The implications this millennial world brings for retailers are significant. Not only do retailers need to be up to speed on the basic technologies and platforms available for them to interact with their millennial customers, but they also need to join them together seamlessly from the customer’s point of view.
And, while many retailers may have made advances in the last 12 months in their multichannel experience, there is still some way to go to close the gap between millennials’ expectations for a consistent experience across all retail outlets, both physical and digital, and the experience retailers are currently offering.
Mind the consistency gap!
The shopping preferences of millennials are very different from past generations: there is no longer such a thing as an offline or an online journey to purchase, as every journey is a combination of both.
This is a generation that is hungry for convenience so brands need to be able to connect the dots between supplier, location, customer and product information in real-time, anytime.
For millennials, a seamless shopping experience means the ability of a retailer to deliver a consistently personalised experience for each individual customer, at every touch point – anytime and anywhere.
To this end, retailers need to be able to have a single “conversation” with their customers – not one that changes from smartphone to PC to physical store. Fail to meet these needs and the customer will turn to a competitor who does meet them.
The good news is that, compared to last year, online retailers have made progress in ensuring basic consistency with 83 per cent of online retailers now offering a device agnostic solution and specifically adapting the design and functionality of their sites per channel.
However, in a recent survey, among the 86 per cent of retailers who claimed to sell through multiple channels, one in two admitted that there was some degree of inconsistency in what they offer to customers across their different online channels.
The main area of inconsistency is the company’s discount and promotional offers. While 77 per cent of consumers expect the same discounts and promotions to apply on- and offline, in reality over a third (36 per cent) of retailers admitted that these offers are not the same across the different channels.
Product ranges differ across channels for 12 per cent of retailers, and a quarter of retailers admitted that their loyalty schemes are channel specific. Contrast this to the 92 per cent of British online shoppers who expect consistency when shopping from a single retailer, and there is still some way to go to close the gap between customer expectation and retail reality.
Curious how you can deliver a millennial-ready checkout? On page two, Kevin Moran explains what changes ecommerce portals need to implement to keep millennials clicking “buy now”.
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