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Connecting Small Businesses With E-Shopping Millennials: Insights from Millennial 20/20 Speakers

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

How can boutique businesses connect with e-shopping-obsessed Millennials? We spoke to retail platform Trouva to find out…

Millennial 20/20 London will bring together leading brands and disruptive startups to discuss how young consumers are shaping the future of commerce—and some of those leaders and disruptors are sharing their insights on Millennials and Gen Z with our readers before the big event on May 3-4.

Want to hear more? Use the code YPULSE25 to get 25% off your Millennial 20/20 London tickets here!

 

Millennial and Gen Z shoppers continue to redefine retail. Their predilections for online and now mobile shopping have shifted the industry, introducing an era of showrooming and webrooming, and generally disrupting the traditional retail landscape as we’ve known it. Ypulse research has found that when asked, “In general, would you rather shop online or in a physical store?” 51% of 18-33-year-olds now say they prefer to shop online. (We’ll note that the majority do continue to say they prefer to shop in-store for clothing specifically.) While they may want to support small businesses in theory, their love of Amazon and the convenience it provides has them turning to their screens to shop again and again. Just look at the 2016 holiday shopping season.

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Becoming omni-channel—or even “channel agnostic”—seems to be the future of retail. According to marketing firm Criteo, successful retailers are “moving seamlessly between” online and off, covering return shipping costs or allowing in-store returns, innovating their online experiences, and keeping a high volume of product available in both spaces.

But how do small businesses compete? Joining e-forces might be one solution. E-retail platform Trouva is bridging the gap between online and off for more than 250 independent boutiques in the UK. The site gives brick-and-mortar boutiques the tools to sell online, acting like their own website, but also brings them together under one e-commerce marketplace. Shoppers visiting Trouva see the same products and prices those retailers are offering in-store, giving Millennials the feeling that they’re visiting and supporting the actual unique locations. The technology allows small businesses the chance to compete on a global scale, and provides solutions that speak to young consumers’ instant-gratification expectations—like same day delivery in London.

Trouva’s Managing Director Lucy Ward will be at Millennial 20/20 to speak about young consumer loyalty, and we got her take on how to engage the next generation of shoppers, and what Trouva has learned about what really attracts Millennials:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

Ypulse: What do you see as the most unique differences between Millennials and consumers from previous generations?

Lucy Ward: Millennials are an incredibly interesting consumer group for us at Trouva. Not only do they represent the last generation of the 20th century, but they’re also the first truly digital one, creating a unique balance between old century beliefs in tune with new technology requirements.

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This rare dichotomy is something we’ve seamlessly been able to keep at the heart of our business model, as we represent the bringing together of independent bricks-and-mortar businesses, which some may consider traditional, onto one connected e-commerce platform. We bring small retailers the benefits of unprecedented scale, and for consumers, access to hundreds of independent shops previously only accessible locally.

In that sense, it’s not a case of looking at what the unique differences are between Millennials and consumers from previous generations, but rather working out how those two worlds can be brought together to thrive in the digital economy.

YP: What has your brand done or changed specifically to better appeal to Millennials?

LW: Bringing together the worlds of offline and online is what we’re all about, and we’re therefore very well poised to keep up with rising customer expectations as well as the trend to discover products that not everyone else has. We’ve not really felt it appropriate to change our strategy to appeal specifically to Millennials, as they’re already well engaged with what our business is trying to achieve, and the distinctive product ranges available through our network of independents.

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing

YP: How has your brand stood out from the competition to capture young consumers’ interest?

LW: We set ourselves apart from our competitors by the shops we work with and our ingrained sense of purpose. We recognize the fierce competition from giants like Amazon and John Lewis and we are on a mission to save the high street by helping independent retailers grow whilst retaining what makes them special; their uniqueness.

We’re able to bridge the gap between online and offline to better capture the attention of younger audiences that are increasingly accustomed to shopping online which, in turn, is giving our independents the edge they need to compete online.

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingYP: What do you foresee as the next big trends that will impact young consumers’ shopping behaviors?

LW: From my experience, young consumers value authenticity. That means ensuring the experience is genuine and meeting the demands of customers who are increasingly seeking a better connected, joined up shopping experience, no matter which channel they are shopping in. We offer instant click and collect, one-hour delivery and worldwide shipping which are all services millennials expect. We’ve even made deliveries across London in as little as 25 minutes (faster than Amazon could ever achieve from a warehouse).

Combined with that, these customers respond incredibly well to knowing that the products they’re buying are chosen by real people who are truly passionate about what it is they do; running their bricks-and-mortar boutiques. By shopping on Trouva customers are helping our community of one-of-a kind independents remain on our high streets and supporting the local economy.

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YP: What is the one thing all brands should know about selling to/reaching Millennials and the next generation of consumers?

LW: The one thing that I would re-emphasise when it comes to selling to the next generation of consumers is the significance of bringing together the old and the new to effectively create a compelling offering. Although these consumers want everything available at the touch of a button, at the heart of their experience they still want to preserve individuality. No one wants a future where high streets represent the same series of identikit chains. This is a value we live by at Trouva and one that we very much keep at the heart of our business as we grow.

 

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketingLUCY WARD

Lucy Ward is MD of Trouva, a global shopfront that gives independent retailers with big ambitions the benefits of unprecedented scale and interconnectivity. Trouva, an e-commerce network, combines powerful technology, big-brand marketing expertise, and at-scale buying capability to give local businesses global reach. Lucy has worked with many prestigious retailers throughout her career including including John Lewis and Net-a-Porter whilst at My Beautiful City – where she was head of Marketing, Communications and New Business. Previous to this, she worked as the Marketing Manager for Jack Wills. Lucy is passionate about getting girls involved in tech and a strong advocate of the benefits of mentoring. She has recently been accepted onto the ALT (Ambitious Ladies in Tech) programme by LocalGlobe.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.