Millennials crave exceptional experiences. They spend money on travel and a lot of it. According to Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) president, Dean Sivley; “They [Millennials] spent $4,594 on vacations in the past 12 months with an average of $1,312 on each vacation. That is an 8% increase from 2016.” Meanwhile, travellers of older generations are spending $18 less than last year on travel on average according to MMGY Global’s Portrait of American Travelers. But it’s more than just travel that can be an experience.
According to Richard Krulik, the CEO of Briggs & Riley, the most important part of travel to a Millennial is the mentality of exploration. 70% of millennials want to explore and learn from the cultures and communities they visit, seeing themselves more as “experience pioneers” than as travellers or vacationers. It’s this spirit of discovery and uniqueness that can be harnessed by good marketers to make every retail touchpoint feel like a new culture and exclusive experience.
By creating unique, cravable experiences through atmosphere and employee interaction; retailers can tap into the experience market. For this generation, everything is about how a brand makes the consumer feel. So the key to tapping into Millennial buying potential is to create an atmosphere. This is demonstrated by places like The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and Chick-fil-a, who have created an atmosphere that is unique to the brand and feels different from buying coffee or chicken anywhere else. A big part of success like this is a focus of these brands is consumer service. They strive to make the consumer feel valued in every aspect. This topic is explored in more detail in, “How To Market To Millennials In The Experience Economy.”
While many say that physical stores are fading, Millennials have been found to be almost twice as likely as Baby Boomers to visit a brick and mortar store on average; according to Rob Garf, VP of Industry Insights for Salesforce Commerce Cloud. However, Millennials do expect sales associates to be knowledgeable, helpful, and genial. From a store employee they want more than help, they want a human connection too. This is part of creating the right sort of personalized touches to a buying experience. That’s not to say that the out-of-store experience is not important. All aspects and touch points of a strong retail brand should have a unifying culture and experience. Technological consumers expect a seamless purchasing experience no matter where they are or how they are buying.
To bring in the Millennial consumer, it takes experience engineering. Brands must make their customers feel valued. They need an atmosphere and purchase experience that has a lot of personality, is friendly, and helpful. Millennials value their time and want in-store employees who know what they’re talking about while being a pleasure to talk to.