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Millennials Sound Off: The Retail Experiences They Want

At the World Retail Congress last week, Ypulse spoke about the Millennial consumer trends that will shape the future of retail, and oversaw a panel of Millennials from around the world as they told what they’re looking for in their mobile, online, and in-store retail experiences. These sought-after consumers have a very different set of expectations from previous generations, and very specific ideas about what their omni-channel interactions with a brand should look like. Today we’re lifting the curtain and giving you a look at what they want, in their words. 


“The thing that makes me return to a store is the turnout of new products/merchandise. Every time I visit a certain store, I should be on an adventure of new discovery. I want to see new products, made out of new materials. New fashion trends, new designers/fashion houses showcasing their moments of creativity. I want to be inspired by a store. Live for the brand, I want to walk out of that store with a shopping bag. I want to all around the city, showing off that I have just been shopping in that retail space. It’s these characteristics that make me return to a store. [The ideal in-store experience is] something that takes you to a different place. An experience that gives you a bit of a lift. Character and charm always works. But also an experience that makes you feel like it was made for you, is the ideal for any retail space.” –Dan S., London

“The best in-store experience a store could give me is through its customer service. The attitude of a sales person is vital since it affects my emotions and the probability of me purchasing something. A trait of majority HK sales assistant is following you around the store, hard selling and sometimes even showing dissatisfaction and judgment. This type of action really puts you off when shopping and prevents me from visiting again!! However if a sales person is engaging and polite; doesn’t hard sell you and is genuinely caring and interested in helping, I will definitely remember the service provided. Human factors aside, a retailer with visually stimulating store interior makes me feel excited and hyped up to shop at. These aesthetic factors would definitely prolong my stay in the store which would eventually trigger my motivation to purchase things.” –Tiffany L., Hong Kong

“I would like my in-store experience to be enjoyable and inspiring. It would be fun shopping if the store can communicate effectively how the products will affect the purchasers’ lives. An ideal in-store experience would make consumers imagine their lives with the products in the store. It would also make customers want to stay in the store, making the store not only a place to buy.” –Kei S., Japan

“Inside the store (as well as outside too) mood is key. The brand must be clearly understood through the color palette, lighting, fixtures, and atmosphere (scent, music) of the store. For that matter, the merchandise and the store need to match. Any disconnect and I will surely notice. If I need help I will ask! I do not need to be asked how I am, a pleasant greeting will suffice. And I do not need every associate giving me compliments, calling me sweetie, and suggesting items for me. I will walk out. Instead, friendly associates with great product knowledge, and who are extremely helpful (after you ask for help of course) are best. Old fashion personal selling it OUT. Millennials live in a world of transparency. We can find the best price for any item within seconds on our smartphone, and we can get the truth about how a dress looks on us through our friends on social media.” –Victoria K., NYC


“Zara has a beautifully designed app in my opinion. It is quick to understand. It has beautiful, inspiring campaign photographs displayed on a large scale. This shows off the detail of the clothing and other merchandise. Personally, I won’t buy anything direct from it, however as Zara is so easily accessible in London, the App is the simplest, most enticing way of luring me into the store by displaying its merchandise probably in a better way than they do in-store. Nonetheless, the App shows it’s campaigns, videos and more.” –Dan S., London

“The best shopping via app experience would be to provide great efficiency and shopping that requires less input of information. This was something that I have already experienced recently in China where e-commerce and m-commerce is very strong. I was in Shanghai, China for my internship and one day my earphones broke. I desperately needed a new pair but shops in China close relatively early (compared to HK) and I couldn’t do any shopping especially at the time I get off work. My co-worker told me about and taught me how to shop via their mobile platform. Normally I would’ve rejected the idea especially having to spend time to go through inputting all my details such as name, email address etc. but there was a speedy registration method which was to simply input your phone number and they would send you a verification code to act as your account registration. As a tourist in China, I didn’t have a bank account or credit card that I could use to pay with but to my surprise, they had an option of paying the deliveryman who was a JD agent. They offered same day delivery but since I ordered late at night, they still managed to have it delivered to me early in the morning within 12 hours of ordering! To summarize, the best app experience is through the act of omni-channel retailing where I can shop online/on my mobile phone yet be able to pay physically and to receive the product almost immediately (i.e. same day delivery).” –Tiffany L., Hong Kong

First things first, I do not like shopping on apps. I feel I do not need 20 apps, each for a different store I like when I could just visit each of their webpages on 1 app. I really would only use one if there was some kind of promotional incentive toward in-app purchase. That being said, things I would want are…Cohesiveness between the brand and the store’s mood and the app, the ability to view the entire product catalog, and sort/filter it to fit my needs, if they have retail stores, I can see if they have the item I want in store near me, free returns and in store returns, store locator, in-app promotions.” –Victoria K., NYC


“My ideal experience is exploring an individually designed website, a website that looks like no other retailers website, but is still easy to browse and understand. I want to understand the brand and more about their values. Lookbooks are an important part on encouraging me to make purchases. But also a detailed description and high resolution photos of the product I am browsing is essential to making me understand exactly what I could possibly be purchasing.” –Dan S., London

“The future online shopping app should be functional and intuitive. Users should be able to look at products from the angle they want, from various distances. I think the amount of information provided is the most important. Since you cannot actually touch the products when shopping online, things like visual information, price, color variations, size, weight, etc. are essential. I would like to know exactly how the product I am buying is.” –Kei S., Japan

“An ideal online shopping experience would be through Instagram. Nowadays you can make purchases through Facebook and even Twitter but currently the most popular social media is Instagram. Many companies are on Instagram right now and they would post a lot of attractive photos of their merchandise. And when you see something you like, you have to remember and recognise it to find it on their online shop or in store. What I would like to see in the future is shopping through Instagram pictures. That would cut the time I use searching for the product and provide me the ability to purchase the moment I see something I like!! !It’s mainly all about the efficiency. Like mentioned before, our generation is an impatient lot – we want to be able to do everything almost immediately and the same goes for shopping. It’s best if shopping online only requires the least amount of clicks and also be in your hands in the shortest amount of time possible!” –Tiffany L., Hong Kong

“Most important: FREE RETURNS! I will not shop at an online store if it does not have free returns. The only time I will shop somewhere that does not offer free returns is to repeat purchase something I have already previously owned/used. The site [should also be] cohesive with brand image and in-store experience.” –Victoria K., NYC