Omnichannel commerce is a hot topic, with retailers like Walgreen’s and Sephora leading the way in developing innovative in-store digital, mobile experiences and seamless content across touchpoints.
Omnichannel experiences are particularly important to Millennials — far more than Gen X. Razorfish’s 2015 Global Digital Marketing Report (click for free, ungated access) suggests 3 key reasons:
1. Mobile dominates the Millennial shopping experience. Mobile is key to the Millennial’s world, and will only become more indispensable as mobile payment technologies push forward.
2. Millennials draw no practical distinction between online and offline. Growing up with tech, millennials don’t see a difference between online and offline “channels.” They expect technology to extend into the physical world, with information and purchase capabilities at their fingertips.
3. Millennials are redefining privacy expectations. Millennials are less concerned about how brands and retailers will use their data and protect their privacy with a “combination of trust and resignation.” They understand the tit for tat, that providing information to brands is required for the personalized experiences they want.
What does this mean for brands and retailers?
One pitfall of being an experienced and intuitive marketer, UX designer or digital leader is projection. If you’re part of Gen X (born roughly between 1961 and 1981), you may conclude the minimally viable cross-channel experience is what satisfies your own digital needs. We grew up shopping in malls without the pocket Internet, personalized retail email, social shopping and Google.
If your target market includes Millennials, don’t underestimate the digital divide between generations.
Here are a few tactics you can use:
Include millennials in your decision making both internally on your UX teams, and externally in your surveys and focus groups.
Collect birthdate information in your checkout forms and customer account data. Use this to segment and track device and omnichannel services, mobile payments, beacon use, etc across generational cohorts.
Adopt app-like experiences where possible. I’ve referenced this example numerous times, but eBags’ Tinder-like product discovery feature “Obsession” captures the new convention of swiping right or left to like or dislike, just like the popular dating app.
Other native mobile features like GPS, voice/image input and device pairing may also help you tailor to the wants and needs of the Millennial shopper.
Offer mobile payment and customer service options, such as SMS and Facebook Messenger options, which Millennials may prefer over email and telephone service.