Connecting with millennials at retail
When it comes to retail, millennials have a lot going for them. They represent 92 million U.S. consumers in their prime spending years. They are the first truly digital generation. They have high disposable incomes, and control more than $600 billion in annual purchasing power. By 2020, millennial spending in the United States is projected to balloon to $1.4 trillion annually and will represent 30% of total retail sales. These shoppers are tech savvy, plugged in and well-informed — and demanding.
Given their size and buying power, millennials are forcing the retail industry to rapidly adapt to a new way of meeting consumer wants and needs, and changing the retail landscape at a rate that is faster than many retailers anticipate. In the coming years, these changes will cause challenges for those retailers who aren’t catering to this influential cohort. Here are a few ways retailers can keep this audience engaged.
Create a connection
Catering to a millennial shopper means having the brands and products they want and need — products that speak to them and that they can connect with. For brands, this means keeping up to date with fast-changing trends and speaking to these customers in a way they want to be spoken to. As digital natives, millennials learn the latest trends via social media influencers and their peers, and these trends can turn on a dime. This can be a problem for big brands that can’t innovate or adapt to continually evolving trends as quickly as smaller, more nimble brands.
Millennials also prefer brands that have a story behind them — who they are, what they stand for, the origins of their company — and value transparency in all aspects of their business, from their ingredients and how they’re sourced to how the company performs as an upstanding corporate citizen. Mush Foods and Honey Nail Glam are two brands that have successfully leveraged their stories to develop and grow their millennial shopper base. Retailers that highlight brand stories also will resonate with millennial shoppers.
Focus on the experience
While they may be digital natives who begin their shopper journey online, millennials often finish their purchasing in store. And when it comes to the store, it’s all about the experience.
Millennials want to touch, smell and taste products. In fact, when it comes to the drug channel, 91% of millennial shoppers prefer shopping in store than online. Retailers focused on delivering an incredible in-store experience are winning with these shoppers. And that in-store experience can include so many attributes, from the shopping environment and atmosphere to experiential shopping — makeup retailer Sephora, for example, has elevated the in-store experience offering in-store makeup classes — to ensuring the right product mix at the right price. Millennial shoppers love the discovery aspect of being in a store and will spend time finding the right product, rather than make a purchase for purchasing’s sake. Having a choice of products that speak to them in a meaningful way and information at the point of purchase is key to realizing in-store purchase success for this shopper.
Develop personalized offers
What’s more, millennial shoppers lean heavily into loyalty campaigns and value such offers as coupons, provided they are targeted and personalized. In fact, more than 95% of millennials say they want their brands to court them actively through promotions and deals via text and email. Even print and direct mail are viable channels to reach these shoppers, as long as they feel that these offers are tailored to their specific needs
To meet the demands for the seamless and personalized experience that resonates with millennials — and to keep up with trends as quickly as they are revealed — retailers need to team up with outside technology, data, analytics and process partners. Albertsons is a great example of this. Earlier this year, the company enhanced its e-commerce capabilities by introducing same-day delivery via its Instacart partnership, as well as Drive-Up & Go, and addressed the increased demand for meal solutions with the acquisition of meal-kit company Plated.
Successfully reaching and connecting with the millennial generation isn’t as daunting as it may seem, if you remember this: Listen to them, and meet them where they are. That’s online as much as it’s in store, and they’re more than willing to provide their thoughts and opinion. Being able to adapt and deliver on the needs and wants of the millennial consumer isn’t just nice to do — it’s a must in today’s retail world.
Nicky Jackson is founder and CEO of RangeMe, recently acquired by ECRM. Before launching RangeMe, she worked as a marketing executive at Kellogg’s, Uncle Toby’s, Goodman Fielder, PepsiCo and Jim Beam. She currently resides in San Francisco with her family of four.
Cutting through the clutter
BY DSN STAFF
In an effort spearheaded by MPA, the Association of Magazine Media, nearly 140 magazine brands from 37 companies have joined forces in an industry-wide marketing campaign to share the message that magazine media delivers the most credible, trusted and engaging content over any other form of media. The central theme, “Magazine Media. Better. Believe It.” addresses magazine media’s ability to produce professional, brand-safe content across platforms. Launched in October and running through spring 2018 in both print and digital properties, the campaign is expected to reach 75% of U.S. adults. Drug Store News spoke with MPA, the Association of Magazine Media president and CEO Linda Thomas Brooks about the impact of magazines in retail.
Drug Store News: Why are you doing this campaign?
Linda Thomas Brooks: In a media world where 3-out-of-4 Americans say they have fallen for a fake headline and marketers’ ads are showing up in unsafe digital environments, we felt it was important to remind both consumers and marketers that magazine media communicate with an authority that people trust.
DSN: How does it benefit the retail trade?
LTB: Beyond “fake news,” information on everything from health care to beauty advice is getting more convoluted every day. Magazine brands help consumers cut through the clutter by serving up content they can trust and recommending products with authority, extending that same trust to advertisers.
Retailers will benefit in two ways: reminding consumers that magazines are a shortcut to quality information will increase newsstand sales, and more advertising in magazines will drive product sales at retail.
DSN: What is the current landscape of magazines at retail?
LTB: Retailers face challenges that range from the number of trips customers make to a store and how much they put in their basket, to maintaining loyalty and engagement. Magazine advertising can address all of these hurdles.
