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The most important thing in retail is… Know. Your. Customers.
Today you’re getting an exclusive view of a favorite panel from my 2023 EVOLVE conference: Generational Shoppers.
In this panel mediated by Nicole Leinbach, representing Gen X, she is joined by her Gen Z daughter Claire, Millennial Stephanie, and Baby Boomer Sandy. They also discuss our youngest generation and one of the most influential on purchasing, Gen Alpha—today’s babies and young children.
These generations have diverse buying power, paths to purchase, and other factors that can help retailers understand how to make a sale.
From scrolling social media to word of mouth, research and reviews, well trained customer service, shoppertainment, brand loyalty, or preventing dreaded returns, each of these generations has unique preferences.
What are you doing right? Where are you missing the mark? Take out your notepad, because this is a direct line into your customer groups with the questions you NEED answered.
I’m rooting for your success!
- A special look at the Generational Shopper Panel from Evolve 2023.
- What does the path to purchase look like across generations?
- Does social media impact all generations?
- How important are well trained staff and good customer service.
- One retail quality every generation agrees on.
Mentioned in the Episode
- EVOLVE 2024 in Denver, CO
- Crystal Media Insiders
- Crystal Media
- Crystal on Instagram
- Crystal Media on Instagram
- Crystal Media Co – YouTube
Get ready for a really cool episode of Rooted in Retail Now. I had a conference called Evolve in April, and hands down one of the most. I was going to say most famous but favorite, sessions at this event was our generational shopping panel. This is where we had four different generations talk about all sorts of things that make them buy, make them not buy, and our retailers loved it.
I loved it and I am letting you listen to it in this episode. This is super special. So you’re going to hear the recording or you can watch it on YouTube as well and see the panelists, but this is gold. You’re going to probably want to take some notes so you can totally listen to this, but you might want to come back and listen with some paper so you could take some notes.
some of the stuff that we talk about in this episode, path to purchase, what’s making you buy, what that whole path is, what your favorite social media websites are. Very eye-opening. Talk about hashtags and how the panelists use them to shop, if they like getting emails or not. How they use emails from stores if reviews influence their purchase in-store social media experiences.
Some really cool ideas for you here and how to get your customers to stay in your store longer. In-store shopping experiences, what kinds of things excites them? What turns them off? What would get them to stop shopping with you? What do they wish brick and mortars did better and more? now just a heads up, there are some audience member questions that you can’t really hear their question in this replay, but the host, Nicole Lineback, does a really good job of, answering these questions to where it connects you, you understand what the question is after you hear the answers.
But I will say there’s one question about apps and, our sponsor comment sold was asking that question and she was wondering if the panelists download. Store apps. Like if the app has a store, I’m sorry if the store has an app, if the panelists are doing that or not, would they download just the store’s app?
So that’s that question. And then somebody also asked a question about Nicole’s son, who’s 13. He was in the audience, what he shops, how he, how he shops. And so she answers that question as well. Now, here’s the deal. You’re going to love this episode, so share it with your retailer friends. And it was so popular and so powerful that I’m bringing it back for evolve 2024.
We’re going to have a couple extra panelists and, who I’m just so excited to hear what changes over a year because we are seeing technology, social media, AI move so fast that I just can’t wait to hear what the panelists say next year. And see what some of the similarities are and what the differences are.
So you’re going to want to get your ticket to evolve, not just for this panel. It, I mean, this panel’s epic, but there it’s two days of gold education for retail stores. And right now, super, super early bird pricing is available. So you can get your evolve ticket for just $197. It’s happening at the Gaylord in Denver, Colorado, April 28th, and 29th in, next year, 2024.
So I’d love to see you there. Get your ticket. This is, An epic price at super, super early bird. So don’t delay. Go to Crystal media co com slash evolve and let’s dive in to this epic episode. Welcome to Rooted In Retail, the show that’s dedicated to helping independent retailers thrive in today’s ever evolving retail landscape.
I’m your host, Crystal Vilkaitis, and I’m thrilled to have you join me weekly as we explore topics that are vital to the success of your store. From marketing to mindset, money to merchandising, sales to leadership will cover it all. Each episode features interviews with industry experts and accomplish retailers who share their real life insights and actionable advice.
Get ready for a great conversation on how to build your dream business with Rooted in Retail. Nicole Lineback is the founder of retail minded.com, the Independent Retailer and Sellers Conference, and the upcoming Stimulate a B2B sexual wellness trade show, which we’ll have a social media day at with Nicole, with a core concentration on independent retailers, small businesses, community, and how the various touchpoints of commerce influence modern merchants.
Lineback is a frequent guest and contributor to various media outlets. That have included the Today Show, forbes entrepreneur.com, and countless B2B publications. Additionally, Lineback has supported American Express’s Small Business Saturday as spokesperson, and is the author of the book, retail 1 0 1, the Guide to Managing and Marketing Your Retail Business from McGraw-Hill.
In 2022, Lineback was recognized as one of women wear DA’s 25 most inspiring women in retail, which is awesome. Woo. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And has been on the list of the world’s most influential retail leaders from Rethink Retail since 2015. She’s a mom of four, three dogs, and also a professor at Columbia College where she teaches retail marketing as a Gen Xer Lineback.
Looks forward to moderating a panel discussion about consumer behaviors across the de the generation. Joining Nicole today is Claire Lauren. Mm-hmm. Who is 14 and a frequent influencer on spending and representing Gen Z. We have Stephanie Mens. Yes. All right, who is 36 and a professional makeup artist and Sandy Kale, who is a proud mom of two four grandchildren and she describes herself as frequent spender who falls in the baby boomer generation who when she introduced me to her earlier, said, I’m the archives.
So get ready for an awesome panel. Let’s go ahead and give it up for that one. Thank you. Hi Mike. Hi everybody. Welcome. First of all, I want to say congratulations. Thank you. I am so proud of Crystal, this amazing experience and event, so thanks for that. Thank you. Congratulations. Thank you. And thank you guys so much for welcoming us today.
as Crystal said, my name is Nicole Leinbach. I’m founder of Retail Minded, and I have so many things to share to you. With you, I should say today, from my amazing panel who I’m actually going to have go ahead and introduce themselves in a bit more detail. So what Crystal explained was the basics, so to speak.
