One of the largest generations in history, the millennials are about to move into their prime spending years. With technology at their fingertips, younger consumers have access to real-time product information, pushing an increasing number of brands to try to forge authentic and personal connections with them.
Their purchasing behaviours have already started to change the way we all buy and sell, but how will food and retail brands create products and services that are aligned with this younger audience?
A recent study shows that millennials are eating up their savings by dining out more and more. Instead of cooking at home, young consumers have come to rely on restaurant and carry-out meals, rarely honing the skills they’d need to prepare their own food. While several brands are tackling the issue by proposing tasty recipes with healthy food box delivery, the German grocery store Kochhaus is the first one to propose a walk in experience devoted to the subject. In the store, ingredients and products are not arranged by type but by recipes. The principle of supporting home cooking and meal planning could not only help millennials to save money but also to eat healthier and waste less food!
Younger diners see food as entertainment and self-expression. Much more than just the moment of eating, they want to share and keep a memory of it. By sharing photos reliving their experience on social medias, they encourage their own network to discover the same brands and values which ultimately will build a stronger community. Encouraging user generated content not only is benefiting customer experiences but it is also an effective way to build a stronger community!
In London, the restaurant Dirty Bones understands these benefits well. The Instagram-friendly restaurant shares photo kits with diners, enriching their instagrammable experience and encouraging self-expression. Food is a fantastic way to engage and provide an avenue for artistic expression. Combine this with a good branding and it becomes even more alluring!
Millennials do not simply buy products; they buy experiences, and their expectations for a positive and emotionally engaging experience are high. The best way to justify them making the trip to your store, rather than shopping online is to give them an experience they will not get anywhere else. The intention to heighten the brick and mortar retail space can be seen in the increased number of pop up stores for instance.
The ice cream brand Magnum is hosting its pop-up Pleasure Store for the fifth year running in London, giving consumers the chance to make their own Magnum by choosing different elements and flavours. Pop-up stores can be a fantastic way to engage and reengage with customers, both to attracting new ones and to retaining existing brand followers.
Along with authenticity and shopping experience, design plays an important role for the food retail industry. Both in terms of décor and in-store communications, restaurant and retail stores very much need to showcase their personality and adaptability to local environment.
Wholefoods uses design to appeal Millennials and make their grocery stores more authentic, keeping them distinct from one another. In Columbia, they retained the original architecture of the building because it was designed by famed architect Frank Gehry. The brand shows respect for local heritage while incorporating their own corporate messages.
Everything matters to millennials, they are not only interested by the story behind a dish, but they want to make an emotional connection with ethically and sustainably sourced products. They want to go on a journey with a brand, rally behind it, give feedback, and see changes being made where required.
Wholesome Cuts is a Brooklyn based butcher concept, taking organic product and the idea of farm to plate to the next level. Whether it is for dietary, ethical or quality reasons, customers can track the origins of the meat online with access to information about what the animal was fed, how it was raised and even what injections it had. With this increasing popularity for transparency, don’t be surprised to hear one day people asking about the origin of the logs that were used to grill and char their meat! The concept of provenance could easily be extended and applied to other product ranges with broad possibilities. Retailers and restaurant owners that promote product quality, transparency and sustainability will flourish in the coming years.
2018 will favour restaurants and retailers who can adapt, personalise and elevate every aspect of the shopping experience for the Millennial audience.