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Selling to (and Employing) Millennials

Millennials, an oft-misunderstood demographic. What defines the typical consumer? What's different about how they shop? Most importantly, how do you position your store and products accordingly? Millennials make technology-based buying decisions, prefer a simple and unencumbered lifestyle, respond when experience trumps product. Become #THEstore with these helpful learnings:



• People seek experiences: evidenced by malls closing, brick & mortar shrinking

o Competitive advantage is excellence in customer service

• Keep everything fresh and new to engage customers by store / with product

o Host events and change displays so same product looks different

• Tell the story of the product; tie purchases to a cause/purpose/mission

o Seek experiential merchandise that is well made and long lasting

o Often attached to the story behind a product above the price

• These customers seek very instant gratification, right now, this minute

o Drone and GPS technologies are coming for instant delivery!



• Millennial shoppers always taking pictures; documenting life through photos

o Cell cameras always ready to share; is your store capture-worthy?

o Create “Insta-friendly” photo op area to encourage shares, posts, tags

• Zoos “enrichment project:” customers purchase toys with which animals play

o Team then take and send photos to customers for an experience

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• Willing to spend more money on items that last (as opposed to buying cheap)

o Not necessarily checking prices but just purchase the things they love

• Tend to shy away from an overwhelming amount of choices

o Do not want multiple color and style options for an item

• Probably avoid technology (Amazon), calendars (on phone) and music (various

platforms) altogether, to not compete with well-established sources

o Stock items they cannot find on Amazon or anywhere else

o Purchase items that are locally made or made in the USA

• “Making it mine” popular: patches and pins on backpack, jacket, purses

o Stocking more apparel with big pictures, graphics, scenes

• Don’t sell“dust collectors;” are minimalists that don't want a bunch of "stuff”

o EX: figurines, thimbles, spoons, postcards, souvenir mugs, shot glasses



• Retain fun, positive work environment, so they enjoy the "experience" of work

o Need hear positive reinforcement, compliments, instant feedback

• Millennials need believe in / feel part of the mission, “be in line with my values”

o Want to contribute in a meaningful way

o Give real responsibilities, not just busy work

• Be SO flexible with staffing, and adapt accordingly

o Happy working fewer hours, will not arrive to work even a minute early

• Change dress codes: tattoos, piercings and dyed hair are now acceptable

o No longer take phones away from selling floor


And after Millennials?

Gen Z and Gen Alpha are next. Technology is rapidly evolving, as is how these generations are educated. They will be the most educated people in world history. Consider: what jobs will they work? Who will staff the stores? While previous generations were driven by the most appealing in-store experience, the shopping experience of Gen Z consists of a few clicks on a mobile device. Are you ready?

Las Vegas Market would like to thank its participating writers for the valuable insight!


Thank you moderator Melinda Greene, Kansas City Zoo (ZAG) & discussion leaders:

• Melody Caban, Amon Carter Museum of American Art; MSA Next

• Brandan Johnson, Henry Vilas Park Zoo; ZAG

• Karli Stroh, Integris Health; AHVRP

• Heather Barnes, Intermountain The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital; AHVRP

• Kaitlyn Bailey, John Ball Zoo; ZAG

• Michael Balbone, Perez Art Museum Miami; MSA Next

• Kate Botelho, Preservation Society of Newport County; MSA Next

• Sally Miller, UH Ahuja Medical Center; AHVRP

• Aubrey Herr, Walters Art Museum; MSA Next



Tag:Winter 2020 Las Vegas MarketRetailerBlog Post