We have four generations represented on stage today. We have myself, which represents as a Gen Xer, 45 years old. We have our baby boomer, we have our millennial, and we have a gen zer. Okay, so I am going to go ahead and ask you first, do you know who your customers are? Okay. Really think about that. Do you guys know who your customers are?
Okay. Who here, show of hands, feels confident that they understand who their consumers are? Okay, that’s great. So today is we continue this conversation. I’m going to challenge that question again because I think we will unveil a lot of insight and it’s awesome that you guys know who your customers are. I know if you’re here today, it means you’re committed to understanding, learning, being proactive.
So that alone is something to be proud of because it’s not always easy to know who your customers are. And so with that in mind, I want to kick off our introductions with Claire Lauren, who I will let introduce herself. and then we will continue on. Claire, welcome. Hi, I’m Claire Lauren. I’m 14. I’m still in eighth grade.
In my free time, I dance a lot. I’m on the Palms team. Recently made the high school dance team, and I shop quite a lot with mom’s consent. and then Stephanie, welcome. Hi, I’m Stephanie. I’m 36. I am, I have a daughter that’s 16. I’ve been a hair makeup artist, on location with bridal and media and commercials and stuff like that, and fashion week.
yeah, so I care about. Beauty in that industry a lot. Yeah. Love it. And Sandy, welcome. Thank you Sandy Kofo. Proud to be a grandma. I guess most, I, as was mentioned before, I have two daughters, 45 and 50 and four grandsons. And my daughters were somehow able to have a boy. Each has a boy, 17 and 21. So it’s great when we get together.
And I represented, as I had mentioned before, the archives. And when I was talking to Nicole, she said, when we looked at the age groups, I’m 78, we’re the silent generation. And I told some of my friends, they said, we’re not silent. Hear me roar. And I said, okay, Nicole, what is the definition? And I think it’s right on.
She said, that’s the generation that really, spends money on health. And home. Not too much else except loves to buy gifts for others. And that’s what I really do when I’m shopping. I’m looking for others. I don’t need one more thing in my home, but it’s fun to look. Well, don’t be fooled. I know Sandy and she loves to buy jewelry for herself too.
Right? So don’t be fooled. It’s one for you. One for me. Yes, exactly. So as you can see, we have a, a great opportunity to learn from our panelists today. They are real consumers. They’re real people. Obviously. They’re going to give you tremendous insight. They’re not just the data that you collect online from our, you know, genius data that gives to us now through social media and email blasts and all that fun stuff.
They’re going to share insight that hopefully. You guys have heard before, but we’ll get into more depth of that. But before we kick this off, I want to go through some of just the basics of marketing and generational marketing more specifically. So by definition, marketing is the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers.
It also includes identifying and understanding who your customers are and allowing you to better understand them, how to market to them. But ultimately, the goal of effective marketing is to increase sales, right? That’s the goal. So understanding your consumer means that you now have the opportunity to be proactive in order to be profitable, and that’s the big takeaway.
If you understand your customers, you can understand how to earn stronger revenue for your business. So knowing who your customers are is key. That is absolutely what we need to accomplish today. Although you guys know who your customers are, I want you to leave here understanding them better, okay? And knowing more about how to reach them.
So let’s begin this conversation with our youngest consumers. So Generation Alpha, who is not represented here today because they’re either at home, at daycare, elementary school, all those places. they’re born between 2010 and 2024, and they influence others to spend. As Sandy said, she loves to buy gifts for others, right?
As a Gen Xer, myself, I also love to buy for others. I’m going to a baby shower this weekend. That baby will be a generation Alpha baby, right? So generation Alpha, although they are not spenders themselves, what we have to remember is they influence spenders. Okay? So how do we both attract? Their attention.
And make no mistake, a four-year-old knows what he or she wants, right? So we have to think about that. They are, going to make up 2.2 billion in population by 2020. So they already have, and then of course, devices and digitals dominate their life. So being a part of that opportunity to connect with them through device and digital is incredibly important.
And then we move to Generation Z. And here we have our 14-year-old with us today. They were born between 1995 and 2010. They have about 44 billion in buying power. And you know, the numbers vary. I will always tell you that I get statistics all the time. I see a variation of numbers. but depending on the report, and this is always from statistics that I trust, S T A t I S T A.com, 44 billion in buying power, they make up one-third of the US population.
So they’re incredibly important to consider how you can market to them, communicate to them, make them loyal to your brand or business, and they’re larger than the millennial generation. Okay? So keeping that in mind, we have to remember if they’re larger than the millennials, What can we do to make sure a third of potentially your business might be attracting them?
Now, millennials, millennials are incredibly important. When they sort of first came into their, I would say, their young twenties when they were year merging into that out-of-high school, early professional years, we heard a lot in the media. We saw a lot of new TV shows, emerging Cater Catering to them. Of course, they have been a huge part of the population of social media and all that good stuff as well.
But they are incredibly important because many of them are parents, but many of them are not parents. Okay? This is one of the first generations that have decided, I don’t want to be a parent, maybe as early as in the past. And many of them had just have decided, I don’t want to be a parent at all. Okay. So those are really important things to think about because as business operators, as those people buying inventory, we have to think about how their discretionary purchases are being made.
We also know that 21% of their discretionary income and purchases are being spent into their elders, their parents. Okay? they have a huge percent or not 21%. 21% is discretionary, but a big majority of what they’re spending on is their own elders. Okay? So that’s really important to think about. Also.
Now, generation X, this is where I fall born, between 1965 and 1980. 31% of total US income is made by this generation, and yet they make up less than 25% of the population, okay? They are strong earners, particularly right now in 2023, as we’re looking at who’s earning the most. It’s Generation X. Okay? They like to spend on experiences.
They like to spend on luxury. They like to spend for themselves, but they definitely know they have a lot of other spending to do, and that’s for their children, also, their older peers, parents, and even grandparents. And they are yet the smallest generation. So we have to really think about how we market to them, because if you actually take a moment to think about what goes on in the media that we see day to day, Most of this generation is not catered to through traditional media.