Marketers are realizing that context matters and beginning to change their advertising strategies. Magazine media builds brands and sells products in a safe and transparent environment, with demonstrable results. Consumers believe in magazine brands, and they transfer that belief to the advertising.
DSN: In addition to the campaign, how are you addressing retail challenges for magazines?
LTB: The campaign is just one of the ways we are addressing retail challenges.
We also have been meeting individually with retailers, advertisers and agencies. Magazines have long been known as the most influential of all media, and now, reliable third-party research proves that they also are the best place to drive sales. Nielsen Catalina Solutions analyzed 1,400 campaigns across media types, and magazines came out on top with an average return on advertising spend of $3.94 per dollar spent. No other media even comes close.
And we have the Print Magazine Sales Guarantee, which promises a refund if advertisements don’t boost sales. The industry has done more than 80 of these guarantees and has not had to give a penny back.
DSN: What do retailers and manufacturers need to do?
LTB: We believe the magazine media industry has a moment in time to seize the conversation and make a meaningful statement. Retailers and manufacturers should also feel there is opportunity.
While selling magazines at retail is very important to us, retailers should view their relationship with these brands as an important, trusted connection for them with the consumers and the products in their store.
DSN: What can the retailer expect from the campaign and the industry in the year ahead? How will it be measured?
LTB: It is early, but the campaign has already received positive feedback, social media engagement and considerable press attention. A Coastal Living reader wrote the magazine applauding the campaign, saying, “Since I have long ago given up on television’s selective news and prefer to read my news, it was good to see this in your magazine.” It’s rare for a reader to take action on praising an advertisement, and it reflects on how this campaign is resonating with consumers.
CPG clients have been receptive to the messages, as well, and agree with the messaging. Ultimately, we will know it succeeded when we see magazine media advertising budgets increase, leading to more retail sales.
Building beauty engagement
BY Joann Marks
Since 1990, Cosmetic Promotions has offered its clients experiential marketing for beauty brands and retailers. With services that include product sampling, demonstrations, launch kits and sweepstakes, among other services, founder and CEO Joann Marks said the company’s aim is to help its clients save money and labor.
Drug Store News caught up with Marks to discuss her company’s offerings and how its clients can set themselves apart from the competition.
Drug Store News: Tell us about Cosmetic Promotions. What’s your sales pitch to retailers and manufacturers?
Joann Marks: We help the retailers by creating beauty programs that engage, educate and delight their customers. For the manufacturers, we create customized experiential marketing tools for the introduction, sampling, and training of beauty and personal care products. Our “events in a box” are distributed to the stores to energize store associates’ interactions with customers. We ship 750,000 of these kits every year. In the last 10 years, we have placed more than 70 million samples into targeted consumers hands and provided live training to almost 60,000 beauty advisors/store associates. We do all this via a “shared vendor” model that has saved our clients more than $20 million — and tens of thousands of labor hours — since 1990.
DSN: As retailers and suppliers strive for differentiation in the marketplace, how can you help them set themselves apart?
JM: We are the only experiential marketing company that is exclusive to beauty — and the mass side of beauty at that. We are small enough to respond quickly and flexibly, and large enough to handle all their needs. From program creation and facilitation to full-scale advertising campaigns. plus, we are the only agency with more than 8,000 beauty experts — professional makeup artists, licensed skin/nail and hair professionals — listed. No other company has that depth or capability.
DSN: You are involved in in-store activities? Tell us about them and how it builds sales and consumer loyalty?
JM: Our entire focus is on increasing customer interaction and sales at store level. Therefore, we are the expert at in-store activations. Some 89% of all first-time purchases are the result of a trial. So, we design and implement makeover events that allow customers to try before they buy. This is essential to capturing and building consumer loyalty. If a product cannot be tried on at the store, our amazing sampling events provide the consumer with a trial in their home.
At the DSN Industry Issues Summit in November, one of the panelists talked about “another layer of intimacy.” That perfectly describes what we do. I just read a new article that said since retailers have cut costs is by reducing the number of store associates on staff — some 89,000 jobs in the last 12 months — that has reduced opportunities for consumer engagement. Yet studies prove that consumers are demanding more associate assistance — at least 70% report their in-store shopping experience would be improved by a sales associate with a deep knowledge of products.
DSN: What about the brands/manufacturers? What are you doing to help them?
JM: Once a brand uses us for a program at a chain, they realize we are a perfect partner for a much larger range of projects. Right now, the hot ticket seems to be gift-with-purchase items that we can develop for the brands. We also create customized displays that are perfect for new launches and sampling initiatives.
DSN: What have been some of your favorite projects?
JM: Hands-down my favorite project was our Glam Camp back-to-school event that included a national model search in conjunction with Seventeen Magazine. We created a complete “surround-sound” event that included in-store displays, a mail-in GWP, store displays/signage, and magazine spread. Our company didn’t source anything out – we handled it soup to nuts including the web design, social media campaign and even the voting software. I had the privilege of interviewing dozens of young ladies who entered the contest and got to accompany the annual winners to New York City for their professional magazine shoot. It was so much fun and there were so many moving parts that it was very exciting to work on. The results were fantastic, with sales up 13.5% over the previous year, coupon redemption almost 14% ahead and return on vendor investment was at 150:1.
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