The landscape of the retail industry is quickly and steadily evolving, and whether you’ve been in the retail business for a few years or a few decades, you have a lot of change to prepare for. Today’s retail market has seen the rise of millennials and Generation Z consumers, whose digital savviness, values, and expectations diverge significantly from those of previous generations. As you grapple with such a shift, you may find yourself wondering how to genuinely engage with these influential customer groups beyond pandering to the latest trends and fads.
While it may be intimidating to see these younger shoppers reshape the retail world with their penchant for technology and their distinctive consumer habits, you should also consider the many opportunities for growth and innovation that they present to your retail business. From embracing up-to-the-minute tech solutions like virtual payment terminals to prioritizing sustainability in your branding, these approaches are your keys to unlocking a vibrant future in retail—one where you can expect to be both relevant and resonant to the younger generations.
Below are six important suggestions for retailers tapping into the millennial and Gen Z market:
1. Offer Flexible Payment Options
Cash may have been king in their parents’ and grandparents’ generations, but a wider range of payment methods is highly necessary if you’re catering to millennial and Gen Z markets, both of which grew up with a wealth of digital and technological innovations available to them. To meet the needs of consumers who don’t quickly default to cash, consider broadening your menu of payment options and modernizing your current point of sale (POS) with a payment terminal that can accept multiple modes of payment.
Maya Business’s all-in-one payment terminal machine for businesses based in the Philippines is a standout product in this aspect, as it accepts a variety of digital payments—from e-wallet payments to QR Codes on top of traditional payments using debit and credit cards. This simple addition to your business can go a long way in making the checkout experience more pleasant for your millennial and Gen Z customers, thus earning their loyalty and making them more predisposed to recommending your brand to others in their circles.
2. Champion More Sustainable Choices
If there’s one banner under which millennials and Gen Z’ers have been rallying constantly, it’s sustainability. Many don’t just prefer ethical practices and products, but actively demand them from the businesses they choose to support.
Championing more sustainable choices in your business, from sourcing eco-friendly products to minimizing waste in packaging, will allow you to build a powerful, ethical brand narrative that resonates deeply with these consumers. A commitment to sustainability can then be a prominent feature of your retail business’s identity and influence millennials’ and Gen Z’s purchasing decisions and other interactions with your brand.
3. Enhance Your Millennial and Gen Z Customers’ Service Experience
As you may already know, having the best products on your shelves is not enough to stay relevant in the retail market. It’s also a must for you to touch up on your business’s customer service training and delivery.
Consider deploying innovations you haven’t yet added to your customer service arsenal, like real-time chat support and a more expedient system for returns. Strengthen your delivery too, as every touchpoint should relay your commitment to convenience and quality service. Moreover, leverage the power of surprise and delight in your service strategy. Even small gestures that impact customer satisfaction can transform a one-time millennial or Gen Z buyer into a lifelong advocate for your brand.
4. Implement Adaptive Feedback Loops
In the fast-paced environment of retail, staying static is akin to falling behind. To captivate the hearts of millennials and Gen Zs, you need to “move at their speed,” so to speak, and nothing ensures this better than adaptive feedback loops. You can actively seek their opinions on your products, services, and overall brand experience. Some channels you can explore in this vein are social media polls, customer surveys, or direct feedback in-store.
The insights you gain should fuel continuous improvement. It is essential for you to listen, adapt, and innovate in response to the preferences and needs of your younger consumers. This approach will demonstrate that you value their input and will propel your brand to evolve alongside them.
5. Reinvent Your Brand Story for a Newer Audience
Remember that a compelling brand story can do more than simply cut through the noise of advertisements from your competitors. It can reintroduce your existing retail brand to a new generation and prove why the business has done well in the first place. Make it a point to create branded content that does more than describe your products; it should also encapsulate the lifestyles, dreams, and aspirations of your customers, and be more inclusive about what those might entail for millennials and Gen Z compared to your older customer demographics.
There are several ways that you can creatively articulate your brand story, like immersive video content or thoughtfully written blogs about issues that your customers regularly deal with. Regardless of the strategies you choose, give your millennial and Gen Z customers a story to hold on to—hopefully one that naturally intertwines with their own.
6. Broker More Inclusive Connections
Inclusive marketing is about genuinely understanding and reflecting the diverse world of your consumers. When you weave inclusivity into the fabric of your brand, you’ll be able to tell every potential customer: “You belong here.” That is a particularly powerful message to send to customers who hail from the millennial and Gen Z demographic.
This message can be delivered through campaigns that showcase a diverse array of individuals, product lines that cater to various needs and lifestyles, or community engagement that resonates with a wider audience than is normally assumed for the retail niche. These strategies all have the potential to turn your younger customers from casual consumers into passionate ambassadors for your brand.
Lead the Charge in Next-Generation Retail
In addition to being more technology- and convenience-driven, the millennial and Gen Z retail experience is characterized by connection, experience, and values. If you have your eyes trained on these things and know how they’ll apply to your retail operations, you’ll be equipped to stay relevant to your younger consumers—and, more importantly, to be in authority in your industry for catering to the next generation.