It’s catered to your Gen Xers or your millennials typically. Okay. Gen X though, or Gen Z’ers, I should say. And millennials. Gen X is extreme, extraordinarily important in terms of spending. So we have to think about how to communicate with them effectively. And this is of course represented by friends, the popular TV show.
So still on repeat and hopefully our millennials and gen seers are learning from them. So right. Nickelodeon at night, 24 hours a day, I feel like you can find it somewhere. And then of course, our baby boomers. They’re born between 1946 and 1964. They are spending most of their income is in fact disposable.
And the US is still, in many ways controlled by boomers. If we actually look at that, I mean, look at our president. Look at many of the leaders of each respective state. Look at the C-level executives at large corporations, right? So boomers are extremely influential in how the circle of inventory, the circle of supply chain, the circle of business, the circle of community, is incredibly important, okay?
they outspend younger generations online, two to one, okay? Now, where they’re spending online is different. It’s not always inventory. A lot of what they’re spending online is experiences. They’re booking travel. Okay? They’re booking, various, they’re buying tickets to the theater. Okay. So interesting to see how they’re spending and where they’re spending as well.
Okay, so we’ll dive deeper into all these points today. but the silent generation is born before 1945, and this is the generation that I would say, Sandy and I have spoke about this. You know, they’re ex extraordinarily influential, still within their family, within their immediate environments, but they’re not buying as much for themselves.
Okay? There’s a lot of medical spending, there’s a lot of life home food spending, but there’s less and less stuff. Okay? and two thirds of this generation are women. So also interesting and something to think about as well. So again, I ask you, do you know who your customers are? Do you feel like there’s an opportunity to get to know them better?
So I see a lot of head shaking. Yes. So when you begin to understand the generations and what their influence is, or their lack of support is, or how you currently believe you understand them, and yet the opportunity to understand them more effectively is you can then begin to become more proactive, to be more profitable.
So that’s what we’re going to dive into today, talking about the experiences of connectivity to our customers. And I’m going to kick that conversation off today by asking our panelists what a traditional path to purchase looks like. So the way I would describe a path to purchase is that if you look backwards after you’ve made a purchase decision, right?
Maybe I decide I need to buy this clicker. I’m looking backward and I can now tell you what started to influence me to think I needed one. What the steps were that got me, where there, the various places I might have researched, discovered them, what did I do to ultimately make that purchase? Okay, so I’m going to kick this off, Claire, if you want to kick this off for us today.
What does your typical path to purchase look like as a Gen Z? Well, my path to purchase usually. 95% of the time would start on some social media platform, whether it’s an ad or an influencer using a product. So that’s where it starts most of the time. And from there, I’ll look at the product on that social media platform.
I sometimes look at reviews, but not all the time. And from there, since I am only 14, I ask my mother, and based on her answer, I get it or not. So And so, just to make sure we heard this right, 95% of the time your path to purchase begins via social media. Okay? Yes. Let’s just do stuff there. Stephanie, if you could share your typical path to purchase, what does that look like?
All right. Sorry, I swallowed my mint wrong. So having a moment and actually we, we have a question, so you catch your breath, but we’ll answer that. Okay. What is your social media preference rate? Oh, we’re going to get there. But you’re jumping ahead. I promise you we will get there. Yes. Great question. Okay. Yes.
Okay. Hang. I’m okay now. I think most of the time I’m also influenced by social media. it’s usually late at night scrolling or on my break. And then from there I take the product and then I google search it and research it and then kind of find my options, read reviews, and so yeah, that’s kind of how I decide.
So now we have a gen zer and a millennial telling us that their typical path to purchase begins via social media. Go, Sandy, what is your typical path to purchase look like? Well, this is interesting. I asked Nicole about some of the questions because I said, you know, I really need time to think about this. I’m old and I was talking with my husband and he gave me the perfect answer.
If you ask me my path to purchase, you go out of our development onto Gartrell, you turn left three lights and you turn right by Starbucks and right again, and you’re at the Dollar store. Actually, I think for, the things that I buy, Need. I like things that are a little different. For clothing, I would look for something a little unique.
And also for gifts, I want to see something that kind of, symbolizes my friendships. So I do a lot of talking with neighbors. Recommendations are really, something that I like. I like smaller stores because then you don’t have to hassle the parking lot or big stores. But I would say, and also TV ads might get an idea.
And grandson’s help. Yeah. But, I think if I can be excited about something visually, that’s what I would get along with things that I need. It makes sense. So she’s definitely enticed by displays and merchandising. We took some time to walk through the hotel gift store here at the Gaylord even, and we were kind of analyzing all of that fun stuff.
And it’s certainly similar to myself. I’ll reply as my, as the Gen Xer on stage. I like to leisure when I shop. I don’t like to feel rushed, so admittedly, I am a self-described retail geek. Okay, go figure. So I enjoy time when I can stroll through a store, really look at something, pick things up, put things down, figure out do I like this, do I not?
Would this be nice for someone else? This is something I need. And so leisure’s important to me. I don’t like to be rushed and I don’t like to feel rushed. Okay. So for me, shopping is shop attainment. It’s being entertained while spending time in a store, and that also means getting to, of course, make that purchase.
but unlike my Gen Xer and my millennial, I’m not always influenced online. First part of the discovery is getting to go to the store and having that experience, right? I just want because I want, or I can, because I can, or maybe I’m traveling and I just want to be a part of the community. And so I don’t know what I plan to buy, I just know I want to go to Main Street.
Okay? So that’s definitely my path to purchase. Now, of course, I buy for others, as many of us do. And so when my 14-year-old says, I want something that I found online, you know what is one of the things I always tell you? There is a lot. Which one? Well, that’s true, but
who else has a 14-year-old? Where are we not allowed to buy Amazon? Correct. So
yes. So that is not an option in our home. So we will go through the depths of research to find where we can buy something which happens online. So if I’m told by a 14-year-old or a 13-year-old, I have my 13-year-old back here too, or two other 18-year-olds at home, then we’re going to figure out where to buy it.
Right? And so that typically does include Google and other places, but it definitely doesn’t include the word. So that is our path to purchase. All right, so next question. How influential is digital marketing to your future purchase decisions? So the digital as definition, you guys already know this, but digital anywhere online that you’re touching a computer or a screen.
