I recently read a new Kronos white paper titled The Evolution of the Millennial Retail Experience. Co-written by Preeti Bhat and Derick Gerloff in Kronos Advisory Services, the paper outlines how the intersection of millennials and technology is reshaping the retail landscape. As a millennial who thoroughly enjoys shopping, I wanted to comment on a few facts in the paper that I found to be spot-on.
The emerging millennial generation already spends $600 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Not a shocker. Many of us are YOLO kind of people. I wouldn't call us fiscally-irresponsible by any means, but as a group, we seem to enjoy living in the moment.
Evidence suggests that millennials value in-person interactions at bricks-and-mortar stores. I'm a frequent online shopper for the little things, but when it's an important purchase, I always make a trip to the store. There's something about seeing the product in person and running in-the-moment questions by a store associate that makes me feel better about my purchase.
According to a study done by Food Dive, millennials want to keep store associates on the shop floor, where they can answer questions, assist with checkout, and deliver exceptional customer service. And because I like talking through my purchases with a store associate, I would be lying if I said I'm not perturbed when there isn't someone around when I need help. 66 percent of millennials reported that store associates are extremely important to their shopping experience. I would have checked yes to a question about that without a second thought.
The millennial workforce values mobility, flexibility, and collaboration, and is used to having access to technology at their fingertips. On the flip side, thinking about millennial employees rather than millennial consumers, this is also a surefire fact from my perspective. The vast majority of working professionals my age would hesitate at, and maybe even turn down, the opportunity to work for a company that does not keep up with technology or provide the flexibility to have a proper work-life balance. I know I'm only one person, but this would be of utmost importance to me if I were searching for new positions.
Your workforce management system must be able to allocate labor for a variety of labor models, including servicing an in-store customer, the time it takes to pick the product a customer bought online, and finally, the time it takes to service a customer for the in-store pickup. I recently watched a girl around my age become quite aggitated while waiting 15 minutes at the in-store pickup counter for her previously ordered item. I was contently editing some photos at the time that the event unfolded. At one point, she turned around and said to the others waiting in line, "Where is the person working here? This is supposed to be faster than coming to the store and finding the item myself." I would like to point out that there were a few Generation Xers in line who were less than pleased with the situation, as well. People don't like to wait. No matter how much we rely on digital means for convenience, I don't think the value of in-person interactions will ever be null and void.