Customer Experience Lab

Delight drives sales among difficult millennials

By Joe Novak on January 05, 2018

Make shopping enjoyable to encourage sales

In a previous blog, we share a finding from Centriam’s 2017 Retail Study: customers who had an enjoyable shopping experience were more likely to be promoters. This finding is especially robust among millennials, the largest generation in the US. Millennials who said their experience was extremely enjoyable were nine times more likely to be satisfied with the price they paid, and twice as likely to repurchase as millennials who said their shopping trip was slightly or not enjoyable. These findings suggest that making shopping enjoyable could potentially double your sales among this key demographic!

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Retail Customer Experience Happy Millennials


Millennials who said their retail experience was extremely enjoyable were nine times more likely to be satisfied with the price they paid. [Click to Tweet!]


Millennials are selective customers

Yet numerous retailers have found that millennials can be particularly discerning customers. It has been claimed they are less loyal than older shoppers. As a group, this is true: they are 40% more likely to be price sensitive, and 60% more likely not to repurchase than older shoppers. While some might use this as a reason to avoid engaging with this difficult generation, that simplistic excuse ignores a significant growth opportunity. When brands successfully cater to the preferences of millennials, or embody their values, millennials become highly loyal and are often willing to pay more for such alignment.

Millenial Price Sensitivity Retail Customer Experience


Three ideas for delighting millennials

So how does a retailer make shopping enjoyable to begin earning these millennial dollars? In a previous blog, we shared three ideas to reduce millennial detractors, here I will focus on creating millennial promoters. I highlight a few concepts that retailers have implemented, and then emphasize the important infrastructure necessary to take advantage of the joy being created.

Many retailers make shopping enjoyable using experiential retail. Fashion chain Urban Outfitters has opened coffeeshops and pizza cafes inside their stores. Nike is devoting less space to products, and more to Trial Zones -- including half-court basketball, soccer pitches, and a treadmill with virtual reality of Central Park. Vans Shoes latest stores contain skateparks, live music venues, theaters and art galleries. But you don’t have to use floor space to accomplish this: Ikea has held sleepovers, H&M stores have thrown concerts, and Lululemon has after-hours yoga classes inside the store.

Another popular direction for retailers is to embrace social responsibility, in what has come to be known as “conscious capitalism”. 40% of millennials indicate they are more likely to buy when a product supports a cause they believe in. Some brands match purchases for those in need – Hanes’ socks and underwear; Tom’s shoes; Warby Parker’s glasses; and Leesa’s mattresses. Others donate a portion of sales to environment concerns. Patagonia donates 100% of Black Friday sales, and thousands of businesses have joined the 1% For the Planet organization. 

A few companies have found other imaginative ways to generate fun experiences. Whole Foods developed a recipe bot that allows customers to search using emojis for ingredients -- type in 🍆, 🍅 and 🌶️, get instructions for ratatouille. Residence Inn has introduced giggling, dancing, robotic butlers as a pilot project at a few Los Angeles area hotels. When given a positive rating for room service delivery, these 3-foot robots light and up shimmy. Spotify uses the listening habits of its customers to make highly personalized playlists weekly.

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Evaluating the effect

Whichever route you choose, you will need robust data integration to measure how the joy produced relates to the bottom line. Keep track of which customers are taking advantage of experiential retail events; join that information with response history and purchase data; and quantifying the impact of the promotions becomes attainable. To determine the values of your customers, augment a survey with routine customer feedback and a study on key customer experience drivers. Assess the impact of a more inventive promotion by merging customer information with social listening and verbatim text mining on feedback to identify how customers are judging your performance.

If you can gather and analyze the data generated, enjoyable shopping experiences will reap dividends from all your customers. Especially millennials.


Topics: Retail customer experience

Author: Joe Novak

Joe is committed to improving the ability of Centriam’s clients to act upon data and insights. Joe brings diverse experience utilizing data and advanced analytics to improve performance across many industries. Prior to Centriam, Joe managed risk for multiple credit card and auto loan portfolios at US Bank. Joe also worked in marketing analytics at Target and survey analytics for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Joe holds a B.A. in mathematics and computer science from Macalester College and an M.S. in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado.
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