How important is that to your purchase decisions? And that includes being able to make a purchase from those destinations. So, Claire, we’ll start with you. Well, that’s very important. As I said, most of the time I find what I’m, look, find what I want on some social media platform. I think it’s a very important.
Sorry. It’s a very important thing to my future in making decisions. Makes sense? Yes. yeah. I find most of my stuff, I’m inspired by things on social media. That’s how I learn about small businesses and their values, and I can really connect. As a millennial, I feel like we really truly chase our passions.
And so that’s a way for me to be educated about the companies. Yeah. Me. I can’t get mine to work right now. Anyway, I’ll talk Lauren. I don’t do that much social media. I will say that if I’m on, Facebook or if I’m on even, emails, they have companies that are, they called popups, popups, a lot of fashions and so on.
And I do look at those and I have ordered from those. And my husband is a real Amazon person, so he, he, studies and searches everything. But I would say I’m minimal yeah, in, in that type of, sales. So one more question for you guys. When I see digital, I’m also curious, are you using your phone or computer?
Because for business operators, we have to think about how does what we post transfer to a phone or a computer. Okay. So if you had to pick one phone or computer, Claire first. Absolutely. My phone. My phone, phone, phone. All right. Phone. It is. And so Gen X are here. I will look on my phone. I will never purchase on my phone.
I will wait and do it later on my computer. And why is that? I heard why, because I like to one, my eyes are better on my computer. Yes. And so the scrolling, that’s a big reason to be honest. but I have my computer set up for all the connectivity of easy transfer payments and all that fun stuff. My phone, maybe I’m a little bit, I don’t know, old school, but I don’t like to purchase things on public wifi.
I’m like, I’ll just go home and do it on my computer. So that is genuinely. My old, my reason. All right. And then if you had to pick, and here we go, you were a step ahead of us by a few questions. If you had to pick a favorite social media site, what is it and why? mine is definitely TikTok or Instagram, one of the two, but on TikTok and Instagram, it’s easily accessible.
You can scroll and it kind of fits your algorithm. Like what you’re interested in is usually what pops up on your feed. it’s, it catches your attention. It’s entertaining. And it also, that’s where I find a lot of my stuff is from TikTok or Instagram. It’s like my search engine. That’s a good way to put it, a search engine.
Stephanie, mine’s actually the same. It’s TikTok and that will push me to Instagram or vice versa. And yeah, that’s basically what I use. Yeah, makes sense. Sandy. I’m not even, I’m nothing. So I wouldn’t say that that’s, a real priority for me. Yeah. sometimes my girls will tell me to look at something and I will, but I’m not a member of it.
Yeah, no, and that’s okay. Right? That’s why the path to purchase has what I refer to as detours or roadblocks. Or collisions, right. When you’re on that path to purchase, a consumer can be unexpectedly stopped by maybe a random ad that’s popped into the algorithm or maybe takes a detour because of that same algorithm.
Right. So it’s always interesting to think of how that path to purchase happens. And for some, like Sandy, it never even begins online. So, Good question for Sandy. Yes, of course. What about email? Do you, oh, we get there. You guys are good. Look at this next question. Look at that next question. Back to you. Yes.
So if I had to pick a favorite social media site, mine’s Instagram number one, Facebook number two, Twitter number three. And TikTok is my every fifth day to see what the kids have posted, basically, you know. and I love Facebook because it’s conversational still. And yes, I know there’s some opinions about Facebook, like it’s too conversational.
but I just scroll right past what I don’t want to see. So that works out for me. Instagram probably my number. I mean, like, honestly, Facebook and Instagram go back and forth. Instagram and Stephanie and I were talking about this earlier. I kind of use my personal handle. You guys should all say hi retail minded world, for a little bit of business, a little bit of personal, you know, so I, I use Instagram for business and personal, whereas Facebook’s a pretty much personal spot.
So I think that’s why I lean into Facebook on like a social level. And Instagram is still the mindset. This is a little bit business, right? But also still fun. I share family photos, things like that. and I do enjoy Twitter still, you know, As a content person, how can you not? It’s just chit-chatting and sharing thoughts and feedback.
So that’s definitely like just the content side of me that I appreciate that. And I use hashtags for search. So I will say like the hashtag, whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter, not really Facebook, but Instagram and Twitter, I will use hashtags for discovery. So fun story. So my daughter’s cousin, who is 20, her name’s Taylor.
She’s also a Gen Z. A couple years ago we were talking about fall fashion and what we were both respectfully looking for that season ahead. And I asked her like, how do you find your fashion? What, what are the steps? What’s your path to purchase, right? So she says, well, I just go under hashtag fall fashion or hashtag denim or hashtag black dress.
And that’s her search engine. And in fact, you said that word earlier too, about. Social media becoming that search engine. I often go to Google, you know, so it’s, it really is, shows the difference of our generations. But because she told me that, I started to then explore, uh oh, what’d I do? There we go. I started to then explore hashtags on social media more for the discovery of product for myself.
So just kind of fun to know how that evolved in my own personal world. What do you like about it? Like hashtag more? Well, I find that I use both still to be honest, but I think it depends on what I’m looking for. I would say I lean heavier on hashtags at this point. Yeah. So I, and I know that there’s a science to that and I’m no expert, but Crystal is.
So when it comes to hashtags, I know there’s a rhyme and reason. So, but I go to the hashtags and then I go on the, the part of Instagram where you can see pictures as your search result. Same with Google. I’ll often go to the images search versus just the content side of it. So I am visually attracted.
Right. I definitely like a visual experience as part of that. people haven’t really talked about Twitter as much. It doesn’t exactly have a marketplace to it. Can you kinda talk about the path of purchase using Twitter as a platform? Yeah. I know Twitter is very centric to certain spaces that aren’t very heavy in Instagram or in other platforms.
Yeah, that’s a great question. So, For myself, and I think for others, just through my own research that I’ve done, Twitter I will follow via hashtags. I might discover a brand, a service, a product, something. And I’ll typically go to their profile and through their profile, click to their website. And I know that that can be tracked by them.
