Prep for Black Friday: Back to School Lessons from the Millennial Shopper

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As summer slowly fades, the exhilaration of fall and the new school year is an especially important time for millennials. So much so that 80% of millennials referred to the new school year as “a chance for a fresh start,” according to a new study by Teen Vogue and the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Apparently, with a fresh start comes a fresh fall wardrobe. According to the same study, 70% of millennials were looking forward to trying new trends and styles, and a whopping 85% planned on spending the same or more this year on back-to-school/fall fashion purchases.

Exciting news—especially for retailers. And important lessons to keep in mind as we head towards Black Friday and the Holiday Shopping season.

With millennials, who are notoriously known as being the social generation, most people are quick to assume that they will spend their back to school or holiday shopping time, and dollars, online. On the contrary, only a shocking 6% of millennials plan to shop exclusively online.

59% of those surveyed plan on shopping in-store, while 35% plan on splitting their time between online and brick and mortar shopping. With over 90% of millennials planning on spending time in stores, it’s crucial that retailers prepare.

So, why is the tech-savvy digital generation putting technology aside?

While Generation Y holds value in online browsing, it is the instant gratification and overall tangible experience of shopping at a physical location that reigns supreme.

But not all retailers are in the clear. According to those surveyed, there are a few non-negotiables in order to successfully gain them as consumers. Shoppers are looking for variety, quality, and fair pricing. But beyond product, millennials demand a clean and organized store and shopping environment.  And while they love the in-store customer journey waiting in long lines are a major turnoff.

This insight gives retailers a rare advantage to appeal to the sought after millennial shopper, but raises the question—how?

In order to reach millennials, retailers should create a space that will keep the attention of the shopper and improve the overall customer experience. Take advantage of your queue and make the best use of every square inch of your retail space. Create an enticing check out area with in-queue merchandising that will spark and keep their interest and keep that checkout line moving.  But, remember to keep it organized. An overwhelming and disorderly queue will not only discourage shoppers from browsing, it will hinder them from returning.

Millennials are quickly becoming the generation with the strongest buying power. If retailers want to gain and keep generation Y, they need to adapt to their particular shopping styles and create a seamless experience that is memorable from start to finish. If they don’t, millennials may resort to what they know best—the internet.

Either way, it’s not too late for retailers to get ahead. The following months are crucial for retailers. From back to school, to Black Friday, to the holiday season, retailers have plenty of opportunities to perfect the customer experience.

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