Millennials Shop Local : Why They Love Shopping Local

5 Reasons Why Millennials Love Shopping Local

If you’re in the retail industry, you’ve probably heard the buzz about millennials — a generation that currently holds a large amount of purchasing power and is comfortable shopping both in-store and online. Retailers today are re-examining their marketing and sales strategies to meet the unique demands of this generation, who show shopping tendencies that are quite different than their parents’. In search of a “better, faster, and more memorable” experience, millennials do rely on social media and online resources when they shop — but they’re often looking to connect their online experience with an in-store one, according to one report.

With the world of ecommerce and big-box retailers at their fingertips, why do millennials continue to choose to shop local? We have five reasons why local matters to millennials.

1. Shopping local is an experience. One of millennials’ defining characteristics is their desire to have an experience at all times — whether working, cooking, shopping, or relaxing. Driven by a combination of 1) wanting a unique story to share over social media and 2) valuing adventure and excitement over other priorities, millennials crave an in-store shopping experience that is just as much about the physical place of purchase as it is about the purchase itself.

2. Shopping local is a better way to connect. As one study shows, millennials are savvy enough to know when they’re “just a number” on a large company’s email, phone call, or direct mail distribution list — and they’ll immediately unsubscribe, hang up, or throw away marketing materials that feel mass produced. Instead, millennials prefer to connect with retailers that are “hyper-targeted” to their location and interests. This preference for localized content could be one reason why traditional radio is still popular with the generation, and why millennials prefer to shop at local stores in their area.

3. Shopping local is a movement. The success of socially conscious brands like Tom’s Shoes, Whole Foods, and Warby Parker shows that millennials are concerned about their surroundings and eager to make a statement with their purchases. Their affinity for shopping at local stores isn’t just about convenience or the experience; it’s also about taking a stance and supporting their local communities. This type of behavior has created the nationwide success of local shopping movements like Small Business Saturday.

4.Shopping local is customized. Millennials are stereotyped for having an egocentric attitude; and when it comes to shopping, this could very well be true. Bombarded with thousands of options on the Internet, millennials expect that a retailer will be able to provide exactly what they’re looking for. Unlike big-box stores, local shops are often able to be more flexible when it comes to special and custom orders — and millennials value them for that.

5. Shopping local is less scary. Millennials are less likely to trust big businesses, perhaps as a result of the financial crisis and recent security threats among mega retailers like Target and Best Buy. Therefore, the local shopping experience appears refreshingly safe and simple. With that being said, certain large brands like Walmart seem to be winning with this generation nonetheless — which suggests that despite moral and social preferences, price and convenience play an undeniable role in millennials’ shopping habits, too.

Is your retail brand looking to connect with this new generation of buyers? Contact us to learn how.

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