October 24, 2017
Non-Profit Retail Symposium
Understand the demographic to position your retail store
Presented by Las Vegas Market, in collaboration with Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resources Professionals (AHVRP; ahvrp.org), Museum Store Association (MSA; museumstoreassociation.org) & Zoo & Aquarium Buyers Group (ZAG; zaggift.com)
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. Explore how these characteristics apply to your retail business.
Retail as an "Experience"
- People seek experiences: evidenced by malls closing, brick and mortar shrinking
- Competitive advantage is excellence in customer service
- Keep everything fresh and new to engage customers by store / with product
- Consistently host events, change displays (same product looks different)
- Tell the story of the product; tie purchases to a cause/purpose/mission
- Seek experiential merchandise that is well made and long lasting
- Often attached to the story behind a product above the price
- Also tell stories of philanthropy – in addition to product stories
- These customers seek very instant gratification, right now, this minute
- Drone and GPS technologies are coming for instant delivery!
Always Document with Photos
- Millennial shoppers are always taking pictures; documenting life through photos
- Cell cameras always ready to share what they are seeing; is your store inspiring and products capture-worthy?
- Create an “Insta-friendly” photo opportunity area at front of your store to encourage sharing, posting and tagging
- Zoos report “enrichment project,” that customers purchase toys with which animals play, then send those photos to customers
Products that Reflect/Resonate
- Willing to spend more money on items that last (as opposed to buying cheap)
- Not necessarily checking prices but just purchase the things they love
- Tend to shy away from an overwhelming amount of choices
- 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
- Stock items they cannot find on Amazon or anywhere else
- Purchase items that are locally made or made in the USA
- “Making it mine” popular: patches and pins on backpacks, jackets, purses, vests
- Stocking more apparel with big pictures, graphics, scenes
- Don’t sell things that “collect dust;” minimalists that don't want a bunch of "stuff”
- EX: figurines, thimbles, spoons, postcards, souvenir mugs, shot glasses
Successfully Employ Millennials
- Retain fun, positive work environment, so they enjoy the "experience" of work
- Need to hear positive reinforcement, compliments, instant feedback
- Millennials need to believe in / feel part of the mission, “be in line with my values”
- Want to contribute in a meaningful way, so give the employee real responsibilities (not just busy work)
- Be SO flexible with staffing, and adapt accordingly: happy working fewer hours, will not arrive to work even a minute early
- Change dress codes: tattoos, piercings and dyed hair are now acceptable, 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 highest, 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 member consists of a few clicks on a mobile device.
Thank you to these millennial non-profit retail experts for sharing their perspectives:
Moderator Melinda Greene, Kansas City Zoo (ZAG); table leaders:
Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals
- Karli Stroh, Integris Health
- Heather Barnes, Intermountain The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital
- Sally Miller, UH Ahuja Medical Center
Museum Store Association
- Melody Caban, Amon Carter Museum of American Art
- Michael Balbone, Perez Art Museum Miami
- Kate Botelho, Preservation Society of Newport County
- Aubrey Herr, Walters Art Museum
Zoo & Aquarium Buyers Group
Learn more about Las Vegas Market's Industry Partners
- Brandan Johnson, Henry Vilas Park Zoo
- Kaitlyn Bailey, John Ball Zoo