So, and I’m sure you guys are doing that already on your own pages. So I look at profiles almost as much as I look at the post. So if I like a post the profile, if I like multiple posts and maybe I start to recognize, oh, I’ve seen this person post a few times. I, I tend to like it. Or What is this? Who is this?
The next place I go is their profile, kind of, of a discovery. And then from there I’ll just click to their unique url. You know, so it will take this there for sure. But that’s from my Twitter experience, that’s what I do. And that actually mimics across most of the places on social media. Yeah. I will tell you too, and Stephanie, I want to hear from you next.
I will tell you too, I do find it discouraging when I go to a profile and it’s like outdated or disappointing if I go somewhere and things don’t feel like it’s been refreshed or updated or reflective of what’s really happening, I still see profiles that have like covid dates on ’em. Like we are closed due to covid, but they’re wide open, you know?
So things like that. Stephanie? I think one of the reasons I lean into TikTok and social media and like searching on social media is because I like to see quickly, like real people wearing or using the product and what they think. And instead of just seeing like a stock photo on the website, like it just seems more relatable and I can connect with it and.
Once you get my heart, then you get my money. Yeah, that’s well said. That is well said. Yes. Great questions. So how important is email blast to your future purchase decisions? So when it comes to giving away your email address and then ultimately getting emails, like how valuable are those emails? And Sandy, we’ll start with Yout this time.
Well, I would say that emails frustrate me because I get so many emails. I prefer actually texting. Yeah. And, I don’t get as many from stores because you’d have to give out your number. But I, I, you know, Siri knows a lot. Siri test milk lot. Hey Siri. Yeah. Hey Siri. I’ve asked for different things. I mean, besides restaurants, I’d asked for glass top table, you know, companies that sell glass top, couch tables or something and they’ll come up with a list.
So I prefer that because I think test texting for me is quicker. Yeah. And the emails just get, I hate to even go in it because there’s just too many. And then it’s difficult if you don’t want to get the emails anymore. Even if you try to, you know, take them off of your list, it seems to come back on. It’s just very frustrating.
I could see that. I can relate to that. And the volume of, of the emails. Yeah. Yeah. I don’t check my email very often. Like, I have thousands of my inbox and I just don’t read them. Like, they’re just, I find it kind of boring and so unfortunately No, but that’s the truth. That’s what matters. Yeah. What about text?
Same thing, like I’m a very much a millennial. Like I like instant, like I want it when I want it. And other than that, like it’s not in my mind. And so an approach to share your email, you say, no, thanks, I don’t want to do it. no. I have an email that I give them and I just don’t open the email. Well, okay.
Now I’m curious. Who here has that email box to give away? See, here we go. Yeah. So we give a fake email or one we know we’re never going to look at. I just want to follow up on that. So you would rather. You’re not looking for the deal or whatever, you just give them that same thing and get ’em off your back.
Yeah, or like I use like their code or like, I’m interested maybe for a while and I’ll go back and look into my email and like search them when I want the content or the information. So I like having the information available to me, but I don’t go and like check my email every single day unless it’s my like, professional email.
Yeah, that’s a great question. All right. Claire. My genzer, well email, I don’t use my email like ever. Sometimes I do, but I do have that email that I give brands and some brands email me like four times a day. Like I don’t value that. I delete them. I try to unsubscribe, but I don’t know how. But them brands, the ones where I get fewer emails are the ones that I do value more when I do check my email because those are the ones that like actually have information I want instead of four different reminders that they’re there a day.
Yeah. And as a Gen Xer myself, what I do is I actually copy and paste like that. The handle. So let’s say it’s nicoles boutique.com and I’ll actually go in sometimes hit it and realize, wow, I haven’t checked the last 10 emails they’ve sent me, right? Because sometimes it’ll take me a while to just catch up on my, my day-to-day responsibilities of emails.
So by the time I have time to go through that, I am curious. I’m like, oh, did my favorite boutique send me an incentive? I know I need new shoes. Did I get a recent coupon? Do I have reward points? I really love my reward, emails, loyalty stuff, but I don’t always check it daily. But I will tell you, there’s a handful of brands and retailers where I’ve given away that text, and I love SMS texting, messaging.
For me, that is one of the more valuable ways to connect because if it comes to my phone, which is never too far for me, if I see it, I can swipe it, delete it if I’m not interested. but I recognize that, what. So download brand apps. You guys respond to that. Would you say more or less and you would respond to an email or a text message?
Another great question. I’ll go first and then I’ll ask you guys. personally, I’m not a fan of another app on my phone, so unless it’s a experience or a company or a brand or something that’s giving me every other day joy, so to speak, I’m not putting it on my phone like that’s my own cluttered mind.
It’s too busy already. I need to calm. Space on my phone, right? So for me that’s a hard no. So, Claire, what about you? I have some apps for brands. Like if I download the app, I value that brand cause I won’t download it otherwise. So those notifications I do value unless there’s, like I said, four a day, then I won’t.
But for most brands that the apps I have, I do value their notifications because if I bought the app, it’s a brand that I want to continue buying from. and I think I’m the same way. If I have the app, I’ll check the app. I feel like I have better pictures I can navigate as I want and get the information I’m looking for when I’m looking for it.
And just more interactive. And the notification’s way less overwhelming than. Emails. Sandy, I think I know what your answer is, but let us know. I do, I do have some apps and, and sometimes they say, you need to use, you need to use the app. So in that case, I would download it. If, if it’s really something that I think I would come back again.
Yeah. as a customer, if it’s only a one time or very unique, then I’m, I would not load it. Yeah. Makes sense. For sure. All great questions. You guys are good. You should be up here. All right. So what about peer-to-peer review sites? So this would include Yelp or Facebook or Google, all the destinations that offer review opportunity from other consumers.
So how important are those? Other consumer reviews for your purchase decisions. So, Clara, we’ll kick it off with you. To be honest, I never read reviews. I feel like I should, but though going to Yelp or Google Reviews is just not part of my path to purchase. I, I read, I don’t use Yelp, but I do read reviews.
I read reviews on restaurants, shopping, stuff like that. I do prefer like TikTok where it’s a person, it’s a video and I can hear their experience. yeah, I definitely look at reviews. Yeah. I value, reviews. I don’t use them as my, my husband. You always, always, and he uses, as I mentioned, Amazon before he orders anything, he will.
