The Art of In-Store Marketing for Millennials

Posted by: John Fecteau

The general concept of advertising is convincing a certain demographic that an item or idea is worth their time – and then having that interest translate into a purchase. This goal is no different with millennials, the group born in the two-decade span between 1980 and 2000. According to recent data from the U.S. Census Department, there are currently 83.1 million millennials in America.

This generation spends a lot of money. In fact, one study clocks in spending by this demographic at $600 billion each year. That amount is expected to increase to $1.4 trillion over the next four years, representing 30% of all retail sales in the country.

That’s a big piece of the market pie, and one that retailers must be mindful of when planning their in-store marketing schemes.

But what are millennials looking for? It’s a few things — and you might be surprised how different they are from traditional marketing best practices.

Using Technology to Motivate In-Store Buying

You can’t talk about millennial consumers without thinking about the shift to online shopping. That’s why brick and mortar retailers have to try harder than ever before to have online product interest translate to an in-store purchase.

That doesn’t mean conventional retailers can’t take advantage of the Internet. In fact, 89% of millennials told Accenture Research Group that if stores had real-time product information online that they’d be more likely to head to the shop to buy it. It’s something to keep in mind before the game of in-store marketing even begins.

Conventional retail outlets should also make strides to ensure their physical shop is discoverable to the reams of Internet searchers. By having a Facebook page, a Google Map address, and other online presences, more millennials will be able to find your business in the first place.

While social media, an email marketing campaign, or some other Internet search query may have motivated a millennial to enter a store, this technology continues to play an important role even during the shopping experience. A recent study shows that 40% of millennials are still checking their social media accounts while shopping – scanning their Facebook feed for recommendations from friends and family or looking for the latest deals posted on Instagram. They’re also using that connection to post about their shopping experience, going as far as to poll their network about which the item they like best.

Stores can take advantage of this constant connection through beacon-triggered technology. Beacon technology uses a bluetooth device to identify shoppers that are within a specified proximity to a certain location. Once a retailer knows that information, they can trigger special deals or product bursts to be sent — ensuring millennials receive an extra offer or discount at a time when they are most likely to buy.

Despite the technology still being fairly new, there are already studies lauding its effectiveness. Research done by marketing technology firm, Swirl, showed that almost three quarters of shoppers said they were more motivated to buy during a store visit if that location used beacon technology. Better adjusted than other generations to the varied uses of technology, millennials are more likely to embrace these new developments than previous generations of shoppers.

Of course this technology only works if shoppers still have an Internet connection while in-store. Check to make sure data networks can still reach every corner of your location, and if not, consider free in-store Wi-Fi. In a report called “How the Internet can Save the High Street,” there are a number examples of businesses who have successfully embraced the use of digital technology in attracting and maintaining their in-person customer base – including the valuable millennial generation.

Walgreens is one of these stores. Walgreens has prioritized using the digital space to make in-store purchases as easy as possible for their customers. Their smartphone app helps users find the closest stores, and will let customers know if the products they want to buy are in stock before they set foot inside. In-store wi-fi makes it possible for customers to access the app in any Walgreens they visit. While customers shop, they can map out the layout of the store and find where the products they want are located, all within the app. Walgreens also links their rewards card to fitness trackers, awarding customers rewards points for being active, and showing their customers that they care about their health.

So is your business ready to reel in the millennials? In what creative ways have you used in-store marketing to attract this demographic?

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About John Fecteau

Mr. Fecteau, a co-founder and executive with Worldlink Integration, became the CEO in 2008 after 7 years as the company’s COO. Prior to establishing Worldlink Integration, Mr. Fecteau spent 1991 – 2001 in the network...See John's full bio.