Demo Jam

Salesforce Demo Jam

Salesfloor won it all at the Salesforce Commerce Cloud #DemoJam! With only 3 minutes to pitch our product, we went up against the likes of Dynamic Yield, PerimeterX, Amplience, and battled it out for the Demo Jam crown. Congrats to all for their great demos! Watch the video to see our demo!

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about Salesfloor.

How Retailers are Using Video to Increase Sales

Videos, and the immediate distribution of them through the internet has profoundly changed the way we live…and shop. We’re relying more and more on using video to help us discover and compare products we are looking to buy and retailers know it.

Traditionally, the merits of video were merely practical: it helps boost your Search Engine Optimization (SEO), helps your brand establish trust, and increases discovery to your site if you have a video people love to share. But there is so much more to video. Video still does all of that, very well, but it can be worth much more to your brand.

Retailers who adopt video are finding amazing ways to connect with customers or potential customers, and seeing existing customers’ average order value rise. In a recent survey, 57% of retailers said video is responsible for increased spend from the average customer.

So, how are winning retailers using video? Here are some great examples:

They’re engaging fans of their brand regularly

A clever campaign by JCrew on Instagram Stories

Retailers who are hesitant to deploy video should understand that more video means higher order values. A study found a startling 69.49% increase in order value the more videos a retailer deployed.

J Crew is a company that is using video very effectively. On their Instagram, they regularly post videos. Some videos are explanatory (like “How to Wear Denim on Denim”) while others are aspirational, but all of them serve a purpose: to draw Instagram followers in and entice them to make a purchase. Instagram Stories, a collection of pictures and video can help set the mood for customers looking to buy a new jacket and get them to purchase after seeing a 30-second clip. What’s more, Instagram stories expire in 24 hours, so J Crew has deployed them for sale announcements to drive excitement.

J Crew can also post a video of a new product and get immediate customer feedback. This can help them tailor future product lines based on verbatim criticism or praise.

They’re demonstrating products to bring the in-store experience home

A playable electric guitar shirt is much more interesting with video, no?

Photographs of products offer a limited amount of information about an item because there is little context. A video is an excellent way to show how large an ottoman is in relation to a child, a dog, or an average sized couch. Video can show you how a dress pattern moves or how long the hem REALLY is on a dress, where a photo simply cannot provide this kind of detail. Video can also show how easy it is to use a product (think Apple’s demo videos for everything from iPhones to their Airport Wireless Routers) or how a product can be useful. This is important for items that can’t be experienced in real time online. It helps bridge the experience of trying on an item to the immediacy of looking up a product online.

They’re showing customers how to use their products better

Instant Pot is the home appliance equivalent to a viral video thanks to their creative recipes

How do you explain how to use a brand new product with a learning curve over the internet? Video. That’s how holiday 2017 sensation Instant Pot was able to quickly ramp up their business, by simply showing how to use their category-busting product. Since there are some safety procedures and an interface to learn, Instant Pot knew that by making videos about how to make the most popular and easy to cook dishes, they could lower the barrier of entry.

They also have more advanced videos on their site to explain to intermediate and advanced users how to get the most out of their Instant Pot. It’s working. The Instant Pot is not only wildly popular, it has inspired dozens of knockoffs from major kitchen appliance companies.

They’re creating shareable experiences

This is a fun execution of video and experience!

Can you convert your fandom into walk-in traffic to your store? Give them something to talk (or snap) about. Recently, Eddie Bauer launched Cold Rooms in some of its retail locations to allow consumers to test out the efficacy of their cold weather gear. The Cold Rooms are designed to look like Ski Chalets and even have ice sculptures inside. Why? So visitors will share their video #Experience on their own social media, thus encouraging others to do the same, and raise awareness of this new way to shop.

They’re making themselves indispensable with advice

The Home Depot has a how-to for everything…including the kitchen sink!

Can you get someone to buy something they didn’t even think they needed? Ask The Home Depot. They have hundreds of videos showing how easy it is to change the hardware on a bathtub, or install a baseboard, for example. Home Depot understands that people don’t just need to be walked through the steps, they might actually need to know what products they’ll need to complete a project.  Seeing objects in context and in use is crucial to convert shoppers who are unclear about a product’s worth or how to use it.  Showing customers the complete project allows them to get fully equipped and retailers to sell more items, increasing cart size per visit.

