Five Things Retailers Need to Know about Millennials and Baby Boomers

Embracing mobile apps to create a hybrid online/in-store shopping experience can bridge the gap between digital and physical to bring customers back into stores while also increasing brand loyalty. And since certain age groups such as young Millennials (18-24) and Baby Boomers (55-64) are more receptive to retail apps, increasing their use is critical to retailers’ top line.

To better understand the digital and in-store shopping habits of these groups, Aruba, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise company, conducted a global study of more than 350 shoppers. Based on the response, 5 important factors were highlighted that determine the involvement of these particular target segments.

1. Everyone is loyal, but some are more loyal than others.
Loyalty programs have gained popularity with the rise of smartphones.
Millennials love their loyalty apps, with 66.3% indicating they are more likely to shop from stores where they are part of the loyalty program, vs only 33.3% of Baby Boomers answering the same. For Baby Boomers, price was the biggest driver for a purchase decision, with 40.7% indicating it’s more important than a loyalty program versus only 22.5% of Millennials indicating price as the driving factor.

2. It’s all about the in-app features.
What benefits attract consumers to download and use loyalty apps? Here is how Millennials differed from the Boomer generation.

#1 Parking spot locator
#2 Product availability and comparison
#3 Digital payment through retailer mobile app

Baby Boomers
#1 Product availability and comparison
#2 Find a sales associate
#3 Obtain special incentives or coupons

3. It’s not if they have it, it’s how often they use it
Getting buyers to download a mobile app by drawing them in with a special incentive may result in a high volume of one-time users, but it’s all about how often they use the app. Raising the frequency of use is critical to growing retailers’ top line.

Millennials use retail apps more frequently than Baby Boomers with 61.8% indicating they use them 1-5 times a week vs 48.2% for Boomers. 13.5% of Millennials reported using retail mobile apps more than 10 times a week, while none of the Baby Boomers reported doing the same.

4. No sales associate? There’s an app for that.
When asked how they prefer to search for products inside retail stores, more than half (53.9%) prefer using a mobile app vs a sales associate. In contrast, Baby Boomers favored human interaction with less than half (44.4%) opting to use an app to find products.

5. To eat out or to eat in, that is the question.
Younger generations are used to eating out more and cooking at home less frequently. The variety of food and cost-efficient options available today make eating out very appealing for Millennials on the go. When asked what kinds of retail mobile apps they use most frequently, Millennials’ top selection was mobile ordering for express food pick-up (55.1% vs 33.3% Boomers). Conversely, the Boomers’ top selection was grocery and convenience store apps (40.7% vs 18% young Millennials) as they tend to eat at home more often.

In conclusion, when dealing with online sales, physical stores must embrace new technologies, such as mobile apps, to stay competitive and attract new buyers. By understanding their customers’ habits and needs, whether they are Millennials or Baby Boomers, retailers can create a personalized and efficient shopping experience that will keep their customers loyal.

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