Of 1,500 consumer surveyed by WD late last year, 65% of millennials selected drive-through as their preferred BOPIS method, with others pointing to parking lot kiosks (37%) self-serve lockers (29%) and combined retailer (29%) as other appealing options. [“Combined retailer” refers to a single nondenominational pickup point where consumers could retrieve all of their online purchases, regardless of brand.]
This all seems to point to the fact that stores are a bore and that the 80 million millennials in the US want nothing to do with them – but that’s not necessarily the case.
It’s a matter of successfully blending the digital world with the physical one. Many millennials may not shop in a traditional or linear way, but the members of the “storeless generation” still crave human experiences.
The opportunity is for retailers to transform their stores into a mix between fulfillment center and “social playground,” said Peterson, defining the latter as “a place where you can go and interact with product and good associates and see you neighbor. You might not buy something, but it’s an emotional experience.”
A good example of that in action is the digital concept stores opened by UK home furnishing mega-brand Argos, where consumers can immediately collect items bought online or via mobile. No inventory is on display. Shoppers browse items on iPads or via free in-store WIFI, and Argos associates are on hand to guide them through their shopping experience.
“You can’t just open a store now and expect it to work,” Peterson said. “And some retailers really do seem to get it.”
One such retailer is Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, who had this to say in a recent interview with WD: “It’s incumbent on the retailer to create a fantastic experience.”