What do Millennials want in store design?
Tidy and fun are among the features Millennials are looking for in store design, according to a study from researchers at the University of Florida.
As part of the study, Millennial students at the school evaluated stores within a five-mile radius of campus. Over 500 images, accompanied by detailed annotations averaging about 30 words of what they liked and didn’t like were analyzed.
The study, featured in the Journal of Interior Design, uncovered seven themes:
- Tidiness: Millennials reacted negatively to selling floors that appeared messy and dirty. They even objected to having employees restocking shelves when they were shopping.
- Organization: Clearly organized merchandise (e.g., color blocking) that facilitated the shopping experience was frequently called out.
- Humor/fun: Participants appreciated tongue-in-cheek humor, whether from novel mannequin displays, playful imagery or witty signs.
- Quality: Millennials liked when bargain stores invested in higher-end displays that seemed to enhance the quality of the products.
- Ease: Retail environments with well-defined spaces that encouraged easy navigation to find what they were looking for without question were preferred.
- Personalization: Millennials appreciated having an “at-home experience” or residential feeling inside stores.
- Aesthetic attributes: Some shoppers identified the color white as aesthetically pleasing and representative of “upscale,” “clean,” and “modern” interiors. Another hue that drew interest was the color red because it signaled sales merchandise.
The study did not cover what many have said are important areas of concern in designing for Millennials, such as addressing the tech-savvy generation with interactive touchscreens, videos and charging stations. Providing opportunities for social sharing is also often recommended.
In a blog entry, WSG Interiors, a U.K.-based store design specialist, wrote that studies show that Millennials see shopping more as a social activity and delivering “an ‘experience’ is a new thing” for many stores. However, rather than simply adding a café to a store or setting up gimmicks like selfie points, the design changes have to work for the customer.
“For many, it won’t really take much realignment, just a little extra thought,” WSG wrote. “But for others, this might mean revisiting their entire store design. It’s about understanding your audience.”
- Inside the Mind of the Millennial Shopper: Designing Retail Spaces for a New Generation – Journal of Interior Design
- Millennials want these 7 things in a store’s design – Futurity
- Witty, tidy and upscale: What millennials like in store design – University of Florida News
- Retailers refocus on millennial shoppers – The Gainesville Sun
- 3 Ways Whole Foods Is Using Design to Appeal to Millennials – Inc.com
- Design Your Retail Store To Attract Millennial Shoppers – RMSe
- Should Retail Design Change For Millennials? – WSG Interiors
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What store design changes may be necessary to better address Millennials? What other suggestions would you add to those mentioned in the article?