Best Practices for Wireless Retail: How to Engage With Different Generations

2019-12-18 08_39_12-man sitting in front of silver MacBook photo – Free Computer Image on Unsplash

 

There is no one size fits all shopping experience when it comes to your wireless retail store — you have a wide variety of demographics that are all looking for the same thing: the products they want in an environment they love.

Today's wireless retailers already have a lot to contend with; evolving customer expectations, fierce competition, Amazon, and aging infrastructure. Throw in the diverse expectations that each generation has and you'd got yourself a juggling act worthy of a 21st century circus.

The good news? Though they differ in age, dance moves, and expectations, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel to reach every demographic. But you do need to be versatile enough in your marketing and in-store efforts to satisfy them all. You also need to check your assumptions at the door (for instance, the generation most likely to come and shop with you in-store instead of online? It isn't the one that grew up with no internet).

So, how exactly can you make an in-store path to purchase that appeals to the masses, regardless of their age? Let's find out!

Baby boomers

Born before the age of mobile shopping, baby boomers appreciate an efficient, no-nonsense in-store experience. Between the ages of 5575, these consumers either know what they want or are seeking out information quickly before making a purchase. With 84% of baby boomers saying they prefer to shop in-store, it’s imperative that you deliver an exceptional in-store experience for this consumer.  

But don’t mistake their “get in, get out” attitude for a lack of appreciation. This generation places immense value on the interactions they have with sales representatives, help desks, and management. Baby boomers may not spend hours browsing your shelves, but if an associate fails to provide useful and friendly service, they will be quick to take their business elsewhere — their loyalty lies where the customer service is exceptional.

How to engage with baby boomers

To grab the attention of baby boomers away from the competition, your store should consider the following tactics:

  • Show your expertise. Showcase the knowledge of your staff and the efficiency of your service. Train associates to listen to consumer pain points and deliver the desired solution quickly.
  • The fine art of upselling. Baby boomers have the discretionary income to buy exactly what they want regardless of if it’s discounted— they are’t looking to shop and save. They know value. An upsell to a related product that provides value may be an effective tool to increase the ROI on that purchase interaction.
  • No sticker shock. This generation has a certain lack of price sensitivity that could be correlated to their aversion to browsing; they know the price of what they are looking to purchase and don’t mind forking out the cash to get it.

Gen X

Sandwiched between baby boomers and millennials, Gen X were raised to fly under the radar; get up, do the job, and don’t make a fuss. It’s perhaps this attitude (and the fact that they’re a much smaller group than the older and younger generations that sandwich them) that earns them the nickname "middle child." Meaning that the generation that gave us Kurt Cobain, Nintendo, and the VCR is often an afterthought to businesses. 

You'd be at an advantage to include this generation in your marketing efforts. Consumers who are considered Gen X are between the ages of 4054 years old and hold a significant amount of buying power in the retail industry, wireless included. Their income (on average) is higher than the national average, as well as the average for other generations. They also have the highest brand loyalty across all the generations. Meaning: if you know how to target and reach them, you'll earn yourself a valuable, loyal customer.

Gen X-ers are conservative spenders and believe that they will be better off financially in the next 12 months because of it. With  their propensity to save, these shoppers have a healthy dose of skepticism about marketing tactics and won’t be wooed by flashy graphics, in-store activations, and “too-good-to-be-true” discountsthey’re looking for real value from the businesses they engage with.

While their shopping habits were not born in the digital age like other demographics, Gen X has been quicker to adapt to technological changes. Baby boomers may be scared off by personalized marketing tactics, tailored discounts, or other value-add offerings, but these “middle children” see it as filtered advertising. Anything that isn’t adapted to meet their needs is noise to be ignored.

How to engage with Gen X

Generation X’s desire to take care of themselves and their loved ones further showcases their longingness to prepare for the future. To capture the loyalty of Gen X consumers, businesses (that’s you!) should:

  • Show off your product expertise. Harness the power of the products and services they offer. Your store has a wide array of items that are sure to wow Gen X, it’s just a matter of showing them the benefits your product menu can provide.
  • Personalized retail. Clienteling, or personalized retail experience, is essential for this demographic. Whether it be in in-store sales associates taking service to a new level or digital interactions being made seemingly for that exact shopper, it will be essential to keep the Gen X-ers from heading over to your competition.
  • Leverage data and analytics. Use insights captured from previous sales to predict what these consumers will want and reach out with coupons, discounts, or information that would move them to make another purchase with your business.

