Natural Foods Merchandiser
Millennials make a case for loyalty programs and in-store experts

Millennials make a case for loyalty programs and in-store experts

A great in-store experience is often part of a small retailer’s appeal—but what does that mean as the next generation of natural products consumers with a different set of shopping habits finds its way into your store?

According to new research from LoyaltyOne, it means that having experts on tap and reward programs in place will become increasingly important. In a survey, the firm found that millennials, more than any other generation, said they’d be more likely to shop at a grocery store where they could earn a free session with a chef or nutritionist.

Eighty-four percent of more than 1,000 millennials surveyed said that being able to redeem loyalty points for consultations or sessions would motivate them to shop more with that grocer. And their interest in in-store consultations was stronger in grocery than any other retail vertical, including clothing stores and home improvement stores.

"Don't try to take advantage of a captive audience to sell them more," advised Fred Thompson, retail practice leader at LoyaltyOne. "The time during the experience is all about building their expertise while strengthening their connection to the retailer or brand."

Millennials are a $600 billion force in retail and are emerging as an especially powerful demographic for natural products and stores.

An interestingly high number—68 percent—also said a session with a makeup artist would motivate them to shop more with a cosmetics retailer. This may be something to consider if your store is stocking more natural beauty products.

"The most overlooked aspect of these benefits tends to be the follow-up," Thompson added. "It's important a retailer reinforce the experience with follow up information and offers to help reinforce the training your customers have received so they get the greatest value from the experience.”

For tips on mastering the in-store demo, check out NFM’s interview with product demo expert Kari Pedriana here. Or read about how to start a loyalty program here.

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