Creating synergies between sales channels

To meet this challenge, retail is moving towards multichannel and omnichannel strategies. The line between these channels is becoming increasingly blurry. Many millennials, however – especially the older members of this age group – continue to shop in stores. A study by the BearingPoint Institute refers to a subset of millennials born between 1980 and 1990 as swing shoppers in this context. It doesn’t matter to them whether they shop online or offline, because they grew up with stationary retail but also understand the benefits of shopping online and are exploiting these. However, swing shoppers have no preference on where to shop, making them a target group that continues to strengthen station­ary retail.

Combining the different sales channels is impor­tant to maintain customer loyalty among millennials in the long term. The British fashion house Burberry launched a pilot project to attract this target group to their flagship store in London. The shop is set up as a digital showroom: the walls of the store feature large screens showing videos and livestreams. In addition, the Burberry garments are equipped with RFID chips so that they can interact with the digital elements in the store. When a customer picks up an item of clothing and approaches one of the screens in the store – for example, in the dressing room – he or she receives relevant information, for instance, about the production process, but also inspiration from the catwalk.
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The sporting goods manufacturer Nike, on the other hand, is focusing on cooperating with bloggers. The company offers fashion and fitness bloggers free products, which they present to millennials on their blogs. The Ultra City collection of women’s shoes, for example, sold out within just a few hours after a series of influential bloggers showcased the shoes on Instagram and Facebook.

Communication, shopping and work – each of these areas has been set in motion by the millennials. Numerous examples already show the effects of their reasoning and behaviour, and how industry and society can and must react. One thing is clear: processes are speeding up, as rapid change is what young adults understand and experience. Millennials expect companies to communicate in real time and directly with them – whether in stores, in social networks or on blogs. This means that companies have to reposition themselves and, for example, populate their social media channels with target group-oriented content on a daily basis. Attracting millennials as future employees and idea generators also takes a targeted approach. Corporate blogs and authentic employee videos are the latest trend in this area. Such approaches are no longer optional or only designed for a specific target group, but have instead become a strategic necessity. Millennials will account for roughly half of the working population worldwide by 2020. Only those companies who are well prepared will succeed in the global race to attract these young minds, and will push their own business to be connected, digital and different.