Think millennial shoppers don’t matter? Think again. Those currently ages 19 to 33 now amount to 75.4 million people, surpassing the number of living baby boomers, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau in April 2016.
As e-commerce-loving consumers, the group has caused a major shift in shopping patterns traditionally set by their parents and grandparents. Here’s how to make some adjustments to your grocery store to attract and keep younger customers.
Understand What Millennials Value
In the realm of grocery shopping and food management, immediate consumption is no longer relegated to snacks or restaurants. According to research by the Food Marketing Institute, more than a quarter of daily meals consumed by 20-somethings include items purchased earlier that day. While millennial shoppers plan less than their older counterparts, they still plan. And their decision to buy a product or shop at a particular grocery store is influenced by the traits the generation is most well-known for. The best way to appeal to this market is to first understand it.
- Crave authentic, personalized experiences
- Demand self-serve solutions
- Care about company values
- Prefer experiential retail environments over transactional ones
- Expect and embrace technology
Decisions made about grocery shopping aren’t limited to the goods they take home. Yes, they care about natural, affordable, fresh food options — but they also care about the store’s contribution (a brand their values align with), convenience and overall experience.
Improve the Shopping Environment
Do what you can to make shopping an experience. For example, Kroger recently brought back its Taste of Italy nationwide event where customers can sample authentic foods and “eat like an Italian” at the grocery chain. Doing something similar, like celebrating holidays or embracing a theme, can create a retail environment that’s more experiential than transactional.
Offer Free Wi-Fi
Among millennials, social consumption (and decision making) is the norm. Offline, millennials tend to travel, dine and shop in groups. Online, they like to share their experiences, opinions and whereabouts on sites like Facebook, Yelp and FourSquare.
While grocery shopping at your store, make doing any of these things easy by providing free Wi-Fi. In addition to social sharing, they may use it to quickly search for new recipes, find coupons or check online grocery lists.
Provide Grocery Delivery
For $15 a month, Amazon Prime members can order their groceries online and receive same- or next-day delivery with Amazon Fresh. At select Walmart stores, customers can order online and receive free same-day pickup. You may not be able to beat these big-box grocery chains, so you’ve got to join them. Consider adopting your own delivery plan or partnering with a local delivery service like Shipt to get the job done.
Supply Speedy Checkout Solutions
Convenience is king. Whether you offer short lines at self-checkout lanes or fast and user-friendly point-of-sale experiences, millennials want it and they want it now. With QuickBooks Point of Sale, grocery and specialty store business owners can seamlessly track inventory and sales while catering to these customers. With Always-on Mode, you won’t ever miss a sale because even if the store or machine’s internet goes down, you can accept credit card payments and process later.
Offer Store-Brand Organic Options
Millennials can be broken into three segments: tech-oriented, green and clean, and environmentally conscious. Clumped as a whole, many millennials care about what they are putting in their body, what they are supporting with their money and how their lifestyle and choices affect the environment.
Because of this, organic options have soared in popularity in recent years. To align yourself with these ideals, consider offering a store-brand version of popular organic foods. It communicates your company’s core values and gives your customers more affordable organic options. If staple brands like Campbell’s Soup Company can embrace organic, so can you.
Make some adjustments to your store and brand to attract and keep young consumers.