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Selling to the Millennial Tribe

November 5, 2012

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from the Retail Doctor's blog.

Even though your store has that certain look and feel and you have the right merchandise with an excellent open-to-buy program, Millennials have now made your job even harder.

How?

Because it isn't just one person walking into your store, it's a whole tribe.

For Millennials, shopping is like an online social game; the task is to find something unique at a store, ask your tribe whether it is worth adding to your collection, then pay for it and encourage others to trust your choice. They share photos of their collection on Instagram and the other social networks to build credibility. Once that is established, they will trade, repurpose, resell or donate their temporary purchases to make room for others.

Retailers are no longer contending with just one person during the sale but with an entire circle of social connections. And you're not dealing with them after they've worn the garment, used the widget or redecorated their place with it, but prior to the purchaser saying, "I'll take it."

And once those customers have the tribe's okay, how will you as a retailer get the rest of the tribe to come into your store? Word-of-mouth used to take weeks — now it is in nanoseconds. That's why smart retailers must sell to the tribe, not just the individual in front of them.

The good news is that done correctly, this will propel sales much higher. This is an important difference as Boomers were all trying to fit in with the "must have" pair of shoes, outfit or toy. Millennials want to show their individuality, but it must be approved in advance by others miles or continents away while they are in your store.

Marginalize, judge or ignore these players and you've ignored potentially hundreds of others.

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