Millennials (Generation Y) are the largest generation in U.S. history. As many of them approach their prime working and spending years, the impact they will have on the economy is tremendous. In fact, Statista reported that 88.2% of millennials intended to buy home furnishings in 2021 — topping all other generations surveyed.
Since millennials are such a huge target audience, it’s crucial to keep up with ecommerce trends specifically regarding their habits as consumers so your furniture business can meet their needs. Below, we’ll discuss what millennials are buying, how they’re buying it, and a few ways you can provide a seamless shopping experience for every generation.
Born between the years 1981 and 1996, millennials are 25 to 41 years old, putting them directly in the peak home-buying years (25 to 45 years old as defined by Goldman Sachs). This includes furniture buying too.
As a matter of fact, millennials are already top buyers of furniture, with over 41% of them preferring to buy a full room of furniture. Ecommerce trends for 2022 are likely to maintain millennials as top spenders in the furniture industry. Retailers and marketers have been forewarned that sales and marketing tactics need to change in order to win over this generation.
That’s no simple feat, however, retailers can begin by understanding a few of their foundational traits, how they prefer to communicate, and how they interact with retail. For example, the tendency of millennials to buy multiple big-ticket furniture items at one time should be considered when creating an omnichannel strategy. Having the ability for these shoppers to see products related to their selected item can increase furniture sales and provide the best experience possible for these big-ticket buyers.
Shopping In-store vs. Online
In an industry like furniture, there are native advantages to offering in-store experiences — more specifically, touch-and-feel experiences or more efficient frameworks for delivery. However, these experiences should encompass more than just the physical products in your stores.
Mobile experiences, the in-store environment, and the ability to transition from online to in-store seamlessly will influence whether or not a millennial prefers shopping in your store.
Additionally, the pandemic has impacted how shoppers complete the buyer’s journey. Accenture found that “the vast majority of consumers who have increased their use of digital and omnichannel services, such as home delivery, curbside pickup or shopping via social media platforms, expect to sustain these activities into the future.”
The indication is that millennials will most likely receive information about products and brands online. According to Furniture Today, 39% of millennials “make both in-store and online purchases.”
Many may start their online shopping journey by:
- Reading product ratings and reviews.
- Searching for the best value.
- Comparing pricing.
They may then complete their purchase online or visit a store in person to complete their furniture selection and buying process.
Furniture retailers can flourish by unifying online and brick-and-mortar messaging and resources. That’s why furniture businesses are looking to invest in technology that can benefit both of these channels. Ecommerce platform features like OneView, localized marketing and merchandising, and more can sync these two channels and offer millennials exactly what they need to purchase your products.
Catering to Millennials’ Communication Preferences
The University of Houston - Victoria (UHV) reports that while millennials can communicate in multiple ways effectively, “engagement is key.” As the first generation to grow up in the digital age, millennials are often seen as adaptable and ready to embrace ecommerce trends.
However, they may not hesitate to leave your website due to slow loading times or to pick another option if your delivery options are not communicated clearly from the beginning. To avoid abandoned online carts, consider the ways in which millennials prefer to receive information and answers to their questions.
Preferred forms of communication for millennials are:
- Text messaging (or chat). Many would rather text with a salesperson than meet them face-to-face. Retailers should consider this when reviewing their in-store processes, and, of course, always provide live chat as an online communication option.
- Email. Engagement is key. The subject line determines whether it’ll be opened and read. Retailers need to be catchy, concise, and to the point in their email messaging. Bulleted content and visual content work wonders for captivating this generation.
- Social media connections. Your brand needs to be as accessible as the Facebook app on a millennial’s smartphone. When millennials need to reach you, they’ll turn to social media. Retailers need to be present and able to keep up with the industry trends to impress Generation Y.
The forms of communication least preferred by millennials are:
- Face-to-face. Particularly when considering an unfamiliar purchase, like furniture, it can be daunting for millennials to communicate in person.
- Phone Calls. Sometimes seen as an invasion of privacy and inconvenient, phone communication isn’t as popular as searching online to find answers. Millennials may not like being put on hold, as it interrupts their schedule. Plus, they may not listen to voicemails.
There’s a significant opportunity to win over millennials when it comes to smartphones — with mobile being the best channel to catch their attention. In an era of mobile-first website development, it’s paramount to keep mobile top of mind when considering all aspects of your brand.
Adapting to Ecommerce Trends With Everyone in Mind
Trends in the ecommerce industry will continue to adapt to shoppers from every walk of life. That’s because all generations (including millennials) have changed their shoppings habits, both due to the pandemic and to elevated expectations of the tech world.
Platforms utilizing responsive design, like Blueport, can ensure a seamless shopping experience. This allows millennials — and everyone — to shop and communicate with your brand on their terms.
To discover how to attract all shoppers from the tech-savvy millennial to the in-store opportunist baby boomer, read more about The Online Furniture Shopping Journey.