To millennial customers, technology isn’t just something that’s nice to have; it’s a necessity. Unlike those born before 1982, who view mobile, apps, online searches and social media as a luxury, millennials see them as the norm having either been born into the age of the internet or at least experienced it as a constant in their adult lives.
The sheer numbers of these digital natives cannot be ignored by business. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials surpassed baby boomers in 2015 to become the largest generation, with a population of 75.4 million in the United States. As the youngest reach the age of adult consumers, this is starting to translate into a large portion of the retail market. Accenture reports that by the year 2020, this group will have an annual spending power of $1.4 trillion and will represent 30 percent of all retail sales.
Recent data shows that while e-commerce currently only makes up 7.7 percent of retail sales, it’s growing at a rate of more than 15 percent, compared to only 2 percent for all retail sales. Which means that to realize the market opportunity millennial consumers present, retailers must embrace technology and omnichannel operations in a big way.
Using IoT to Attract and Engage
Retailers are increasingly turning to IoT technologies to attract and engage their millennial customers. Outside of the store and in the digital world, beacons, apps and digital signage are key to attracting the attention and interest of this generation. Inside the store, the use of kiosks and proximity beacons that can trigger targeted content through apps is key to engaging that customer and successfully making the sale.
Smart retailers are also leveraging IoT technologies to enable more convenient transactions. Things like online purchasing that offers in-store pick up options and mobile POS systems that can speed up the payments process by enabling checkout anywhere on the sales floor are key examples of how these technologies can ease the transaction experience.
- Digital signage: In-window and outdoor digital displays visually attract and engage millennial consumers, driving them into the physical retail space. And once they’re inside, millennials find digital signage more compelling than other groups. According to a report by a Barkley marketing firm and Boston Consulting Group, 38 percent of millennials are influenced by in-store signage, compared with 28 percent of the general population.
The most effective digital signage ecosystems for retail make designing, scheduling and publishing a wide selection of multimedia content quick and easy.
- Beacons: Beacons are mini location-based mobile communication devices—about the size of your thumb—that are valuable tools when it comes to powerfully engaging always-connected millennials. Using close-range networking technologies, these devices can send messages to the phones of consumers within a certain physical range, which studies have shown to significantly increase the likelihood that an individual will make a purchase during that store visit.
According to location targeting platform inMarket, retailers used beacons and proximity marketing to spark $7.5 billion in millennial spending during the 2015 holiday season.
- Apps: A third extremely valuable tool for attracting and interacting with millennials is apps. Retailers can send push notifications with apps to attract customers. Though some other consumer groups may not be so keen on them, millennials actually welcome this kind of messaging. A study by Retale revealed that 89 percent of millennials said they would act on push notifications they received from their favorite brand.
A survey of 1,600 millennials by Forbes found that nearly half have downloaded a mobile shopping app. Fifty-four percent said they liked shopping through apps because the overall experience was better than shopping only, and 27 percent said they used apps to take advantage of sales and discounts.
Complete Computer Solutions, an Intel partner based in Atlanta, consults with public and private institutions to ensure maximum utilization of technology—including IoT devices—in the organization. Learn more about why Complete Computer Solutions is recommending the use of IoT-connected technologies such as digital signage, beacons, apps, kiosks, tablets and more to effectively attract and engage millennial customers in the retail space.