Video via National Retail Federation. All rights reserved.

This a clip of Lee Peterson’s talk at Retail’s BIG Show 2017. The unique point of the video to me is that, not necessarily for digital products and services, it taps into the use of technology and digital natives (millennials) marketing strategy for some traditional retail business, such as Nike and Starbucks. It is important to look at business providing daily commodities as well. In this internet-driven era, obviously, millennials have different consumption habits than the generation before them, which drives those not-born-tech companies to think about how to adopt technology and renew their business strategy for responding to different habits and mindset.

Experience is everything. Now we can experience a lot of things on the Internet. We experience desktop websites, mobile applications, or online games, which are online experiences. What about offline? I talked about the intersection of user experience and brand royalty in previous post about UX design that is more of digital products or services. I won’t say that argument is totally adaptable for offline business marketing, while the two sectors – online and offline – do share a same core strategy when it comes to millennials marketing, which is providing millennials with good experience in their way.

In the video Peterson argues that millennials are open to technology and new changes, and even desire for new changes and different services, which I think is quite fair, as long as that those changes give them good experience and make their lives happier and easier. The specific example he gives is offline store shopping. You might ask, “how big is the benefit of improving offline store experience in this Internet and online shopping-addictive age? Is that even worthy?” Well, the only answer I can give you is about some pieces of my personal experience. Yes, I buy 90% of my clothing online, but before I make decisions I try 80% of them in store offline. And I know a lot of people of my generation do so as well. No matter it is Nike, Apple, Northface, or Starbucks, what they do is to make sure those people who come to their stores are having good experience.

In past days, good experience may mean a cup of coffee when you step in the door or a friendly attitude of service. Now these are not enough especially for millennials. Companies are making effort to keep up with their expectations, adopting new technology to match their appetite and give them the best experience. Sounds easy or not, it is one of the most effective way to attract customers and gain their brand loyalty. The most interesting and important point is the change of mindset of those companies – online and offline are complementary to each other; even just doing well on one side could benefit both. So they are delivering this kind of message, “Come and experience our brand. Don’t worry, we don’t care you buy in store right now or later on the Internet, but just do it with us.”

Again, experience is everything. Adopting catchy technology is just step 1, more deeply, technology should be used in the right way to live up to millennials’ expectations of experience.

One thought just jumped out of my mind, what if one day Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are completely able to do the job of offline experience? Personally, as a highly tech-adaptable millennial, I quite expect it to come. But before that, let’s just stick to the point but also keep responsive to the changing changes.

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