Video might seem like a big undertaking for your company, but there are so many advantages that it’s worth your investment. There are so many ways it can be applied to draw in shoppers, and so many advantages to trying out a video campaign, you might want to try to start out small. Even a few videos highlighting a sale, your staff, or a special event can help you connect with and build an audience.

Once you build out a video plan and commit to creating regular videos, you could see boosts that retailers who have mastered video are already enjoying. Are there other examples you can think of? Please let us know in the comments below.

 

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ABOUT SALESFLOOR

Salesfloor is on a mission to unlock the power of today’s omnichannel sales associate by connecting them with shoppers online and in-store. We believe that associates are product experts, trusted advisors and social influencers for customers in their local communities. In today’s omnichannel world, retail chains have a unique opportunity to leverage their biggest competitive asset: their people.

 

Learn all about how this works here.

The Evolving Customer

The Evolving Customer

Watch “The Evolving Customer” webinar moderated by Nicole Leinbach Reyhle, Retail Minded’s Publisher. Hear from Salesfloor’s CEO, Oscar Sachs who discusses Salesfloor’s latest study findings. The study uncovers how today’s customers want to communicate with sales associates, what information they communicate to customers effectively, and where retailers are missing opportunities to create connections with customers.

Bringing the Online Experience Offline in Retail

When Amazon announced it was going to build brick and mortar concept grocery stores – Amazon Go – it made huge waves in the media.

What was particularly interesting about it was how they incorporated a feature usually only seen online: Amazon’s ‘Buy with 1-Click’ button.  This feature would create a seamless experience for the shopper: just select the items you want and then simply walk out of the store.

What Amazon knew about this move is what smart retailers are looking to do in brick and mortar properties: design stores replicate the best features of online stores. If that sounds like something out of a Black Mirror episode, it’s not. It’s going to be a hot trend in the future.

We’re far enough into the online retail revolution where we know there are some teens and adults who have grown up digital-first, even in retail. This fundamentally changes the purchase expectations and flow of a growing number of customers.

The ease of which regular shoppers online can navigate from consideration to purchase, to owning the item is a key part of the next generation of retail design.

In November of 2017, Target unveiled a redesign centred around the changing ways people shop.  The store has a dedicated entrance for “express” shoppers: through this entrance, wine, beer, and package pick up are the first things you see. The store also has curbside pick up where a store employee will deliver an order you placed directly to your car.

If none of these options applies to you, you can use Target’s second entrance, for shoppers to “discover” new items or brands.

This twofold strategy emulates two distinct shopper patterns that exist both offline and on: The on-demand shopper, and the discovery shopper.  By redesigning the space, Target hopes to capture both styles in a way that directly addresses their needs.

Apple got rid of the purchase queue years ago by making on-demand checkouts a reality in their stores. Customers can either walk up to any sales associate with a handheld device check themselves out with the Apple Store application. Just pick up the product you want, scan the barcode, enter your AppleID, and voila! You can walk out of the store with your new purchase without interacting with anyone.

The trend for retail seems to be moving toward operating the way we have become accustomed to shopping online all in an effort to bring people back into brick and mortar stores. The seamless process marries the best of both worlds: the ability to touch and feel the product in real-time and to ask crucial questions about the product while avoiding waiting in checkout lineups.

How can retail stores without hundreds of millions of dollars in renovation budgets and armies of sales associates effectively leverage this trend?

Set up a fast lane in-store

Set up an area somewhat close to your entrance for customers to pick up, return, reserve, or gift wrap items easily. If you’re unsure whether this will work, try setting it up during a busy time for shopping or returns for your store. It’s important to look at adoption rates, and solicit verbal feedback from those who choose to use this option.

Consider having grab and go stations in your store for the most commonly purchased items. Make these stations close enough to a cash or a mobile cashier to make the experience quick and easy for the customer

Work with your regular customers to make in-store shopping smarter

Using Salesfloor, you can set up predictive newsletters with items in them you know your customers will love, and let them know you can prep these items for them to pick up on demand in-store.

Look for purchase cadence for regular customers and be predictive about what you think they might need. This helps your associates become indispensable to these customers, who will likely return for the same simple, efficient service,

Increase discoverability

Merchandising isn’t just about showing off new lines or items that are on trend right now. Merchandising is also successful when it helps fulfil a need.

