Survey: 53 Percent of Millennials Say Their Favorite Retailers Offer an Omnichannel Experience

Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International announced the findings of a joint survey designed to identify the knowledge gap that exists among retailers and millennial shoppers.

Targeting millennial consumers, as well as U.S. retailers, the survey gathered insights on shopping preferences and retailer beliefs around attracting and engaging this particular shopping demographic.

"One of our goals when we launched this survey was to gain insight into how millennials are shopping and offer those findings to retailers so they can better attract and engage this specific demographic," said Jenn Reichenbacher, senior director of corporate marketing, Merchant Warehouse.

"What we found with these results is that retailers are just accepting myths as reality and engaging in activities that don't necessary transfer to making the sale or creating a relationship with their millennial shoppers," Reichenbacher continued. "In today's world, with so many opportunities that evolving payments technology presents, there's really no reason why retailers shouldn't be creating deeper relationships with their customers."

Survey findings busted a number of myths surrounding the millennial shopper, including:
  • Every millennial wants to use mobile devices, and looks for loyalty and rewards programs -- Not all millennials are created equal, but many of them are information-seeking shoppers. Of the millennial consumer respondents, 60 percent said they do their pre-purchase research through retailer websites.
  • If you offer a discount, they will come -- Though true to a point, almost 50 percent of millennial consumer respondents reported they'd only be willing to go to a retailer location to use a coupon if it offered at least 20 percent off.
  • Retailers will always market differently to various shopper demographics -- Survey data showed an even 50/50 split between those retailers that choose to market differently to various demographic segments, and those that don't.
  • Retailers are way behind where they should be when it comes to delivering a seamless, omni-channel experience -- 53 percent of millennial consumer respondents stated their shopping experiences are seamless across channels with their favorite retailer, though they do admit retailer sites are often lacking in extensive functionality.
  • There are some people who still use cash as a primary payment method -- 68 percent of millennial consumer respondents reported using credit or debit cards primarily, but 25 percent admit their payments methods vary between paper (cash, coupons) and plastic (debit, credit).
"The reality is that there just isn't room for error; with so much competition -- whether in-store or online -- retailers can't risk losing this important demographic," said Alexandra Frith, director of marketing, Retail Pro International. "These findings have allowed us to offer our retail customers strategic guidance to better understand their primary demographics, while more effectively delivering appealing options for the millennial shopper."

Some additional key findings, specific to holiday shopping preferences for the 2013 holiday season, include:
  • In-store vs. online -- More than 90 percent of consumers reported there are some products they prefer to buy in-store versus online. Specifically for the 18-29 age group, they prefer to shop in-store for apparel (nearly 73 percent), footwear (76 percent) and home goods (62 percent).
  • High-ticket items -- This same group prefers to buy electronics online (approximately 84 percent), but elects to buy furniture (almost 81 percent) and jewelry (nearly 62 percent) in a store.
  • It's a solitary enterprise -- Nearly 80 percent of consumers reported they often do their holiday shopping alone, a point supported by the role online research played in making shopping decisions this holiday season (mentioned in myth #1).
  • E-Commerce lagging -- Slightly more than 50 percent of retailers report having an e-commerce presence, with another 12 percent stating they're in a "research phase."
The survey was completed in Q4 2013 through SurveyMonkey with more than 1,000 responses from millennial consumers and nearly 100 retailers.
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