Millennial Mall Kids All Grown Up and Redefining Brick and Mortar Shopping Experience

Posted by: Jeff Fromm

Holiday shopping is now in full swing with the ultimate shopping weekend coming to an end. With millennials taking over the consumer market, a majority of the engagement strategies will focus on interactive experiences online and in the store that align with the Millennial Mindset®. Traditional stores found in malls especially are trying to engage millennials more than ever before as many fear that online spending may bring a halt to traditional brick and mortar shopping.

While the older half of the millennial generation, those born in the 80s to early 90s experienced mall life at its prime (those pesky mall kids were always causing trouble), the younger half has fueled e-commerce and has started to stray away from the traditional 2881685775_d8f686b0f0_zmall setting. In order to combat this trend, retail stores are rethinking their engagement strategies and are adapting to the multichannel shopping tendencies of millennials.

Millennials will more often than not use their digital expertise to research the products they want before they purchase them. In fact, nearly one fourth of all millennials will look a product up online before buying anything. Especially when it comes to retail, platforms like Instagram and Pinterest have created communal style shopping and look books that expand beyond just one brand’s catalog. As a result, more stores are offering less “branded” clothing and more styles that can be mixed and matched with other products from potentially, other brands. This has stemmed from a mindset that prioritizes access over ownership (think Netflix in comparison to DVDs). Millennials buying clothing want access to a variety of different styles, materials and brands – gone are the days of one-stop shopping.

Nordstrom jumped on board this summer when it created an Instagram account in partnership with that links product images to the purchase page on the Nordstrom website. According to Bryan Galipeau, Nordstrom’s director of social media, Screen Shot 2014-12-02 at 10.11.40 AMthis new platform will answer the most common questions posted on the Instagram pictures, “where can I buy this?” and “how much does it cost?” The combination of digital and physical shopping experiences has enabled Nordstrom to connect with a demographic that is digitally driven but still values the in-store browsing experience.

Despite the stereotypes, millennials are a loyal generation – their loyalty is just harder to come by and founded more on those in-store experiences rather than on the products. The stores that are creating a more collaborative environment for shoppers in the store in addition to just online are quickly becoming the most successful. Moosejaw, a retail outlet that sells active wear, has successfully created a space where shoppers can go to hang out. The newest store in Kansas City features a permanent Ping-Pong table and Nerf Gun war zone set up in the store. Oh, and they happen to have great adventure gear on hand. For a millennial consumer, going shopping is not always a result of needing to make a purchase, but rather a desire to spend time out with friends in a fun atmosphere.

Millennials are a generation of tech savvy digital natives but they are not completely ditching the traditional brick and mortar store. Instead, they are looking for retailers to redefine the way they function and adapt to a more open and inclusive generation that values experiences over sales pitches. The future of the mall relies on these young adults who have the power to make or break the retail and shopping industry.

Photo Credit via Flickr: Matthew Paulson & milena mihaylova 

About Jeff Fromm

Although not a Millennial as defined by his age, Jeff Fromm is the Millennial Marketing Guy. Jeff is President of FutureCast, a marketing consultancy that specializes in Millennial trends, and is a contributing writer at...See Jeff's full bio.