Retailers who want to generate more sales by engaging millennials and Gen Z consumers should recognize that these shoppers have tremendous buying power and lead the shift to e-commerce. There are 72.1 million millennials in the U.S. In terms of numbers, this group also has the most digital buyers since 85.9 percent of them make online purchases. The shopping habits of millennial consumers are vastly different from those of earlier generations. They shop online more frequently than boomers — and they count on feedback from other consumers to help them make their purchasing decisions.
However, depending on the item or project, younger generations also shop in physical stores—especially for home improvement products. According to J.D. Power, only 13 percent of home improvement customers purchased products online, while 87 percent visited a physical store. Christina Cooley, director of home intelligence practice at J.D. Power, says, “What’s interesting is that unlike many other retail categories, when it comes to home improvement, customers are heading out to the stores to touch and feel products before buying—and wanting to engage with store staff along the way.”
In-Store Purchases Start Online
Providing customers with an exceptional shopping experience often begins online with product research and customer reviews that ultimately lead to an in-store purchase. The days are long gone when customers drop by the local hardware store to buy an expensive tool, sight unseen. Before arriving, they had done plenty of online research and read lots of reviews posted by people who had purchased the same product. Researching products online is now an essential step on the path to purchase.
- Ratings and Reviews 94 percent
- Price of Product 91 percent
- Free Shipping 78 percent
- Brand of the Product 65 percent
- Recommendations 60 percent
Millennials Use Reviews When Shopping in-store
Overall, Millennials do 60% of their shopping online. The remaining 40% happens in a physical store. (Per Digital Commerce 360). Although they are the first generation to use grow up using the Internet and use it as a primary resource of information, Millennials are the people most likely to refer to reviews when shopping in physical stores.
- 63 percent of millennials use reviews
- 56 percent of Gen X shoppers refer to reviews
- 39 percent of Boomers consult reviews
How to Motivate Millennials to Write Reviews
Many retailers mistakenly believe that younger consumers are more likely to write reviews if they’ve had a bad experience. But research indicates this isn’t the case. According to PowerResearch, a greatexperience is a top motivator for Millennials to write reviews.
- 92% of Millennials say that a great experience inspires them to write a review,
- 76% say a negative experience motivates them to write a review
Selling a quality product is only one factor that contributes to how customers view your business. Making a positive impression occurs throughout the online and in-store purchase journey. It’s essential for retailers to improve the shopping experience and make it engaging to consumers they want to attract. Salesforce research indicates 80% of consumers believe the experience a company offers is as important as the products it sells or the service the business provides. When customers leave a store feeling good about their experiences and interactions with the staff, they are more likely to write positive reviews about your establishment.
The Omnichannel Approach Works Best
Before the growth of e-commerce, home improvement retailers could primarily focus on growing business in their physical stores. However, the online and in-store experiences are now intertwined. Today, retailers must take a big picture approach and connect all aspects of their business to be profitable and engage existing customers and younger consumers.