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Catering to the millennial generation of consumers

The world of retail is changing. This year’s headlines have been dominated with the closure of many brick and mortar stores such as Mothercare and Toys R Us and stories of the average consumer spending less than usual due to the difficult economic climate. In fact, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported in September that the volume of sales had dropped by 0.8% and while this may sound like a small amount, it was actually double the monthly fall that was predicted by retail analysts.  

However, there has also been stories of retail success, particularly with regards to  eCommerce growth; the ONS reported that in the first quarter of 2018 online sales accounted for 17.4% of UK retail sales, a 1.5% increase from the previous year. It is clear to see that consumer preferences have significantly changed from shopping in-store to shopping online but having a functional eCommerce site is no longer enough for retailers to win key market share. Instead, retailers must analyse consumer trends, behaviours and preferences in order to implement a successful eCommerce strategy, and one group key to business ROI is the ‘Millennial’. 

The millennial consumer 

Millennials are categorised as having an advanced relationship with technology, and it is therefore no surprise that this age-group has been a driving force behind the rapid growth of eCommerce, mCommerce and the significant focus on customer experience. It is crucial that retailers cater to their preferences and demands within their eCommerce strategies, especially as millennials are forecast to represent 35% of spending by 2030.

Convenience is the currency of success  

In order to successfully engage with millennials, retailers must make sure that they provide a seamless eCommerce personalised experience. Research has found that millennials value convenience very highly – our joint report with Inviqa revealed that 15% of millennials rank convenience as important in encouraging them to shop at the same website again. In order to promote repeat purchases, retailers need to make the shopping experience as simple and as easy as possible. While this sounds like a simple proposition, many retailers still fail to deliver a quality online shopping experience as it requires a continual investment of company resources and budget.

In the same report, 14% of millennials labelled a frustrating checkout as the most common problem they encountered when shopping online and 12% equated a bad experience with a slow purchase process. Retailers can make the online shopping experience more convenient by reducing the time it takes to checkout, this includes guaranteeing that customers can browse the website easily with slick, fast page loading times and provide clear and visual product information and imagery to enable more informed choices. Additionally, simple things such as retaining customer payment information can remove frustration and make the process faster, making the checkout process frictionless. Changes such as these can create great results. For example, British fashion footwear brand, Kurt Geiger, updated its eCommerce offering in order to improve its performance and scalability. As part of this update, Kurt Geiger implement a new out-of-the-box checkout process, which removed a massive conversion barrier by creating a ‘Guest Checkout’ as the assumed preference for online shoppers. This significantly improved conversion rates. 

Instant gratification

Convenience in online shopping isn’t just measured by the time spent on the website but also on what occurs after a customer has hit the buy button. The millennials’ need for speed is forcing retailers to rethink shipment options and to offer next-day and same-day delivery to their customers. When asked what a website could do to make it more convenient to shop, 27% of millennials from our research indicated a choice of delivery options while 10% demanded channels for a faster delivery. Founder of Ego Shoes Usman Riaz says speed is one of the key factors for the brand’s success. With a trend-conscious and international client base, the business had to ensure their website could support an efficient shipping solution in order to deliver globally and in a timely manner. In order to achieve this, Ego focused on implementing a shipping management integration which allows them to send out 30,000 units a month and empower their customers overseas to order the latest fashion and wear it the next day. This has made them very popular with millennials consumers.  Furthermore, Cox & Cox, an online homeware, furniture and textiles retailer, optimised the way it gets its products into the hands of customers even during its rapid growth of 20 percent year-on-year. By upgrading its entire eCommerce and related technologies at once – its eCommerce platform, its ERP solution and warehouse system – the webstore became mobile responsive and offers flexible shipping options. 

The way we shop has evolved to become intrinsically linked with the technology that we use within our everyday lives. As retailers vie to win the loyalty of millennial consumers, they need to analyse the way these consumers prefer to shop and implement a millennial-focused strategy or risk alienating a key demographic. 

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