From the eyes of your millennial customer (4/4): Offline Community

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As a brand loyalist and a customer experience advocate, I’m probably one of your most difficult customers to please. Throw in that I am a millennial who’s a part of the $65 billion market, I hope you are still willing to read this Digital Retail Analysis.

This article is the fourth out of a four part series about millennial customers’ expectations for Retail. If you have not yet read Part One, Two, and Three, please view it now. Each article discusses an expectation and offers recommendations for aligning your business and IT strategy to meet the desires of your customers using Salesforce. Each customer experience topic is supported by research by Gartner and Forbes.

Expectation 4: Participating in an Offline Community

Sure, millennials grew up in the internet age, but that doesn’t mean we don’t crave connecting live. Brands that invest in experiences, where we can get to know them better and to have a higher purpose definitely set themselves apart from the rest.

As a millennial customer, we want to be immersed and surprised in offline experiences, so that we can engage with the brands we love in more memorable ways. When was the last time a brand immersed you in an experience that you actually remember? Were you at a festival, passing through your neighborhood, or at a sponsored event? Remember what it felt like and what stood out to you.

In a world that is increasingly digital, we cannot forget that experiences that connect us are more impressionable. That’s why as a customer advocate, you know that by building stronger relationships with customers and partners in meaningful events, you will drive positive publicity and brand recognition.

Let’s paint a picture of an immersive offline community. Take Lululemon, for example. Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, Canada, their vision for their stores  “was to create more than a place where people could get gear to sweat in, we wanted to create a community hub where people could learn and discuss the physical aspects of healthy living, mindfulness and living a life of possibility. It was also important for us to create real relationships with our guests and understand what they were passionate about, how they liked to sweat and help them celebrate their goals. Today, we do this in our stores around the globe” (Lululemon).

A retail store can no longer be brick and mortar. It should also include an experience. When you walk into a Lululemon store, you might just stumble into a yoga or wellness workshop. This element of surprise and delight, keeps your customers in the store longer. We want to feel like we are a part of your community. Offering us additional services or specific products for us to make lifestyle choices is more appealing than offering us the next best yoga mat. We actually remember engaging with your brand.

If you visit Lululemon’s website, you will also find local support for you to deepen your yoga practice, such as booking your classes online or reading best practice blogs. The digital and offline community are seamlessly connected and relevant to us based on our geographical location. Plus, what better way to gather customer feedback than to have customers wear your clothing line in a specific activity?

In a recent Salesforce Retail survey, millennials 52% strongly / somewhat agree that it would help them make a purchase in-store if the retail associates knew about their wishlist, search history, and social media activity (2016). The reality is that millennials are already conducting further product research in the store anyway. So, instead of having millennials research a new place to buy the product, why not capture that experience in an online community where the purchase is encouraged in your store?

If you have a Salesforce Community, you have the opportunity to integrate your products in-store and in-warehouse to your customer. They can learn more about the fabric and benefits of your yoga pants. They can decide they would like to add them to their wish list for the holidays, after they have tried them on in the store. They can read other customer’s reviews of the product on your page, which might compel them to buy. They can check the stock of another color in a nearby store or online. The potential interactions are endless and once again technology can guide you which route to choose for your specific customers.

Every step of the way you are continually adding to the 360 View of your Customer Article 1 and recommending additional products and services for purchase. Why not also consider the profiles and purchases of your customers in relation to how they experience your brand?

Want to learn more about how we can partner to bring your customer to the forefront of your business? Send me a note!

Here are some ways we can partner with you to achieve this vision:

  • Customer Experience Strategy, Mobile Application Design & Development, Implementation of Online Community

Much Gratitude to the Following Authors:

This blog is the last of a four part series on millennial customers’ expectations for Retail. Each article will discuss an expectation and recommendations for aligning your business and IT strategy to meet the desires of your customers using Salesforce. Each customer experience topic is supported by research by Gartner and Forbes.

  1. From the eyes of your millennial customer (1/4): Increasing Brand Recognition
  2. From the eyes of your millennial customer (2/4): Diversity of Products & Services
  3. From the eyes of your millennial customer (3/4): Reward our Loyalty 

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