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World Retail Congress: “Rebel against the old way of doing things”

If retailers want to attract the millennial consumer they must “rebel against the old way of doing things”, Deborah Patton, founder of US thought leadership advisory group business Applied Brilliance, told WRC attendees today.

In her presentation, Patton outlined the behaviour and beliefs of the millennial consumer and said they are “drawn to businesses that are going against the rules – whether in production, marketing or sales”.

This customer is inspired by innovation and creativity as well as business transparency, she added. “They demand to be let behind the scenes and, if you don’t do it, they will find another way to get this information.”

Patton highlighted that this generation is one short on patience. She said retailers must ensure they are bringing products and services to the consumer, adding that the expectation of immediacy is going to spread. “They are mobile, they are visual and they need you to be where they are.” She added that technology must be as “one click as possible”.

Patton also told delegates the millennial consumer expects to be heard and retailers must make sure they are listening and responding to them. She said “This is a generation that is becoming used to using collective online beliefs to affect what is happening offline.”

Generation high tech, high touch

Following Patton’s presentation, a group of millennial consumers joined the stage. Here are some of the things they said:

“I hate piggy-backing in-store. I’ve done my research before I come into store, the most important thing to me is that the product I researched is actually there.”

“In-store staff to me are needed for nothing except the actual transaction.”

“[I would go into store] if something is made from a new material, for example, and I want to see and touch it.”

“If a store is offering me the opportunity to create personalised product I would go.”

“If someone doesn’t offer free returns it is just not sufficient. I want to know that if I order something online and it is not right, I can easily send it back – and without charge.”

“Shopping for me is not a social activity, I like to do my shopping alone.”

“I might browse with a friend but I would only shop [buy] alone.”

“If a store has free Wifi, I’m in it.”

“I have a tablet in my bag, I don’t need to use one in store.” ​

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