Online stores often bubble up “bought together” items in an effort to anticipate a customer’s needs. Grocery stores in vacation spots have long known the value of placing disposable barbecue kits in near the barbecue sauce, and solo cups and ping pong balls in with the mixer or near the beer.

Anticipating common uses or combinations of items in your store and either packaging them as kits or displaying how someone could package them/buy them together is a great way to increase total spend, and a great way to establish your store as a place that solves problems, thus increasing purchase frequency and word of mouth.

 

We live in an increasingly on-demand economy, but that does not mean that in-store retail is obsolete. Without resorting to wildly expensive redesigns, you, too, can leverage what the larger stores know about the change in how e-commerce trained customers shop and use that to gain strategic advantage by tweaking how your store and associates deliver the shopping experience from outside the store to the cash.

Winning the Holidays with Seasonal Associates

The holiday season is upon us, and the frenzied shoppers are already busting down the doors. With December quickly approaching, it will only get crazier. Retailers know that this means it’s time to brace themselves and their stores for the rush of holiday shoppers. Bracing yourself means that you need to have enough associates on the floor to handle the volume increase. And though this sounds simple enough, you may find yourself asking the same question every year:

“How do I find good seasonal sales associates and get them trained quickly?”

In this article, we’ll look at the best tips and tricks for bringing the much needed extra manpower on board for the holidays and how to prepare them for their new roles in the bustling months ahead.

Recruiting

So you need to hire, but where do find the right talent? The good news is that there are a number of options available to you. They key is to make sure you get in front of the right people in order to streamline the process.

Student job boards: Students make for great seasonal associates for two reasons: they are always eager to earn extra money, and the temporary status of the work suits their schedules. You can target student job boards in programs that are relevant to your business as well. Fashion retailers can target fashion students. Book retailers can target literature students. They can bring their new knowledge to enhancing their position.

Online platforms: If you want a broader reach, consider posting on online platforms like Indeed.com and ZipRecruiter, where your post will be found by keen job seekers looking for seasonal work. Also consider doing an online search for your local temp agency where you can find those looking and available for short-term work.

Social media: Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have fantastic targeting algorithms that allow you to get in front of people within interests in your area and people familiar with your brand. This means that you’ll be connecting with the people who are already knowledgeable about your company and industry. Finding new hires this way could reduce the time it takes to familiarize them with your products and how your store operates.

Referral bonus: Consider giving your current employees a little extra compensation for referring somebody they know who is looking for a job. Your employees will be more inclined if something is in it for them, and your hiring decision can be better informed, coming from somebody you already know and trust. This could add an extra bonus: friends of your employees would have a personal mentor as they are coming on board.

Virtual reps: Have you considered a virtual representative? At Salesfloor, we are piloting a virtual associate program that can help boost your online sales with a personalized storefront and virtual seasonal reps. With more and more people shopping online (or at least doing their research ahead of time), beefing up virtual reps could be a great way to scale your staff 24/7!

Training

Finding and hiring your seasonal sales associates is only half the battle. The other half is getting them ready to hit the floor and service your customers quickly and efficiently. There are a few surefire ways speed up this process.

After-hours training: Consider bringing in your new hires after-hours for a couple intensive training sessions without the distractions of customers and other employees. Week-long training sessions can be time-consuming and slow.

Buddy system: Sometimes the best way to learn is by jumping in head first. Pair up new employees with your preferred veteran staff for a busy hands-on learning experience on the floor with someone who you trust to show your new hires the way.

Instructional content: Above all, make sure you’re providing new employees with the best tools to succeed and remember to supplement your training regimen with learning materials like videos and binders covering common questions, problems, and troubleshooting. Ensure that they have this at their disposal, and will continue to self-train beyond regular training sessions.

Salesfloor can also help make training easier with our mobile associate app. Using Salesfloor’s Omnichannel Clienteling module gives the seasonal sales associates access to a comprehensive view of their customer’s profile, purchase history and shopping preferences for both online and in-store transactions. This makes it easier and quicker for seasonal associates to develop a relationship and recommend products based on past purchases and omnichannel customer profile and all of this information is in one place.

We know that the holiday season is a balancing act of increasing both service and efficiency, but with the right know-how you can stay ahead of the crowd and plan for it.

Happy holidays and we wish you an enormously successful season!

