Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Creating a Millennial-Friendly Customer Experience

Retailers today are striving to make sure that their companies provide a millennial-friendly customer experience. As a millennial myself, I have been fortunate enough to have grown up in a more advanced technological world where I, like many others in a similar age bracket, will have been more tech savvy than their parents by their early teens. Customer experience for millennials has been molded by the increasing number of platforms available for retail and this creates opportunities and challenges for retailers.

Monitoring online social experiences are seen as a must for retail companies; consumers are often flocking to the web to look for answers to issues as well as contacting a call center or an online chat for information. The web has a huge number of forums and communities where consumers go to discuss products and are in my eyes a great resource for gaining first hand insights into exactly what customers want or think about products. Often, companies only monitor comments from customers on their own sites and may miss people’s comments from sites such as TripAdvisor or other discussion rooms.

Social media sites such as twitter are now becoming a popular resource for companies to talk to customers. According to Forbes, millennials take up 29 percent of the twitter-sphere and use the platform for commenting on purchases; leveraging the resource to monitor posts and often responding via twitter can give the customer a sense of being personally looked after rather than having to wait on hold whilst a customer representative at a call center keeps you on hold for three hours.

Giving the customer a more personalized feel is deemed another priority in giving a better customer experience. Repeating personal information that could have been retained by companies I find very irritating. Fundamental information such as contact information and home addresses I expect to be able to be seen across different platforms and having to re-input information could put customers off returning. Being able to access personal information and interests is key to giving a customer a comfortable and easy experience. Online retailers such as Amazon and ASOS retain previous purchase information or what has been searched for in order to give suggestions. I believe the next step would be to take that technique in store.

The world is becoming far more interconnected; so I believe creating systems that register a smartphone when a person has entered a store can bring up information of again past purchases so that a shop assistant would be able to give the customer a more personal experience.

Catering to the desires of the millennial generation could be a great opportunity to boost customer satisfaction. Other strategies could be being more engaged in price comparison or giving more of a story behind a product rather than just it being made for profit. TOMS shoes is a prime example, it helps the consumer appreciate the company for doing something to help rather than just making money. Millennials have grown up in a world where global issues such as poverty and climate change are often at the forefront of discussions; so creating a retail platform that goes beyond wanting to make an easy buck, for me and I’m sure many others, would be the difference in choosing between two retailers.

About the Author: Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at

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