Appeasing the Millennials

millennials (Small)For a long time, the collective consciousness has been preoccupied with the baby boomers, that massive elephant that’s inched its way through the snake over the last long stretch. But a new force is coming into focus. While not as copious, millennials are now more vital to the Canadian economy than any other demographic.

More than 8.9 million Canadians were born between 1981 and 2000 — the millennial zone. Time for the retail world to take notice.

The Cassandra Report, a long-established annual study of emerging trends, generational insights and youth behaviour, took a look at what this cohort of consumers is keen for, on the retail front. More than anything, it found, young consumers aren’t into over-stimulating stores, and instead seek shopping environments and experiences that promote a sense of well-being.

Here are some highlights from the “Cassandra Report: Body Mind Soul.” Millennials:

– prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store where they can touch and feel products than on line (as counterintuitive as that may seem)

– are fond of the social aspects a brick-and-mortar shopping trip with friends offers.

– prioritize wellness.

– seek to achieve balance among body, mind and soul.

– are interested in “a wholly focused, in-the-moment state of being.”

– dislike loud and busy stores.

Given this (arguably surprising) reality, some tips for meeting millennials’ retail requirements:

– Strip down your store’s on-display inventory to a well-curated, thoughtfully chosen selection. While you’re at it, apply the same strategy to your store’s décor.

– Decorate your surroundings in peaceful colours. Rich hues and soft pastels like purples, light greens and blues fit the calming bill.

– Relax your shoppers with ambient noise that soothes their soul. Play nature sounds or peaceful classical music.

– Don’t forget the value of appeasing millennials’ sense of smell. Essential oils like chamomile, lavender and sandalwood are designed to help people achieve a sense of relaxation.

Millennials have significantly different values, beliefs and lifestyles from the baby-boomer generation. Retailers that acknowledge these critical distinctions will be rewarded with their business.