Read 50 of ’em if he needs to and see where the balance is. I think they’re very important. Yep. I wonder if they’re telling the truth though. Well, I think we know there’s some paid reviewers out there for sure. And then, you know, just as professional consumers, I think we can kind of see through, the paid ones versus the authentic ones.
That’s my personal opinion as a consumer, but I agree with you. There’s definitely some ones that you wonder, right. as a Gen Xer myself, reviews are very important, particularly if I’m looking at, you know, something I want to buy because the inconvenience of returning, this is a big reason I don’t buy online.
I don’t want to return something. Right. So reading reviews is an online experience traditionally, so I might look at that for certain purchases, but it’s not for the majority of purchases. Right. So I recently bought from an independent boutique, a great blazer from that brand called Spanx. And, I’ve traveled with it a lot.
It doesn’t wrinkle. That’s what I was curious about. Okay. Like, I was in search of a blazer that doesn’t wrinkle and that led me ultimately through my Google, began with Google. It led me to discovering this particular product. And then it ultimately, I had to switch sites to find where I could find it from an independent retailer.
and it was in Lake Las Vegas. Did you write review about that jacket? Nope. Unhappy. Yeah. So admittedly I should, it’s like you guys standing and cla both said I should read reviews maybe and I should share reviews.
Yeah, well I, so I definitely found some that were really positive, to be honest. That’s why I ultimately made that purchase. I use Yelp as an app. That is one of the apps I have on my phone that I find of value to search restaurants. I travel quite a bit, so I look to local community for shopping and experiences.
It’s not a shopping app and that’s why I didn’t share that earlier. It’s more of an experience app and for me that brings more value. So I will sh share sometimes on Yelp my reviews. So two questions, actually a few questions. I’ll start back here. So since she, you are on her path to purchase, do you influence her if you review about something that she wants about a store?
A hundred percent. Yes. Yes. That’s why she’s like, and then my mom comes into the picture. but no, I mean, for sure I just want to, you know, go places. I, I really do like to support community. So I mean, how many times have we traveled places? And that is the day’s plan. You visit the main street. Right. So, and there’s usually some proactive Yelp search to figure out where we’re going first.
Yes. So earlier, twice I heard that email is still the number one way to get to your top clients, but it doesn’t sound like anybody wants their email. That’s a great question. And in another presentation I do, I also have that data that I get all the time. Most of my inbox is data from shopping and consumer spending, and email is the number one driver.
I think still to the path to purchase. And so our folks today, not as much. I look at my emails for sure. So, you know, I, like I said, I’ll put in my search box, oh, Nicole’s boutique. I looked at email to figure out where I’m going to spend next. but it could be shifting in our generations. So we also learned Gen Xer is 25% of the population, 31% of our spenders.
So that’s probably why they’re still a number one driver. but start that’s a great point that you made by the way, because as things do begin to shift in spending power and these generations evolve, we might find out that push notifications become the number one driver. Right. So that’s why it’s so important for us to be proactive like we all are today.
Yeah. I have a question. You mentioned you don’t care to return things and I’m the same way. Yeah. but. My daughter who’s Gen Z doesn’t have that same feeling, and I’m just wondering how the other generations feel about returning things. Great question. well, when I’m out with my mom, when I’m allowed to get something, I sometimes talk into getting multiple sizes if I can’t try it on there, or different colors.
So when I get home, I can try them on, see how I feel and like in my environment, and then return whichever one. But they’re in store purchases I do in Yes, I want to make sure in, yeah. I will not buy her multiple things ever online. So never, never, Stephanie. if I’m buying from a small business, I typically don’t return just because I want to support them.
There’s a reason I’m there and I feel that way about that. online, if I’m doing an online retailer, I buy multiple sizes and then return later. So you don’t mind going back to UPS or FedEx or wherever you’re going? No, it’s pretty easy. I mean, a lot of ’em sit in my trunk, so I’m not successful all the time.
Yeah. But I, I attempt. Yeah.
Yes. Okay. For returning. Don’t buy from China. Yes, I’ve done that. The returning, I think once I returned something and it, two and a half months later it came back to me. I thought, what the heck? But I did, I did call the credit card company and they helped me with that. I think returning is, very, very important.
The ease of a return policy. I think your clerk should know exactly and mention, if this, you know, the time span, keep your receipt, or we have it for you. You know, you don’t have to have all the, the paperwork. I think for online it’s a real hassle unless the company can send you, I know there are companies that send you the label and then you can put the label on the package.
It is a concern because there’s, it’s not so easy to just say, oh, I’m going to return it. I mean, gosh, you gotta pack it up. You gotta get to the post office. That’s a big job. Yeah, I agree. I agree with Sandy. It is a big job. Yeah. So, yeah, I a hundred percent am there with her. I have a question, parent. You. Okay. So pretend your mom isn’t great about supporting small businesses.
Mm-hmm. What could I do as a retailer to get you to want to come into my small business versus buying? That’s a good question. social media, having social media posts, because that’s where I see most of the things that I get. And being authentic over your posts. And I’ll expand on that when she’s saying social media, just from my retail geek perspective and a mom perspective, if your store has a pause moment where you can take a social media picture.
And you’re giving Gen Zers or whichever demographic you’re trying to capture, in this case, the tweens and teens of that generation create a space that they want to come and make that a, with a hashtag, make it a place they want that picture that you can post and now all of a sudden you are stores being pushed beyond those four walls and kids are seeing it and sharing it and wanting to come there as a destination.
Or maybe you’re against a building with a mural in your local town, or maybe there is no mural, but you could work with your community to get one. You know the things that help bring that generation because, and I’ll for sure you’re about to go on again, don’t worry, she’s like more. But the 18-year-olds in my life and the 14-year-olds in my life, that is what they do.
They take pictures, okay? So if you’re giving them a moment to take pictures, that’s going to help. Bring them into your space as well. kind of, she just kind of said what I was going to say, but make it a space. People want to take pictures. Like I go, there’s this small business I found in Boulder that I went to with my cousin via social media.