KPI’s Retailers Need To Track: Part II: Retention, Talent & Marketing

In our last article, we talked about a bunch of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) you can measure to help keep track of your retail goals, including overhead costs, online and in-store sales. These are all really great ways to measure your success. However, reducing costs and increasing sales may not be your only or immediate goals. There may be other metrics that you want to watch like: attracting and retaining talent, customer retention, even brand awareness. So, then how do you track these?

In this article, we explore what KPIs you can use to evaluate your customer retention, talent attraction, and local marketing tactics.

The Measurement Process

Like we mentioned in KPI’s Part I, measuring your KPI performance this way is a handy skill that helps you create conclusions based on the differences in your trends over time. It’s a vital skill for any retailer, and it’s easy to do with just a bit of experimentation!

First, you’ll need a control group: the reports on your sales, costs, or whichever figure you’re monitoring from 12 months ago. Next, make your business the test group by implementing one of these nifty KPI metrics for a while. Compare those figures from your current period to those from 12 months ago to see the results of your metric!

KPIs for Customer Retention

Cart Abandonment Rate:

Driving sales in e-commerce can be difficult when so many virtual shopping carts never make it to the checkout screen. While it may seem like counting a loss, measuring cart abandonment rate has a thick silver lining: it helps you keep track of potential customers that are already interested in your product:

Cart Abandonment Rate = 1 – (Total # of Completed Purchases / # of Carts Created)

Of course, you don’t need to do the math yourself. Marketing softwares such as those offered by BigCommerce can track your cart abandonment rate and respond by initiating email campaigns that convince customers to complete their shopping journey.

Customer Lifetime Value

Customer lifetime value is the projected revenue that a customer will generate during their lifetime. It’s a great metric that both measures your business’ return on investment and helps you strategize upcoming goals. Determining the lifetime value of a customer is simply a matter of calculating all the sales your average customer has completed since their first purchase and then doing some number crunching:

Lifetime Value = Revenue x Gross Margin x Average # of Repeat Purchases

Don’t know how to measure the average number of repeat purchases? Just use order gap analysis to calculate the time between each of your customers’ consecutive purchases.

KPIs for Talent Attraction

Source of Hire

Job boards, store windows, employee referrals, flyers—it’s easy to spread out your recruitment ads to fish for applicants. But did you know that employees’ performance tend to correspond with their source of hire? Tracking your recruitment sources and comparing them to performance reviews will help you determine which forums send the best candidates to your hiring manager. You can easily measure the effectiveness of your sources by using an applicant tracking system like iCIMS.

Offer Acceptance Rates

It’s easy to reflect on how many of your job offers are accepted, but what about those that were rejected? Understanding why your offers aren’t accepted by candidates can drastically inform and improve your recruiting process, which alone makes it worth measuring:

Offer-to-Acceptance Ratio = Total # of Offers / # of Acceptances

Low offer acceptance rates are a telltale sign that your employment incentives need improvement. It could be that you’re not meeting your candidates’ expectations or cultural tastes, or that they’ve taken a better offer from one of your competitors. Minimize the risk of losing attracted talent before they’re even hired by analyzing candidate feedback and offering new incentives.

KPIs for Local Marketing

Ranking and Reviews in Local Search

When locals search for a product you sell, is it your business or your competitor’s at the top of Google’s results? What about on Yelp, Facebook, or Apple Maps? Your ranking in keyword searches for your area is a strong indicator of how accessible your store is and how far your brand awareness has spread. Low rankings can be improved through SEO optimization tactics, such as pining for positive reviews online. The more (high) ratings you have, the more likely it is for your business to be featured with a star rating within search results. Take a look at Google’s review guidelines to learn more about how it’s done.

Social Media

Social media interactions can be pivotal in establishing your popularity among both current and potential customers, in addition to their own local network. While using this KPI effectively requires you to actively monitor and encourage growth in followers, likes, and so on, it yields great rewards in terms of brand awareness and foot traffic. Both Facebook and Twitter also have built-in analytics that can track customer engagement and web traffic to your site by tracing your shared links. Why not encourage check-ins and use of hashtags so you can follow along with your customer’s engagement?

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Want more KPI tips and tricks? Check out our other article on easy-to-use metrics for overhead costs and both online and in-store sales!

3 Things You Can Do to Avoid the Retail Apocalypse

Every day, there seem to be more announcements that retailers are in trouble or closing. Certainly, there are multiple reasons why retailers fail, but there are a few common themes to the current closures that we can all learn from. Understanding the needs and habits of today’s consumer, we cover some ways to avoid joining the growing list of retailers affected by the retail apocalypse.


