In-Store Experience Case Study: Millennials & Gen-Zers

Despite years of diminishing consumer experiences in brick and mortar stores, research shows that “digital natives”—young consumers who have grown up familiarized with the digital age—are predisposed to in-store shopping. A 2019 Oracle NetSuite survey of 1,200 consumers shows that Gen-Z and Millennial consumers are most likely to have done more in-store shopping in 2019 compared to both Gen X and Baby Boomers, in fact.1

Instead, retailers may be missing out on opportunities to capitalize on younger generations’ latent preferences for in-store experiences—by failing to provide the experiences they truly want.

A recent survey by A.T. Kearney found that consumers ages 14 and 24 “overwhelmingly prefer to do their shopping in stores,” but for non-traditional reasons.2 Most notably, young shoppers seem to prioritize in-store shopping for its non-digital appeal. The study found that 73% of Gen-Z shoppers prefer in-store shopping for product discovery, where using their own digital search terms would not make this possible. Gen-Z shoppers prioritize in-store shopping for “mental health reasons” as it allows them to “disconnect form social media and the digital world” as well.

Some retailers may simply be ill-equipped to provide the in-store experiences these consumer seek out, where a greater portion of Gen Z consumers (42%) claim they would feel annoyed by increased interactions with in-store retail associates compared to other generations. 3

Rather than make assumptions about this segment, retailers are wont to capitalize on young shoppers’ inclinations for in-store shopping—but how can they adapt their brands and engagement strategies to succeed? Future Stores partnered with the WBR Insights research team to get to the bottom of these trends, and identify the in-store retail use cases that yield the strongest support for digital native consumers.

Q2 2020 Report – ‘Engaging Digital Natives: Leading Strategies for Brand Transformation and Customer Loyalty’

In this 2020 report based on survey data from 100 in-store retail leaders, we uncover key strategies for transforming retail brands and driving in-store loyalty among digital native consumers. We identify key pain points and opportunities in how in-store retailers currently prioritize and engage this segment. We uncover which back-office technologies retailers are prioritizing to develop a clearer picture of their digital native customers and their journeys. Finally, we identify successful strategies retailers are prioritizing as they engage this cohort for lasting in-store success.


Return to Blog