Conventional wisdom might be that millennials and Gen X’ers are completely allergic to shopping in brick and mortar stores, preferring to their retail shopping completely from their computers or smartphones.
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However, conventional wisdom is wrong. While online shopping is a huge business, it’s not as though 20-40 year olds are completely avoidant of traditional shopping methods. In facts, research suggests that this younger generation actually prefers shopping this way.
It isn’t that millennials don’t use the internet for shopping. It’s just that they like to supplement their online shopping experience with visits to brick and mortar stores. Why? Because visiting stores in-person allows one to get up close and personal with a product. Misgivings about a product can’t be as easily assuaged on a website as they are online. When one visits a store, they can get much better assessments of a product. Consider jewelry as a case study. Christopher & Banks, QVC Outlet, Ten Thousand Villages, Bass, New York & Co, will all agree that on the whole people prefer to try jewelry on.
It also helps to have the face-to-face experience. When someone is shopping for a product online, it can be difficult to fully trust the promises of the anonymous text in the description. However, if one is speaking with a retailer such as a salesperson, they can forge a better connection. Plus, it’s much easier to ask questions this way. Seeing a product in person can help a shopper consider things they previously hadn’t. They can ask for a demonstration and bring up any concerns that they might have. This is much easier than waiting to order something and crossing one’s fingers that it functions as expected.
This doesn’t mean that a millennial is guaranteed to buy something in a brick and mortar store. They might use that shopping experience as a means of seeing how a product works before purchasing it online. However, we know that because of our amazing shops and ultra-low prices on popular name brands, that our shoppers won’t have to do this!
Millennials are still patronizing brick and mortar stores suggesting they have more vitality than people think. Even if they don’t purchase the product that they’re testing, they might still be drawn to other products in a store. It’s important for brick and mortar retailers to be able to stress their other products and to be accommodating to all their customers to encourage repeat business.
Millennials aren’t hermits. They might be busy with work and school, but that doesn’t mean they’re not going to take the time to go in a store. After all, how else would they purchase essentials like their weekly groceries? Even if they are using their smartphones for some shopping, plenty of them are happy to come into a store. They appreciate the hospitality of having their questions answered by someone in-person.
It’s also important to remember that the convenience of retail stores can often trump that of online. If a millennial realizes that they would have to wait up to a week and provide their shipping and credit card information, they might understandably be more drawn to go into a brick and mortar business with cash.
The next time you’re in a brick and mortar store, take a look at the other customers. You might be surprised by how many are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Millennials are not the death knell of the traditional retail industry. If anything, they’re what’s keeping it thriving.