that creates circular commerce.”
Mobile is the platform of choice for Millennials, so having mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) enables Millennials to be physically engaged on-the-go. The same goes for Millennials in a retail setting. Utilizing in-store technology for furniture retailers creates numerous opportunities to connect and engage with Millennials. There are many different types of technology that furniture retailers have grasped onto that create a digital experience and enhances in-store shopping for the generation.
Retailers such as American Signature and Crate & Barrel have begun to use CloudTags. This technology is a data platform for the physical store that drives results by powering digital interactions between customers and products. Tablets are given to the customers as the enter the showroom and they are able to scan tags placed on each furniture item and accessory. Other retailers such as Ikea use their own apps to create the same experience. Customers are able to scan the bar codes of products using the app, and once scanned all product information is revealed. For customers, these types of in-store technology act as an “Easy Pass” shopping cart. This allows shoppers to efficiently pass shopping wish lists between the retailer’s website and the physical store. A connected shopping experience that is seamless and convenient. Just what the Millennial doctor ordered!
Create Online Connections and Experiences
Although furniture retailers sending the right targeted messages to Millennials will help connect with them, it simply may not be enough to get Millennials engaged. Continuous conversation comes with appealing content. And because Millennials like to be engaged rather than be sold to, continuous conversation will show that brand relationships are being built with the generation. In order to digitally and socially reach Millennials and build relationships, furniture retailers need to provide the generation with a variety of experiences and opportunities within their content.
Social media contests are a perfect tool for retailers to take advantage of to really connect and engage Millennials. Pinterest is a great platform to form social contests for DIY and home improvement fanatics that may be in the market for some new furniture. A Pinterest contest can also be shared on other social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). So we have ourselves a triple-threat tactic. Contests are an effective tool to utilize to connect and engage with Millennials, they help to drive traffic back to a retailer’s website and they assist in building brand loyalty with the generation. When Millennials are ready to buy, they will go to the furniture retailer that built the best connection with them.
This is part of an on-going series. For more on posts on attracting the Millennial shopper, click on "Millennial Shoppers" in our blog keyword directory.