1. Make service a priority

 

Most interactions in retail stores are about servicing customers, and it’s important to recreate that experience online. That’s why all apocalypse-thriving retailers have web features that bridge the online and offline service gap that plagues other lagging brands.

Rent the Runway, an NYC-based luxury label rental store, has increased business by 100 percent since opening their first store by amping up their online service to the quality of that in-store. Online, customers can purchase rentals or even request items to be delivered within three hours for a nominal delivery fee. Rent the Runway also makes their reputable fashion and fitting consultants accessible to customers online via their “Dedicated Unlimited Concierge Team” service subscription.

Similar digital service features are also being successfully used by high-end brands such as Harry Rosen to connect customers to in-store sales associates. In fact, after integrating customer engagement banners into webstores, service requests went up 50 percent on average.

2. Be data-centric

Personal data is the key to understanding the preferences and purchasing patterns of shoppers, and it’s been beauty giant Sephora’s secret weapon in becoming retail apocalypse-proof.

Sephora uses customer data to construct highly personalized marketing campaigns, offers, and adverts to convince casual browsers to check-out online and in-store. The insights gained from their online shoppers and VIB loyalty program have helped them become the number one selling cosmetics retailer in Canada and the US, and their brick-and-mortar locations are only expanding.

Using data from online channels also helps in offline marketing. Monitoring customer product reviews online, for example, now helps retailers better manage and display their inventory in-store. Best Buy has just recently integrated such data into their own stores by displaying online reviews alongside their products on shelves, which makes their customers’ omnichannel shopping journey even easier.

3. Use the newest tech

Top-tier retailers are using only the latest gadgets to improve their shopping experience. In fact, you could say there’s now a retail arms race to integrate new “endless aisle” technology into stores.

Endless aisle-ing is yet another omnichannel approach that allows customers to easily order out-of-stock items on their mobile device or other convenient interfaces installed in their local store.

Walmart Canada has already begun pioneering endless aisle tech by outfitting touch screen kiosks in its stores and providing local pick-up options to combat the rivalling convenience of other online mega-retailers such as Amazon.

Sephora has also geared up its stores by collaborating with Pantone to produce ColorIQ, a program that pairs shoppers’ skin tones with a matching shade of makeup. The beauty giant continues to produce other creative solutions through their innovation lab in a race to be one of the most tech-enabled brands in the market.

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Brands taking steps to improve their service, data collection, and tech demonstrate the difference between surviving and thriving. Bringing the online shopping experience into brick-and-mortar stores and vice versa expands consumers’ purchasing options, and that convenience brings foot and web traffic running to brands.

If you, too, want to avoid joining the ranks of the retailers succumbing to the retail apocalypse, you’ll need to keep up with your customers’ expectations. And yes, we can help with that.

How Each Generation Shops

From Baby Boomers to Generation Z, each generation has its own defining political and cultural traits that have characterized their coming-of-age and shopping habits.

As of now, there are four major generational demographics that economists have recognized as distinct markets: Baby Boomers, Gen X,  Gen Y (more popularly known as Millennials,) and Gen Z—each of which is unique in their perspectives on marketing tactics and purchasing preferences.

If retailers want to make their products available to each generation in the best way possible, they need to adapt their brand experience in a way that accommodates all the options that these groups rely on. That’s why we gathered all the data you need to know just what each generation is looking for.

Baby Boomers Shopping Habits
Born 1946 to 1964

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

When it comes to the joy of shopping, Baby Boomers want convenience above all else.

The Boomer generation is just too stressed for shopping trips, as Colloquy reports that at a 27 percent response rate, Boomers were the least likely to agree with the statement “I think shopping is a great way to relax” when compared to all other generational groups. They also scored well below Millennials in terms of browsing with only 37 percent of Boomers reporting that they would be likely or willing to explore a store for new products.

The Baby Boomer’s aversion to browsing is understandable; with a greater amount of disposable income than all other generations, Baby Boomers also have the spending power to make purchases without necessarily hunting down for bargains in-store, which is a greater characteristic of Millennials and Gen Z. However, Boomers are very comfortable browsing and shopping online with 85 percent of surveyed Boomers reporting that they research products on their web browsers. In a surprising finding by Immersion Active, Boomers aren’t opposed to taking a leap of faith to purchase products online either as 66 percent of Boomers reportedly make regular purchases via web devices.The root of Boomers' brick-and-mortar preference is tied to their high expectations of customer service.

