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PBM Research

​How can we get Millennials through the doors?

Posted by Lauren Argetsinger, Research Analyst on

It seems like a trendy topic in home furnishings research is “How can we market better to Millennials?”

It makes sense that retailers are focused on how to tap into the Millennial market. Around a quarter of the U.S. population are Millennials. It’s the biggest generation in U.S. history, even bigger than the Baby Boomers. In the face of these numbers, retailers are scrambling to figure out how to get Millennials into their stores.

The sad truth is this: Millennials are broke. They’re averaging less income than the predecessors while taking on more debt , leaving them with a much smaller amount of disposable income. As such, they’re putting off buying homes, getting married, and having children until later than previous generations. To put it simply, most of them aren’t in the market for a lot of the items home furnishings stores are pushing to sell.

Despite this, there’s some silver lining. This year’s Consumer Buying Trends study showed that Millennials are planning to purchase next year at a higher rate than all Americans in nearly every home furnishings category. The desire to buy is there. Retailers just have to vie for it.

They’ll have to fight the bigger stores to do so. Among the top home furnishings retailers for Millennials are Ikea and Target, according to HFN’s June 2017 Total Home study. With their straight-forward buying process and competitive pricing, Millennials are flocking to these stores for purchases.

So how do you solve such a situation? I’ve got a few ideas.

  • Boost your website game : Millennials grew up during the age of major technological advances and that has heavily influenced how they shop. Of course e-commerce retailers like Amazon and Wayfair have capitalized on this, but brick and mortar stores can still have an online presence to catch the generation’s attention. Even if you stray away from online ordering, you can still incorporate customer product reviews, inventory listings for your stores, and information about delivery or financing on your website. Most Millennials compare items before buying and appreciate having that information before they walk into the store. In fact, 77% of Millennials say that they buy in-store after researching online, greater than the nearly 61% of all consumers who say the same.
  • Create a low pressure environment: When asked what they disliked most about shopping for home furnishings in a store, an overwhelming amount of Millennials in the aforementioned HFN study mentioned the pressure of sales associates, specifically commission-based sales associates. We already know Millennials are doing research before they get to the store and a lot of them feel capable of finding what they’re looking for on their own when they get there. Consider a more hands-off sales strategy where customers can browse the store on their own if they choose, letting your sales staff be available for assistance or questions when needed.
  • Get social: Millennials get their news online, a lot of times from social media. If you’re having a sale or special promotion (something that 77% of Millennials in HFN’s study say would make them more likely to shop and buy at a certain store), be sure to announce it on your social media channels, specifically Facebook and Instagram. Interact with Millennials on social media by encouraging them to use hashtags if they post about your store. Release photos of new products that you’re excited about. There’s several ways to create a buzz around your store this way and 34% of Millennials say that they tend to like brands more that use social media, compared to 16% of non-Millennials.
  • Offer good products at competitive prices: I mentioned that Millennials have very little disposable income compared to other generations so if you want their business, you’ve got to strike a balance between price and quality. Sixty-three percent of the generation say they are more likely to shop and buy from a home furnishings store that has affordable items. Less concerned with brand names and more concerned with affordability, Millennials compare prices before they make a purchase and 57% of them even do it while they’re standing in your store. Almost that same number look up product reviews while they’re in a store to determine quality.

Any other ideas? Let us know how you’re getting Millennials into your stores.

If you’re curious what the research says about something specific and you want PBM Strategic Insights to cover it in a blog, reach out to us below:

 largetsinger@pbmbrands.com

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