Someone, one of my friends went there and took pictures and I saw the place and I went and took pictures there and posted it. So it’s kind of just like a train. Yeah, for sure. And she also spent money, right? That’s the goal, right? So you can’t just create the moment for a picture. You have to make sure they’re leaving with something.
And the price points, I would say extend from that. Like, what can you do that’s maybe catchier fun with the pictures involved? Maybe there’s a certain purchase like that you have at your store that becomes a part of the, the picture. You know, think about the shop attainment of it all right? So that they can bring that to life through that experience.
I know you have a 16-year-old. Does she have any habits that you, she’s online. She doesn’t like to talk to anyone, and she’s like, she doesn’t want to do any of that. So it’s online and she tells me what she wants, and it’s all through social media, so Yeah. But we’re the same way. Like if a TikTok draws us in and we see your space and we kind of feel who you are, then absolutely.
We’ll go out of our way to do that. Yep. Love that. All right. So peer to peer review sites. You guys talked to me a little bit about that. Nothing. Something? Yes, did You did perfect. Okay. There we go. I’m old. Remember I’m 45. All right. So what excites you most about your in-store shopping experiences? So you guys have shared a lot about that path to purchase.
You’ve shared a lot about digital, how it influenced you. Now that you’re physically in an environment though, let’s hear what excites you within that brick-and-mortar space? So Sandy, I will start with you. Okay. Well, I think, The owner and manager have to decide. What kind of experience are you expecting when people come in and I’ll, I’ll say this later, but for me, training, training, the managers, training, whoever trains, it’s so important.
I imagine when budgets are tight, That’s one of the things you might think, oh, we, we can skip that. I’d rather than spend four hours with her. I’m going to show you how to inventory this. Well, I think that personally is a big mistake. I think the person, if I come into a store, I’d like to be welcome. I like to know that I’m able to see a clerk if I need one.
jumping to the, if, if I want to buy something and I, I don’t see anybody at a cash register and waiting that, that’s a frustration. I don’t know that I’d come in again. But you don’t want somebody tagging you either. You know every step of the way. But to know that you’re going to, you have somebody with you that understands what the store is, how it’s laid out, they can explain that to you and then say, if you would like more help, I’m here for you.
Or be visual, but not necessarily right at your elbow is very important. And the displays are extremely important to me. The end caps, I’m not a person who goes through racks, so I need to see it. and maybe with accessories. That, someone can, you know, say to me, well, I, I like scarves, so this scarf would go very nice with what you’re wearing, or something like that.
Personable, but not needy as far as helping. Yes, absolutely. Great advice there. Okay. I, when we’re doing in-store shopping, like my friends and I, we call it like sip and stroll, so it’s, we’re going there with the intention to like go check out stores. We want it warm, inviting, like the music feels good, like the ambiance and we like, it’s like a social, a social thing every time we go into brick and mortars and it’s really, I love it.
Like we connect really well see. That reinforces what I’ve said a few times now that shop entertainment component. And it also echoes what we were talking about with the bringing the Gen Zers, it’s social for them. So huge. That’s hugely influential. Claire. a good environment, like somewhere interactive I can try things on.
It’s a, a cute store. I love going into stores that have like cute displays up. the clothing out, it’s, it’s a fun, it’s more of a social experience for me. When I go out to stores, I usually go with my friends, but we stay in the stores longer. That the cute environment, the cute music stuff we can try on.
Yeah, it’s, it’s more like, so we often look in the mirror and we look head to toe, right? So when I walk into a store, I look ceiling to floor. Right. So it’s that total encompassing experience of what are the displays like, what are the walls look like? Where can I touch, where am I not allowed to touch? Can I reach this?
Is this intimidating? You know, all of those things in combination. To Sandy’s point, is this team effective in communicating? I’m sure we’ve all had an experience where we’ve walked into a store and we’ve never been acknowledged, right? And walked right out. And so those of us here, probably all of us here, make that decision, but a lot of consumers don’t, but the most of them really do.
They’re starting to more and more even across all of our generations. Would you guys agree that you would leave if it was like, yeah, so you know, I, and I obviously walk with a Gen Z or often in and outta stores, but, and I can point out, you know, Acknowledging, saying hello. Training the staff really is important.
More and more, social environments are harder than ever to, you know, be effective because there’s so many variables in our world right now that are just, you know, how do we communicate? What’s the right thing to say? What’s the right thing Not to say, you know, if I use this dis display, is that the most effective in communicating or reaching the majority of customers?
There’s a lot to think about, but my advice is always make sure it’s a head to toe, ceiling to floor perspective. Like, look throughout the entire environment of your space and make sure that all of the twists and turns that a customer makes, feel comfortable to them because we almost get too comfortable in our own shoes, within our own space.
So ask a 14 year old in your life and a 36 year old and a 78 year old to walk through your store, ask their opinion, right? See where their perspective. What their perspective offers you because that mystery shopping from another perspective is very revealing for sure. So what, oh, question. Yes. I guess to add another variable to the question, as a mom of a 13 year old boy, how is, how much weight does, you know, his, how of the wine to just be dragged to a store?
Well, let’s just ask him, Jackson, your, your moment. By the way, he was telling us jokes on the microphone and the v i p lounge earlier. So he is waited his whole life for this. Thank you for asking Jack. How much do you enjoy shopping?
So yeah, he does not enjoy shopping. he’s a golfer, so he, certain things he needs, he’s growing. So I will have to show it to him. My basic question might be, okay, you need some new golf stuff. Do you want. Black or blue. Right. It’s pretty minimal and he’s like blue. Right. So it’s as quick as that, trying to make the process as short as possible.
Correct. Yes. Question. How important is marketing, I guess? Yeah. You know, when you’re, what going to make you decide to shop at this store versus this store? Well, I think that’s a great question and by definition cause marketing is when you are spending money that is also supporting a cause. Okay. Cause I’m going to ask you guys this question.
So whether that cause is, let’s say in October there’s very popular Breast Cancer Awareness month. I know certain towns across all communities might have. there’s, there’s a firefighter Chile Cookoff, right? And it’s raising money for your local firefighters. So there’s various ways you can incorporate cause marketing and retailers often attached to that.