Although they regularly make purchases online, Baby Boomers by far prefer the personal engagement of traditional stores when making actual purchases. At 84 percent, Boomers were highest amongst all survey groups in expressing their preference to shop in-store, and 67 percent report that if an item they want is available online or in a nearby store, they prefer to purchase it at their local retailer rather than order online.

The root of Boomers’ brick-and-mortar preference is tied to their high expectations of customer service. According to a LoyaltyOne survey on generational consumer habits, Boomers were the most likely demographic to take their business away from retail chains following a subpar exchange with one of their sales associates.

Boomers place immense value in brands based on their interactions with sales associates, and retailers can capitalize on this by offering the experience through digital channels. Social web store features and clienteling apps have become vital tools in engaging the Boomer generation and catering to their reliance on associates’ recommendations.

When it comes to social influence, Boomers are more selective on what sources they trust for brand recommendations. Although 82 percent of Baby Boomers are on social media, they are still unlikely to use the platform as an influence on their shopping habits, and only 12 percent of Boomers say they look to friends and family for advice on their purchases. Instead, Boomers are twice as likely as Millennials to have their interest sparked by the reported popularity of a brand when purchasing a new or unfamiliar product. This suggests that brands with bold and consistent omnichannel engagement are likely to perform better among the Boomer demographic due to their suggested popularity.

Generation X Shopping Habits
Born 1965 to 1980

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

Sandwiched between the Boomers and Millennials, Gen X is often referred to the “middle child” generation due to its reputation of often being forgotten by marketing specialists. Because of this, there is little market research into their spending habits compared to those of Boomers and Millennials. This comes as a shock when the spending power of this generation can’t be ignored: Gen Xers produce 31 percent of total US income despite representing a mere 25 percent of the population.

One of the greatest obstacles in the marketing approach to Gen Xers is that they tend to shop more conservatively than other generations. They’re more sceptical about marketing tactics, which means they won’t be won with flashy advertising but with practicality and proof of performance.To avoid regretting their expenditures, Xers won't purchase a product until they've researched it thoroughly, which is why they make extensive use of search engines, online reviews, and social media networks before making a purchase.

To avoid regretting their expenditures, Xers won’t purchase a product until they’ve researched it thoroughly, which is why they make extensive use of search engines, online reviews, and social media networks before making a purchase. That being said, having any doubts about product performance will easily dissuade them from their buying journey.

Gen X prefers honest explanations of product usage and trusts clienteling techniques that cater to their own habits. When marketing to Gen Xers, it’s critical to make products and services especially visible and accessible online by using SEO strategies to optimize their research and an active social media presence to demonstrate a personable and authentic brand image. Digitally, email is one of best channels for reaching out to this generation. Gen Xers check emails on a regular basis and are more likely to respond well to personalized offers based on their previous purchases. Like Baby Boomers, Xers also rely on quality customer service for brand loyalty as they see store associates as people who can relate to them on a consumer level and relay the best options for their purchases without an upsell.

Generation Y (Millennials) Shopping Habits

Born 1981 to 1997

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

Whether for social media, research, or purchases, Millennials use web devices in nearly every aspect of their life, even while shopping in stores. 68 percent of Millennials demand the convenience of omnichannel accessibility during their shopping journey, which means having an integrated experience that can effortlessly transition their consumer data from their smartphone, to laptop, to local store, and back again.

Millennials are so omnivorous in their point-of-sales that as a generational demographic, they’re the most likely to make use of every avenue of purchasing available to them. In fact, younger Millennials (aged 20-23) on the cusp of Gen Z are more likely to shop in a brick and mortar store when compared to older Millennials (aged 32-35,) who are the most likely within the group to buy via mobile. And overall, when Millennials shop for something both online and in a store, they are much more likely to make a purchase in a store than they are online. But while the myriad of online stores and buying options today have offered Millennials the ability to be more selective with their purchases, the options can get overwhelming as Millennials actually tend to prefer browsing for products across brands rather than settling on an option and purchasing it.

