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Gen Z and Millennials in US back brick-and-mortar stores
Apr '16
A new research study by iModerate, an American insights firm, reveals that most consumers consider it important for retailers to have a physical store, and the first in-store impression is a critical factor in building loyalty. It also uncovers the key factors that contribute to a stellar shopping experience for each generation.

In the quantitative portion of iModerate's study of over 800 consumers, 74 per cent said it is important for brands to have a physical location, rather than solely selling online. Interestingly, younger generations tend to feel this way more than their older counterparts. Eighty per cent of Gen Zers and 82 per cent of Millennial respondents said it is important, compared to 69 per cent of Gen Xers and 65 per cent of Boomers.

One of the biggest lures for in-store shopping is the assurance that comes from seeing, feeling and trying on merchandise, particularly items such as clothing, shoes and cosmetics. This is especially true for first-time buying experiences when brand perceptions are made and loyalty is decided.

"One of brick-and-mortar's greatest advantages over other channels is that there's an opportunity for shoppers to interact with products, and that gives them the confidence they need to make a purchase,” said iModerate CMO Adam Rossow. “Retailers can take even small steps to capitalize on these exploratory shopping habits, such as creating close-up experiences with new styles, providing samples and demos, and ensuring there are ample mirrors and fitting rooms.”

iModerate found that the in-store experience matters most to consumers when they're buying high-priced items, buying specialty items (such as a prom dress), buying items they need help deciding on or understanding, when they're in a hurry and at the holidays.

The study also revealed that each generation is looking to get something different from their store visits. Gen Z seeks the reassurance found through the sensorial. Stores like Charlotte Russe and Forever 21 enable them to try on various sizes and styles that are difficult to perfect online, and brands such as Sephora offer samples and demos.

Millennials seek efficiency and quality. Many are launching careers and have young families so they need to shop frequently, and favor big-box stores for their ability to quickly find everything they need in one place.

The study found that Gen X seeks an escape and discoveries. With bustling careers and older kids, their life is hectic and they appreciate stores such as Target that offer a getaway through calm music, coffee, etc.

Boomers seek comfort and space. Many are living on limited incomes, so they like to touch products before buying them and balk at paying for shipping. They also value low music, light scents and seating. (SH)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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