Despite the commonly held belief that young adults are doing everything online, the majority of Millennials are still shopping in a brick and mortar retailers. According to a recent study, 53 percent of Millennials continue to shop in a physical store. This isn’t to say that online marketing is wasted on this demographic. In fact, recent research has shown that adult consumers rely heavily on online tools, especially mobile ones, while they shop in stores.
According to the report, Millennials use online tools heavily whether they are shopping online or in-store. Before purchase, Millennials are four times more likely to visit comparison shopping websites, and three times more likely to visit couponing sites, to find the best deals. And when speaking about in-store shopping habits specifically, about 34 percent use a smartphone to look at product reviews while they’re in a store shopping.
The study all found that among Millennials, 39 percent of all retail purchases are made online. This is impressive, but it means that three out of five purchases are done on traditional retail channels.
But it’s clear that with time, online shopping and mobile marketing will only grow in importance. Two out of three (65 percent) of Millennials are comfortable making online purchases with their phones, 84 percent use smartphones to assist with shopping in-store, and 14 percent pay for purchases in-store using a smartphone.
The research has some clear implications for retailers who are want to woo Millennials to their stores. In a release from the researchers announcing their findings, they make the practical applications apparent.
“Retailers need to embrace mobile as part of the path to purchase,” says Tom Colven, senior analyst of strategic insights group at Alliance Data, according to media reports. “When they see a shopper in the store using a mobile device, it is likely they are seeking support for their purchase, either to know they are getting a good price or that their peer group is providing positive feedback before they get to the checkout. Any brick-and-mortar retailers that do not embrace mobile at this point and latch on to key moments (like the Pokemon Go phenomenon of this summer, for example) risk being left behind by competitors.”
As a final bit of advice on using online marketing to help reach Millennial consumers, the Alliance Data report speaks to the importance of social media. The survey found that 22 percent of Millennials are influenced to make purchase decisions based on their friends’ social activity. Similarly, 16 percent share a product comment or photo after purchase via social networking.
This research makes it clear that there is a benefit for retailers who embrace online marketing in all its forms. It’s important for business owners and marketers to think outside the box when trying to find ways to incorporate online marketing tools with their current strategies. Especially for younger demographics who use internet resources first, whether they shop online or in-store, online and mobile marketing is essential.
For more recent research on the using online marketing to reach Millennials, read this article on how Millennials interact with social media.