STORES Magazine - May 2009 - (Page 78)

CONSIDER THIS / POINT OF VIEW The Millennial March into Retail BY DAVID GRUEHN I recently took my daughter and nine of her friends to an Italian restaurant for her 14th birthday. Throughout dinner, the girls were texting feverishly on their cell phones. Perplexed since all the friends were together, I ates. It has, among other things, helped to reasked whom they were texting: their response duce turnover, encouraged suggestions for marastonished me. It seems these “Millennials” keting and store best practices and increased were texting each other, preferring to communi401(k) participation. cate via some strange encrypted language Next, provide productivity-enhancing gadgets rather than a real-live conversation. that appeal to Millennials’ need for speedy acBorn between 1982 and 2000, Millennials are cess to information. Information portals and a generation raised on high-speed Internet, cell other “cool” tools enable them to better assist phones, digital music and instant messaging. customers, build confidence and enjoy the exThey’re massive multi-taskers who simultaneperience. ously use web-based search, social networking and gaming sites, wikis and personal blogs. Connecting with Millennials as consumers Microsoft research indicates that 52 percent of David Gruehn is Fueled by a craving for instant information, surveyed Millennials use two or more social net- U.S. industry solutions Millennials often struggle with the disparity beworking sites like MySpace and Facebook. And tween the online and in-store experience. Most director for Microsoft while most of us still grapple with our daily eenjoy online browsing and comparison-shopCorp. mail volume, our most connected generation ping before completing the transaction in the considers e-mail “legacy” technology, instead preferring the store. Given their short attention spans, out-of-stocks or immediacy of text messaging and micro-blogging. product location issues are huge areas of frustration. And Millennials’ need to be heard, combined with their natural once again, they’re not keeping quiet. affinity for technology, is having far-reaching implications. Microsoft’s research shows that 48 percent of Millennials As both their employers and their favorite places to spend, will blog about their experiences in chat rooms or social retailers must prepare for the impact. networking sites, which can quickly spread virally to an infinite audience. On the flip side, a hot product or new clothing style can take off in a flash via the same mechanism. Keeping Millennial associates engaged To bring them on board: With 75 million to 80 million Millennials in or entering the Tap into the items they can’t live without. Find ways to workforce, most retail segments count on these workers as interact with Millennials using their prized possessions — their face to the customer. Characterized as having a selfcell phones — in non-obtrusive ways. Microsoft Tag, for exfocused work ethic with a strong desire to efficiently comample, is an emerging technology that enables consumers plete tasks, Millennials’ biggest productivity killer is often to obtain instant access to product and promotional inforthe technology in their store environments. mation from their mobile devices. The tools that Baby Boomers and Gen Xers have enMine social networks for information diamonds. Mondured fall short when compared with how this generation itor online social landscapes like Facebook, Twitter and engages while off the clock. And they’re not keeping their YouTube, and even join the conversation for invaluable dissatisfaction a secret. Just venture onto Facebook and customer exchanges. search for your favorite retailer: You’re likely to find an emBecome a social network destination. Create an interployee group sharing everything from store promotion tips active environment through online forums where custo gripes about company policy – all in the public domain. tomers can build a community, sharing ideas, reviews and How can retailers harness this wave? Leverage Millennistories built around your brands. als’ affinity for networking and technology by exploring soWhile every generation has its nuisances (my parents, for cial networks inside your organization. Millennials’ opinions instance, still don’t understand how Led Zeppelin changed are a corporate asset and may surprise you. the world), Millennials are setting the stage for a major shift Solicit and share best practices or create a corporate enin the world as we know it. The sooner we all catch up to cyclopedia. Best Buy, for example, created an internal corthem, the better. porate social networking site that’s grown to 25,000 associ78 STORES / MAY 2009 WWW.STORES.ORG http://WWW.STORES.ORG

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - May 2009

STORES Magazine - May 2009
Executive Editor's Page
President's Page
Facts to Chew On
What Shoppers Think
Deals "R" Us
10 Things You May Have Missed
Numbers Worth Counting
Full Price/Markdown
Retail People
Cover Story: Brand X Power
Home Improvement
Credit Where Credit's Due
Locate, Locate, Locate
New Playbook
Staying in the Fast Lane
Clean and Green
Driven to Please
Farm System
Rx for Shrink
Zeroing Out Zombies
Rogues Gallery
Ounce of Prevention
Loeb Retail Letter
Chain Action
Optimism Rocks
ARTS Update
Point of View
Retail Crossword
Retail Industry Calendar
End Cap

STORES Magazine - May 2009