How to Serve Gen Y Customers In-Store

Feb 17, 2012 — Allan Pulga

We've blogged in the past about hiring and training Gen Y employees, who make up a large part of the in-store wireless retail workforce. But a new blog post on MediaPost.com takes a look at the other side of the counter: How to serve Gen Y customers.

"This generation's parents have help them up as deities and, as a result, they don't feel that they are 'allowed' to make mistakes," writes Patrick Evans.

Evans identifies two types of Gen Y customers that retailers should accomodate:

1. The Researcher
2. The Avoider

The Researcher "comes into a retail shop with smartphone or tablet in hand, knowing exactly what they want and exactly how much they want to pay for it," Evans writes.

"This is their way of combating a knowledge gap that they perceive exist between themselves and a sales person, who is often on commission. The salesperson has knowledge of what they want to sell and why, because they may have a financial benefit to sell one product over another that they don’t disclose for obvious reasons."

The Avoider "is the one you really have to worry about if your retail operation only exists in a brick-and-mortar space. This Gen Y consumer won't even visit your store because of a fear of looking stupid and being on the losing end of a battle with your sales staff."

So how to address these different customer types? As the headline implies. Don't make them feel stupid.

An inoffensive way to mitigate the product knowledge gap, Evans suggests, is to offer self-service displays that allow Gen Y customers to freely walk through the store and gather information for themselves.

Our XQ Interactive Retail solution is all about empowering walk-in customers to browse on their own. And since Gen Y consumers are generally tech-savvy, engaging with a touch screen while in-store would be a natural inclination for them -- and for both Gen Y customer types: Researchers and Avoiders alike.

The Reserarcher will be drawn in by the opportunity to learn more about the product they've been tracking online or on their mobile device. The Avoider will be pleased to shop in the store and, if a sales associate were to offer assistance, they can politely wave them off and indicate that the touch screen is providing all the information they need.

"High pressure and low knowledge won't work for Gen Y," Evans adds. "Work to provide an inviting retail experience that allows customers to discover what they love about your product, not how quickly you can get into their wallets."

Topics: Retail Operations, Mobile Industry, Customer Experience, Business Intelligence, e-Commerce

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