During VMSD’s inaugural IRDC Roadshow in June, keynote speaker Marian Salzman told the audience of retailers and designers, “Millennials are probably not the sort of consumers you would have wished for, but they’ve arrived. So what will you do to reach them?”
Salzman was referring to millennials’ finicky reputations, their sense of immediacy and their desire to have social shopping be a natural part of their buying experiences, among other characteristics used to define this generation. Retailers and brands desperately need to get to know them – they’re poised to be the largest and most influential consumer group by 2015.
The discussion got me thinking about all the generations and types of shoppers and who retailers would pick if given the chance. Do you prefer the toddler-toting mom over a DINK? Male shoppers or female? Baby boomers versus gen-Y consumers?
And what about Henry, the “High Earner Not Rich Yet” shopper earning between $100,000 and $250,000 a year? These customers represent 40 percent of consumer spending, according to a recent Bloomberg article. “They’re the heavy-lifters of the consumer economy,” Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing (Stevens, Pa.), tells Bloomberg. If they become more cautious, she warns, bad things may happen to our economy.
But sales reports from April, May and June show signs that consumers – including Henrys – are already curbing their spending over concerns about the global economy, stock market performance and home values. Which leads me back to the idea of different consumer types: How well do you know the people entering your stores? Are you adapting to their changing needs and habits?
One way to get to know your shoppers better is using shopper insights tools. In our special report this month, VMSD discusses a host of new technologies to help retailers track shoppers’ habits within the store environment. (Learn more on page 18.)
Another way to gather consumer data is to spend three days with VMSD during our annual International Retail Design Conference, held in Chicago, September 5-7. Here, you’ll also have the chance to glean insight from such top brands as Starbucks, Gap, Hershey, Target, H2O+, Liverpool and McDonald’s.
With mounting pressure to please shareholders and deliver positive sales reports, you have to be prepared to meet the needs of all shoppers. What are you doing to reach millennials, boomers, Xers, Henrys and everyone else who walks through your doors?