Millennial Shoppers and Their Impact on the Retail Industry

Millennials are the latest generation of adults. They're young, they're tech savvy, and they're ready to take on the world. What do these smartphone-based shoppers have to do with the retail industry? Absolutely everything. Millennials have a major impact on every element of retail, from the way items are displayed in stores to the way warehouses adapt to their shopping habits.

Let's take a closer look at the influence Millennials have on merchants and distribution centers alike.

The Demand for Fast Response

Millennials are used to getting information in seconds. They might have grown up with dial-up internet, but they were still young when search engines put a world of data right at their fingertips. This group of young adults expects fast response times, whether it be for customer inquiries, shipping, or return processing. At every stage of the sales experience, retailers and order fulfillment groups must maximize their efficiency to give Millennials the responses they need. These shoppers know that a faster experience may only be a click away, and they're not afraid to move on if their needs aren't met.

Shop Online, Return in Stores

Another way Millennials impact the retail industry is in the way that they shop. Millennials are drawn to online shopping because it is fast and convenient. This also gives them a chance to comparison shop if they are looking for a specific item at the best price possible. Online shopping creates an obvious increase in demand for shipping and fast order fulfillment, but there is a second side of the equation that retailers have to prepare for – the returns.

Even though Millennials like to shop online, they don't necessarily like to make returns online. This is the opposite of convenient, requiring shoppers to print a shipping label, go to a shipping company, send the product back, and wait for a processing period to get their money back. It's much easier for them to just go to their local store to return an item they bought online. Retail stores should make room for these inventory adjustments so they do not end up with a surplus of items in the back of their stores.

Viral Trends

Whenever something takes over the internet, it's considered "viral." This is usually a video or funny catchphrase, but it can also be a product. For example, many of the innovative products that launch on Kickstarter and other crowd-funding websites have the potential to take off in popularity because they are so different than anything else on the market. This creates a new an unexpected demand that warehouses have to adjust for. Even if the warehouse isn't storing the final products, they may hold some of the manufacturing materials that go into viral trends. Millennials fuel the virus by sharing the products with one another on social media, so warehouses, shippers, and manufacturers have to be prepared for a large boost in demand at any time.

Online Reviews and Feedback

Millennials are quick to share information with one another, which means they actively create negative press for a company if they have a bad experience. Conversely, they can help create a positive buzz about a company if they have a good experience. By maintaining high customer satisfaction at every step of the shopping and shipping process, companies have a chance to maintain strong online reviews from consumers of all age groups. With the right amount of support from upcoming generations, the retail industry as a whole has tremendous growth opportunity for the future. .

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