The needs and preferences of two prominent generations will continue to drive retail. While millennials are a popular focus, we can’t forget that baby boomers are equally important.
In fact, a large number of boomers will be in their 60s and 70s next year, and retailers that cater to these consumers will need to adjust to make shopping easier for them.
According to a consulting firm called PWC, “the Baby Boomer generation will age with increased financial resources and with a greater emphasis on youth and vitality than previous generations. As a result, they not only will tax manufacturers to adapt products to their specific post-retirement needs, but also will require retailers to respond to their evolving needs as they approach the age of 70 in 2015.”
On the flip side, millennials (Generation Y) an equally large market segment will also be a major influence in retail. Merchants who want to reach millennials will need to invest in mobile, as they are the largest group of smartphone owners. Staying ahead of the curve is also an essential factor when it comes to reaching the millennial market. As a generation that grew up in an age where almost anything is just a click away, millennials have a tendency to be impatient. Retailers who want to engage them must invest in more robust order fulfillment systems and, quality customer service.
With the youth and millenials being such a huge focus and boomers having such a big influence, below is a list of things you should expect this year:
- Communication with Millennials
Millennials aren’t confident consumers. They’re afraid of being laid off or lack of employment. They’re “real-time” consumers, shopping for today’s needs and waiting until the last minute to shop for tomorrow’s event. On top of that, retailers take notice that consumers prioritize technology and appreciate having the ability to get what they want, when they want it on the newest devices. This leads to:
- Prioritization of new Technology
Consumers, especially millennials, MUST HAVE the newest tech products that satisfy their habits. Since a tech and apparel purchase isn’t likely to happen at the same time, retailers are going to have to nail down how to attract those customers during new product launches.
- The Internet of Things
With the growing interest in the latest technology, retailers will look to reinvigorate their stores. They’re betting that shoppers will want to live like the Jetsons, with everyday moments touched by things like alarm clocks that emit coffee scents to nudge them out of bed and “smart” chopsticks that detect food contamination.
- Loyalty programs
These will cease to exist. Forward-thinking retailers will find new ways to make each experience unique and memorable, and future programs will reward shoppers for engagement and specific actions.
- POS Technology
This will eventually become extinct. Cloud based systems have the opportunity to outperform in all areas of speed, functionality, performance and looks.
Chances are, we probably won’t see every consumer wearing a smart device by next year, but this won’t stop forward-thinking retailers from experimenting with the technology.
- Augmented Reality
You’ll start noticing virtual fitting rooms, and interactive displays will be designed to provide the retailer with critical information on their customers shopping habits
- E-commerce vs Brick and Mortar
Expect to see more e-commerce only players enter the brick and mortar segment and open physical stores. The majority of retail still takes place offline but despite good news for traditional retailers who encourage that, expect competition to heat up with these new entrants.
Stores who have implemented or plan to implement a true omni-channel experience will thrive, as shoppers demand an improved customer experience.
- Localized customer demand
Digital marketing/social media allows for businesses to tailor messages to local businesses. Retailers will be looking at ways to tailor stores product selections to meet local needs.
Just for the sake of naming a few… we understand there are infinite components retailers will be thinking about this year. Change will be happening indefinitely. We’re excited to experience the tech landscape and observe how it will impact our industry.
Let us know what you think. What will be retailers’ TOP priority this year?