I’m telling you guys this, you know, this, our panelists, however, how important is that for you guys if you are about to make a purchase decision? Does cause or even meaning, like sustainability, influence where or why you spend? actually I’ve not thought I kind of thought about this. If there’s two things, that’s two different stores.
I’m sorry. The same thing at two different stores, but one of ’em is like, oh 5% profits going towards breast cancer awareness. I will, 99% of the time go towards that brand if I know that this information, if it’s easily known, but I’m not going to do my research to find which ones supporting certain brands.
Makes sense. I think cause is huge for my purchase and like I’m part of, I’m in a career relationships and like, so I just find values to be huge and if I align with them then I want to support them. And that’s also a reason I would stop shopping at a company. But yeah, that’s huge. Yeah, very definitely.
I think for, people in my generation, we’ve been through a lot. And we probably have had friends and relatives who have had, just about any kind of issue or challenge in life. So if we can help people in any way, it’s, it’s, it’s a real perk. We, I was shopping, last week in the Springs when my daughter and she was looking at, stones that, like mood stones, sort of, sort of like that.
And she left that store and we went to another store and they had similar items, but the items itself, and it was for a, cause a certain percentage went to a woman’s group, but it also had a little, couple of sentences or paragraphs describing the colors or if they change colors or what these colors meant.
And she told me, she said, I want some of these stones and here it costs a little bit more, but I would rather have the descriptions that was little. Something a little write up that she could have with it and pay a little bit more than the other stones that just, it said basically what they were, but it didn’t go into any detail.
Plus, if you can, be giving to a cause, it’s very, very important I think for our generation. Yeah, I would agree. And that is a fantastic question. Thank you for asking that. So we’re kind of, I’m going to skip over this one because we’re, we could chat all day, but we’ve kind of talked about that. But really fast, preferred shopping experience.
Online. Online. In store. In store. In store. 50 50. Crowd up here. Okay. Two online. Two in store. is loyalty to a brand or a retail store important to you? Why or why not? We just got a few minutes left, so I want to make sure I, we can get a few more. Q and as in into, so loyalty. Are you loyal to a brand or store?
if it’s a store that I like, I really enjoy their product. I will. Most likely go back there 99% of the time. But if it’s not a brand I’m overly excited about, I probably won’t. It’s not hugely important to me. Yeah, same thing. If I have a connection to the retailer or the business. Absolutely. Otherwise, convenience is my driving key.
Convenience, yeah, that’s huge. Same, or like in store. And I think that my problem with ordering things online, I clothing, let’s say I try, you know, I tried on, I look in the mirror and say, this does not look like it did on the model all the time. That happens to me. So anyway, I like you being able to, to try things on and yes, it’s very important.
And to have a relationship, I think with whoever is working in the store, that they’re, helpful. And, it’s important. Yes, very important. I would agree. And I heard you, Stephanie, say that your values, you’re in a queer partnership, you said, would make you stop shopping somewhere, right? Yes, it would.
And so that’s my next question is what would make you stop? So you are also a jump question ahead. You guys are really good today. So anything else that would make you, poor customer service? I, I don’t know if it’s a millennial thing, but like the energy attached to every interaction. Like my profession, you know, I exchange energy and that’s how I receive.
Shopping as well. Yeah. So if the energy’s bad, bad customer service, then Yeah, for sure. Sandy, what would make you stop shopping somewhere? I would think if there’s any kind of rudeness from a clerk. If I’m looking for something, well, maybe wouldn’t stop me, but if they say, oh yes, it’s aisle three, you turn left and blah, da da da.
I would rather be able to have someone say, let me take you there. Yeah. And they show me because I have a, a difficult time looking at Yeah. Everything and knowing exactly where it is. It’d be helpful. okay. We’re going for a stopping, I think if the store is unkept or if it doesn’t seem organized and it’s not visually exciting to me.
I probably wouldn’t go back. Makes sense, Claire? Sorry. there isn’t much that make me stop going somewhere because I usually do shop online, but poor customer service, that is definitely something that would make me choose another brand over them. Well, and I don’t shop online, but I’ve had to support, you know, the kids in the house who have, if there’s an extra step online that I find to be a nuisance, I will stop.
I will stop. It’s already a nuisance for me to have to shop online. So if the steps become too complicated, one more extra thing, I’m like, you know what? Enough. All right, I’m done with it. You know? I lose patience, unfortunately. Too quick with that. and then I would echo everything. They’ve also said if you don’t value what their values are or the poor customer service, I honestly have walked and left places.
We talked about this earlier. If someone doesn’t even look up, like your job is to ultimately sell within the store. If they’re too busy doing tasks and can’t. Recognize that I will get frustrated, you know? and then our, one of our last questions real fast again. I’m sorry guys. We’re we, we have so much to discuss today.
What do you wish retailers did better? So if you could offer a quick piece of advice, what do you wish retailers, brick and mortar retailers did better? Clear. You go first. I’m starting. I honestly don’t know the answer to this one. Just great customer service and having, like I said earlier, cute environment.
If it’s an in-store purchase, you’re purchasing in store, just a nice environment somewhere you want to be somewhere you could hang out, take pictures, have fun. Mm-hmm. Great. I think being a little bit more flexible and creative marketing to people that want to shop small business, but the convenience factor, I like that being a little bit more like proactive to make them want to.
Yeah, do our job Right. And I agree with those. And again, I’m going to go back to training so that you have kind of a uniform feeling with whoever is, you go into a store, you know you’re going to get help, you know they’re going to be courteous, you know they’re going to be interested in you and be able to help you with whatever you want.
And that they’re available. As I mentioned before, sometimes you go in the store and I guess it’s cost item, but you can’t find the clerks. Yeah. And that’s very irritating. So I would agree. So it’s important. It’s important I think, for managers and owners to really take pride in training staff so they know there’s a consistency.
When people come in here, this is what they’re going to get. I love that. You guys have been so amazing today. Thank you so much. Applause.
And I know we hit our time, so we will be outside later cocktail party. Find us, ask questions for sure, or let Crystal know and we’ll get back to you later. So thank you guys. Have an amazing event and thanks for welcoming us. Thank you so much for being here. It means the world to me. Don’t forget to join the Rise and Shine newsletter, which is social media news you need to know.
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