When online shopping came into the picture, many predicted death chimes for the brick-and-mortar stores. The comfort of shopping from mobile apps and websites from anywhere anytime was a big respite for the time-crunched millennial shoppers.
Moreover, for the price-sensitive shoppers, heavy discounts and coupons worked wonders. However, regardless of the convenience, millennial’s are showing their loyalty towards physical stores. In fact, these young consumers are enjoying the in-store shopping experience.
So, what exactly do millennial’s want?
Millennial are extremely savvy online customers considering that the channels provide them with the information and insights they are looking for and get their hands on the best products and services. In fact, many of them polish their shopping skills online by surfing through the product ratings, reviews and feedbacks to choose the vendors that provide the best value and service.
However, this doesn’t stop them from frequenting brick-and-mortar venues simply because they also want to touch and feel the product prior to purchasing.
When it comes to shopping, millennial’s are looking for a unified and seamless experience across multiple channels; brick and mortar stores, ecommerce platforms or mobile apps. That means being able to effortlessly transition from smartphones and laptops to physical stores in their pursuit for the best products and services.
The level of experience and excitement these millennial’s customers are expecting now is the new norm even for retail brands in tier-2/3/4 cities. As consumers, they have stopped looking at online and offline separately and are considering various touch-points to interact with a brand; offline, online, mobile, via social media, and much more.
Thus, to stay competitive in this competitive retail landscape, it will be important for retailers to find innovative ways to connect with the new-age shoppers and engage them as they browse and shop in-store.
Innovative Retail Formats And Technologies Driving The Progression Of Physical Stores
Millennial tend to make the majority of their choices backed by their experience than the products. So, retailers must emphasise on developing a customer-centric approach in their businesses so that the consumers can interact with the product or brand and even give their feedback for the same.
This can let the retailers generate better brand recall and escalated sales. Many retail brands have already started integrating traditional elements with tech-enabled aspects like in-store tabs to add layers and new experiences to their old-fashioned retail models.
Today, online players in fashion & lifestyle and beauty & personal care segments are already acing the game by delivering experience-based shopping through integration of AR and VR. Witnessing their success, offline stores too are following the trend by implementing these immersive technologies to redefine convenience for consumers.
A handful of value retail chains in the country have also started leveraging these technologies to enable the new-age consumers to simply walk in, find their preferred products/outfits through a virtual inventory and try the outfits via virtual mirror without actually having to do it physically.
This is facilitating a seamless retail experience to the consumers even in small towns and cities. Big Data is yet another revolutionary technology that has made its way into the offline retail space to enable businesses to understand their customer expectations by predicting the popularity of products and identifying the relevant customers for each one of them.
Brick-And-Mortar Retail Is Here To Stay…
The retail environment is perhaps changing faster than many companies would have expected in the coming years. It is primarily because they are constantly making deeper changes across their entire organizations to deliver products and services in a seamless manner to the millennial and the tech-savvy future generations.
While the future looks promising for brick-and-mortar stores having a firm place in the future of shopping, retail businesses will have to actively introduce the millennial customers to their products in ways that utilize technology to nurture profound engagement and a more personalized, connected experience.