You might assume that tech-savvy millennials and members of Generation Z do all of their shopping online and never venture into brick-and-mortar stores. However, new research tells a very different story.
While the average American visits up to three physical stores per week on a single shopping trip (not including grocery stores), millennial shoppers go to an average of four. And the number for Gen Z shoppers is even higher: 5.25. That's according to a recent survey on in-store shopping conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of RetailMeNot Inc.
Mobile Devices Enhance In-Store Shopping for Younger Generations
Younger shoppers fondness for brick-and-mortar retail doesn't mean that their shopping habits are low tech. Millennials are twice as likely as their older counterparts to start their shopping journey on a smartphone. What gets them to a physical store to make the final purchase? Cash-back bonuses on the items they're purchasing motivate 83 percent of millennials to shop in-store.
Millennials are also bypassing store associates more often than not to find information when shopping in a physical store. Omnichannel shopping experiences continue to evolve, but it remains imperative that retailers have a multiprong approach to reaching these consumers across all channels with product information, pricing and offers to close a sale — even when they may be in a physical retail location.
Not surprisingly, as technology continues to influence both online and offline shopping, some younger consumers are hoping that retailers step up their mobile game. In fact, one in four Gen Zers say that their expectations aren't being met when it comes to retailers having mobile technology in stores they can use when they shop.
What does make members of Gen Z happy? Free shipping still reigns supreme, and many shoppers just want to easily get a product in their hands regardless of whether that’s in the store or at their front door. One way retailers are answering this call is by offering free shipping from stores to a customer's home when products aren't readily available, a value-add that Gen Z welcomes.
Shopping Apps Influence Brick-and-Mortar Customers
Physical retail is still an incredibly important channel for consumers, and the role that mobile plays in every touchpoint of the shopping journey is crucial to their overall experience with a retailer.
One thing shoppers of all generations have in common is that they love using their smartphones to find discounts while they're shopping in physical stores. In fact, Americans are 30 percent more likely to complete a purchase in person than on their smartphone when they find a deal on their phone.
To find those deals, shoppers are using a variety of apps. Today’s shopper has an average of three apps from specific retailers on their phones, in addition to three more apps that aggregate deals and discounts from different stores. From their favorite retailer’s app to finding the latest cash back or mobile coupon code, the majority of shoppers are seeking mobile offers that they can redeem in-store. If a retailer can find a way to personalize the offer for a particular shopper’s needs, then the consumer is even more apt to visit a brick-and-mortar location.
For today’s shoppers — young and old — the mobile device is the No. 1 shopping companion. Whether that’s in a store, at home, on the go or anywhere in between, smartphones are a marketing opportunity for retailers to drive in-store footfall, incentivize sales and understand online-to-offline behavior.
Michelle Skupin is the senior director of marketing and communications for RetailMeNot, a leading savings, promotions, and coupons site.
Related story: How to Appeal to Gen Z Shoppers and Keep Them Coming Back