There’s a tidal wave of change coming to the grocery business, and it’s not caused by rising prices or anything else that management may be ready to face. Instead, it’s driven by an influx of Millennials — the massive generation that is currently coming into their prime spending years.
There has been a great deal of discussion in recent years about the rising workforce and the difference they bring to the workplace, but how are these tectonic shifts in work habits translating to the marketplace? More than one-third of all online grocery visits can be attributed to Millennials aged 18-34 and, according to MyWebGrocer data, they are also the highest proportion of new users in the previous year. Oddly enough, these younger Americans are still addicted to something that their parents have done for decades: Nearly 90% physically visit a brick and mortar grocery store to make purchases instead of buying online. While these facts may seem conflicting, taken together it means that Millennials are looking for an omnichannel experience like no other — but are your stores ready to deliver?
What’s immediately evident is that innovations in technology and convenience are essential to ensuring that Millennials are loyal to your brand. Simply having a website available isn’t good enough. These shoppers expect a highly functional app that supplements the in-store experience by offering new and engaging information as well as real-time inventory and ordering. All this should be wrapped up in a personalized experience that includes two-way conversations between the brand and shoppers. Grocery buying must be simple and convenient, as Millennials are less likely to stock up on groceries for the week and more likely to grab something on their way home or have it delivered to the office (for free, of course!).
Offering inspiration that allows Millennials to cook meals worthy of capturing the moment is one way to their heart, while providing the ability to make grocery lists that can be purchased in-store or added to a favorites lists will also win points. The good news is that these shoppers are less likely to be price conscious than previous generations, often spending up to $21 more per month shopping locally than buying online. Young adult shoppers are more likely to be loyal to stores that:
- Offer a consistent and pleasurable shopping experience
- Provide convenience in the form of product availability for unique brands and needs
- Have a mobile and digital presence that has personality and style as well as provides inspiration for cooking
- Have robust and meaningful digital couponing and loyalty programs — 92% of Millennials have a smartphone and want to use it for shopping
- Create a sense of community with the brand and between shoppers by telling stories about the food, where it came from, its ingredients, and other factors
- Offer in-store samples to make exotic or advanced cooking styles feel more approachable
Taken together, these activities will help bring loyal Millennial shoppers to store locations repeatedly.
Attracting and Converting Millennials
Each shopper’s journey is unique and requires nurturing at each stage or connection. While innovation is one of the most notable interests for this age group, it is important to ensure that digital experiences are adding value, as anything created simply for a “cool factor” is rapidly abandoned by the demographic. Engagement across all channels can be challenging to track unless there is a focus given to each step of the journey, a highly complex process that could involve emailing an offer, providing a pop-up coupon on a website, and even a note from a friend on social media before a shopper decides to make a purchase.
Delivering a seamless and consistent experience across various channels is at the heart of true omnichannel shopping, and Millennials are on the lookout for any time a brand falls down on the job. Here are a few of the ways stores are seeing success enticing Millennials:
- Shoppers expect to be able to begin their buying process on a mobile device and smoothly complete their checkout in-store.
- Stores must offer high-quality products at a reasonable price, including up-to-date nutritional information, cooking and recipe guides, and more.
- Including social media conversations that feel highly personal, such as responses to Twitter questions or posts on the company’s Facebook page, helps personalize the brand.
- Allowing users to form and read reviews of products within a store firms the concept of a trusted partner in their life’s journey.
- Provide meal kits that bundle together all of the items needed to create a truly unique or exploratory meal with an international flair.
- Curate content from your social media followers and re-distribute it to your audience for inspiration.
There are brands implementing many of these strategies, such as Whole Foods and Walmart— and they’re seeing real results. Kroger is another retailer who collects more food purchase data than any other US organization, and utilizes information to provide an ideal omni-channel presence with online grocery ordering and digital offerings such as rewards and recipes, to speak to the needs and desires of this generation.
Above all, attracting Millennial shoppers requires consistency, accessible technology, and a personalized and easy-to-use experience across all shopping channels. With online grocery likely to grow up to a $100 billion opportunity in the next 10 years, it is critical that retailers and manufacturers deeply understand the needs of this rising generation. Understanding these shoppers requires a broad oversight into the digital and physical interactions that they have with your brand on a daily basis.
It’s nearly impossible to provide consistent shopper journeys across platforms without the ability to tie together disparate accounts. Learn more about this evolutionary shift in retailing today when you download our free whitepaper, The Convenience Dynamic: How Digital Shopping is Shifting the Grocery Delivery Ecosystem.