Although millennials have a reputation for being glued to their phone screens, you can make their in-store experience meaningful in ways large and small.
Make your physical space inviting to young adults to put them in the mood to shop. Your store’s decor and lighting—when was it last refreshed? Could it use an update? Be honest with yourself—or tap a trusted friend who won’t sugarcoat the reality. Pick up a travel magazine and flip through photos of trendy hotel lobbies, or peruse a few design blogs to find out what resonates with your new customers.
Invite them to take photos—or, better yet, train your sales staff to step in if they see customers taking selfies, and encourage them to tag your store when they upload the pictures to social media.
Don’t overlook the power of sound. Brands popular with millennials (for example, Starbucks and Uber) let customers have a say in the music that plays while they experience the brand. Use a music streaming service such as Spotify, and invite customers to stream their playlists.
Your inventory matters as well. Millennials grew up in an era where even their morning latte could be customized an almost infinite number of ways, so they expect fine jewelry to be something they can have a hand in creating. Stock pieces that can be individualized, and consider having a virtual catalog available on an iPad for them to browse, so they can see far more options than you can carry in your showcases.
It’s true that millennials are a confident generation—but only up to a point. Part of the reason young adults seem perpetually tethered to mobile devices is that they solicit the opinions of friends, family, and experts before making a decision. They also seek out and value professional advice to a greater extent than older shoppers, according to a Jewelers Mutual survey that asked “if they preferred assistance when choosing fine jewelry.”
So expect to answer questions from millennial shoppers not only about cut and carat, but also about the story of how the piece was crafted as well as required upkeep or maintenance. Recommend insurance policies that will keep their valuables safe and give them peace of mind if the item is lost, stolen, or damaged. This is great advice they may not expect to receive inside a jewelry store.
The unique experiences independent brick-and-mortar stores create for millennial customers, with a space to try on pieces, ask questions, and craft stories, infuse their newfound jewelry with greater meaning and value. And the lasting impression you make is one they will be willing to share.