 82 percent of Millennials say word-of-mouth is a key influencer of their purchase decisions.Seeing shopping as a social event is another trait that strongly characterizes the Millennial market and sets it apart from older generations. In stark contrast to Baby Boomers, research shows that Millennials enjoy shopping and see it as fun and relaxing activity to be shared with friends and family. According to Gen Buy, the grand majority of Millennials report that they shop with other people at least half the time, and 60 percent consider advice from their friends when deciding what to buy.

Of course, the social consumer experience is not only limited to shopping mall excursions but social media as well: 68 percent of Millennials admit to being strongly influenced by social media posts while 84 percent say user-generated content has at least some influence on what they buy.

Retailers should recognize that social media is extremely important to Millennials in their purchasing journey because even though they value the opinions of family and friends, they seek out the experiences of other consumers above all. Not only do 90 percent of Millennials research product reviews online, most tend to rely on other consumers’ reviews on retailers’ sites over those of people they know. By taking advantage of all these forms of recommendations, it’s no surprise that 82 percent of Millennials say word-of-mouth is a key influencer of their purchase decisions.

Like Gen X, Gen Y is also sceptical of overbearing marketing tactics. Millennials tend to reject retailers who constantly push products through messaging and instead prefer authentic interactions with sales associates who happen to also be consumers of their retailer’s products. Millennials are also likely to interact with brands and retailers through social media sites such as Twitter and Facebook in order for their voices to be heard.

Gen Z Shopping Habits

Born 1998 to 2010

Source: BuzzFeed Video
Source: BuzzFeed Video

Gen Z is the generation of digital natives that can’t remember a time before Internet, and as such, the platform has become the foundation of their buying process. Gen Z uses their plethora of Google resources to compare prices, styles, availability, and ratings of products to make the most educated purchase possible. Being savvy with price-checking tools also makes Gen Z more selective when making big expenditures with many often buying products only when they’re on sale or even delaying gratification by waiting for newer products to become available.

While much of their research is digital, Gen Z still enjoys visiting stores as a social excursion in the same way Millennials do. In fact, 84 percent of Gen Zers intentionally structure their shopping trips a social activity and wait to accumulate a solid list of wants and needs before visiting stores with friends.

Despite being inundated with digital content, Gen Z still prefers to shop in-store versus online, but they crave a store that can keep up with their tech more than anything.Like Gen Y, Gen Z is also likely to contribute to consumer-generated content for brands by voicing their comments and concerns online and by seeking out interactions with brand representatives. As Sara Spivey, CMO of Bazaarvoice, says, “Companies should encourage Gen Zers to share photos and videos with their purchases, create polls and contests on social media and, most importantly, listen and respond to their feedback.”

Catering to Gen Z’s online expectations by providing consumer-generated content is crucial for retailers, because not only do these teens respond extremely well to word-of-mouth, but they actively participate in it as well. Spivey claims that 40 percent of Gen Zers give online reviews “very often,” which in turn encourage others within their generation to purchase products. In this sense, Gen Z consumers sharing brand content on social media can easily be considered unofficial brand ambassadors.

Despite being inundated with digital content, Gen Z still prefers to shop in-store versus online, but they crave a store that can keep up with their tech more than anything. Companies need to understand that technology drives Gen Z’s shopping experience—an established social media presence should complement touchscreens in brick and mortar stores if retailers want to keep tech-savvy Gen Zers eager to interact with their brand.

Ironically, the instant gratification that Gen Z has become accustomed to through their digital habits isn’t entirely sustainable from their web devices when it comes to shopping.

“Two-thirds say they’re comfortable shopping online but still prefer to shop in-store for the instant gratification of not having to wait for their orders to arrive,” says Spivey. “The shopping trend of buying online and picking up in-store is quickly gaining traction with this group.”

Additional research shows that other wallet-friendly incentives, such as coupon offers (all generations love coupons,) are also a great way to bring Gen Zers in store.

Considering how Gen Z and Gen Y both still shop both online and offline, and reportedly more so than older generations, retailers need to prioritize enhancing both groups shopping experiences by appealing to their affinity for technology and perspective on shopping as a social enterprise. Offline, stores should promote a chic, tech-savvy, communal atmosphere. Online, retail sites should interact with and promote user-generated content to provide a seamless shopping experience across the average Gen Zer’s many juggled web devices.

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With generations old and new increasingly using web devices to help them make purchases, digital tools are shaping the way customers across all generations interact with brands. Using the right clienteling apps and social media engagement techniques will help retailers build lasting relationships with consumers who continue to seek social and authentic customer service experiences during their buying journey.