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Millennials vs Baby Boomers Reveal In-Store Shopping Expectations

Mia McPherson
September 27, 2017

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A survey of 13,250 consumers across 12 countries reveals the evolving desires and expectations of Millennials and Baby Boomers when it comes to shopping in-store, and the role technology plays in the most sought-after retail experiences.

With the consistent advent of new technologies in the retail industry such as AI, chatbots, beacons, and ever-rising online shopping statistics – 80 percent of Americans are now online shoppers, compared to 22 percent in 2000 – is the in-store, brick-and-mortar retail store still relevant to Millennials vs Baby Boomers?

According to a survey of 13,250 consumers across 12 countries, the answer is yes. However, as technology evolves and changes, so do consumer expectations across generations.

While 74 percent of Baby Boomers prefer to shop in-store, and prioritize seeing and touching before buying at a much higher rate than their Millennial counterparts, Millennials are more likely to click-and-collect, or buy online and pick up in-store. Both Baby Boomers and Millennials report shopping in-store at least once per week at an increasing rate.

Millennials vs Baby Boomers consumer behaviors

Also increasing is the rate in which both Baby Boomers and Millennials seek and expect innovation and the use of technology in their in-store experiences. Nearly one-third of Baby Boomers and Millennials report that they believe shop staff doesn’t have adequate product knowledge, and the same percentage have abandoned a purchase in-store due to lack of information.

“In a marketplace where products have become commodities and competing on price is a race to the bottom, brands and retailers need to be looking toward experience as a key differentiator. The question then becomes who are your customers and what are their biggest needs?” says Scott Lachut, President of Research and Strategy, PSFK in The Executive’s Handbook to Modern Digital Commerce. “If [brands] aren’t solving a real problem or delivering greater utility, convenience, or personalization in some way, then you’ll fail to move the needle in any significant way.”

So while Baby Boomers may prefer the human touch, that human touch comes with a twist of innovation to facilitate personalization: 31.7 percent of Baby Boomers believe that shop staff should carry smart devices to assist in customer inquiries, and 32.4 percent of Baby Boomers and 46 percent of Millennials want to check live availability before setting foot in a store.

Further, the use of AI and IOT in the in-store experience is becoming more desirable and sought-after, as 27 percent of Millennials are keen to be helped by robots while in-store, and 20 percent of Baby Boomers want to be able to use location-based services to find items in-store.

Find the full report on shopping habits of Millennials vs Baby Boomers in Retail Today Defined By The Power and The Money.

Mia McPherson
Mia McPherson is a lover of cats, community involvement, and Pittsburgh sports. Mia is the Editor-in-Chief of SmarterCX.com and has been working with talented teams to create content for the journalism, publishing, and technology industries for 15 years.
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