Millennials

Ah, the millennials: the butt of every joke, yet the driver of change in retail. Aged 25–39, these consumers proved to be the biggest influence on the industry but were, and arguably still are, very misunderstood (avocado toast, anyone?). They remember getting their first cell phone (the kind that flips) and were frequent visitors to their local shopping malls. Using an interesting mix of virtual and physical retailing, millennials force businesses to cover all their bases and omnichannel is the best way to do that.

Older millennials are keener to use online platforms to purchase items which is likely due to their introduction to the world of e-commerce when they were just becoming independent consumers. But millennials who are closer to 25 than 39 are more willing to purchase items from a physical storefront after researching an item online. These younger shoppers are looking for an experience; it’s no longer good enough for a retailer to simply have the right item in stock and complete the transaction.

As the first “social media generation,” millennials have been driven by experience – to them, it’s social currency. It was from this generation that influencer marketing proved to be a viable marketing tactic where word-of-mouth is a key decision-making criterion for consumers in this demographic.

How to engage with millennials

Wireless retailers have a unique opportunity to showcase their products and draw in the millennial generation:

  • Offer additional services. From large campaigns like Apple’s in-store learning sessions to small-scale initiatives like a spin a wheel, get a prize operation, this generation will love you for catering to all their senses on their retail journey.
  • Get social. Businesses that succeed in engaging with millennials are already doing one thing really well: being savvy with social media. This generation will grant you brand loyalty if you use authentic, personalized content and engage with them on social.
  • Give back. 75% of millennials said it’s fairly or very important that a company give back to society in some way, and will, in fact, pay more for a product, if it means it will make a positive impact to an important social cause.

Gen Z

Last but certainly not least is Gen Z. As true digital natives, these shoppers grew up with all the gadgets at their fingertips literally. As social-media savvy, technologically in-tune, experience-driven shoppers, this demographic expects the world of your store. But don’t worry! Delivering on their demands isn’t impossible. All it takes is understanding their vast but predictable shopping patterns.

Similarly to their Millennial predecessor, Gen Z turns to the internet for information before they head into a store to buy, because above all, this generation's core behavior revolves around a search for truth. What does this mean for your business? An appealing and educational online presence is necessary. Nothing is more infuriating to a Gen Z-er than not being able to find store hours, product details, or current and upcoming sales online. If your store isn’t in the first few search results or doesn’t have the details these consumers need to be confident your store can satisfy their demand, then onto the competition they will move.

But it doesn’t stop there! Even with their entrenchment in all things digital and borderline obsession with whatever the latest social media platform is, the Gen Z shopper still prefers to come into your store to make their purchase. Considering the high-involvement purchase that a new cell phone can be, your wireless store can appeal to the Gen Z consumer with exceptional customer service that clearly shows you care for your customers. Having the chance to hold the device, try on protective cases, and even trial their chosen phone to see if it’s “the one” means the world to Gen Z consumers. They appreciate that warm, fuzzy feeling they get from taking a new purchase home on the spot as opposed to the “click, pay, and wait” that happens with an e-commerce transaction.

How to engage with Gen Z

Remember: while Gen Z grew up with smartphones and other mobile, “always-on” and connected devices, they value the truth behind all things.

  • Leverage User-generated content. UGC is a new-wave of word-of-mouth that many retailers have employed to bring this demographic into their store, and can employ pictures, testimonials ,and videos of shoppers with their new product that they share on social media. These are then reshared by a retailer to show a happy customer during the post-purchase. These young consumers see themselves in these posts and are far more likely to consider buying from that retailer.
  • Optimize for mobile. Gen Z lives with their mobile devices constantly at hand for socializaing, shopping, researching, connecting. That means they’re always multi-tasking, and you have about 8 seconds to capture their attention. Content should be engaging, interactive,and delivered with lots of visuals.
  • Let them be authentic. Gen Z takes personalization a step further. Individualization allows consumers of this generation to shape the experience or product themselves.

Catering your marketing strategy and in-store processes to meet the needs of multiple demographic groups may seem daunting but you’re likely already doing many of these tactics. Your wireless store has the know-how and all it takes is a conscious effort to make sure every demographic is being communicated within the way that speaks to them, when and where it matters. Keep their expectations in mind, and you’ll have loyal customers of all ages!

Manage expectations across all generations 

The right software can help you manage expectations. A robust, omnichannel-ready, data-driven solution is the best way to create a customer-centric experience for anyone that walks through your door.

What a Unified Experience Looks Like