Millennials want these 7 things in a store’s design

(Credit: alisdair/Flickr)

New research reveals elements of a store’s physical design that catch the attention of millennial shoppers, who represent $200 billion in annual consumer spending.

In-depth analysis of retail images and descriptions submitted by millennial study participants uncovered seven themes:

  • Tidiness: Millennial shoppers reacted negatively to retail environments that appeared unorganized, dirty, and even objected to having employees restocking the shelves when they were trying to shop.
  • Organization: Millennial shoppers appreciated clearly organized merchandise (e.g., color blocking) that facilitated the shopping experience.
  • Wit: Millennial shoppers enjoyed tongue-in-cheek humor during their shopping experience whether that stemmed from novel mannequin displays, playful imagery, or witty signs.
  • Quality: Millennial shoppers liked the fact that bargain stores invested in higher-end displays that seemed to enhance the quality of the products.
  • Ease: Millennial shoppers preferred retail environments with well-defined spaces that encouraged easy navigation to find what they were looking for without question.
  • Personalization: Millennial shoppers appreciated having an “at-home experience” or residential feeling in retail spaces.
  • Color: Millennial shoppers exhibited certain design preferences for retail spaces. Some shoppers identified the color white as aesthetically pleasing and representative of “upscale,” “clean,” and “modern” interiors. Another hue that drew interest was the color red because it signaled sales merchandise.

For the study, University of Florida doctoral student Elizabeth “Lissy” Calienes gathered data from students affiliated with the David F. Miller Center for Retailing Education and Research at the university’s Warrington College of Business. The participating students went on mobile missions, doing in-store visits and then completing follow-up surveys and focus groups.

Authenticity only sells if you don’t brag about it

From big box stores to single-brand apparel stores, the participants evaluated designated retail stores within a 5-mile radius of campus. Calienes instructed the participants to “take a picture of anything that captures your attention, send it to me in an email, and then tell me why.”

The sheer volume of responses surprised Calienes. She received over 500 pictures of specific images, accompanied by detailed annotations averaging about 30 words, showing what captured the attention of the millennial shoppers either in a positive or negative way.

“Millennials really wanted to tell me what they liked,” she says.

The study appears in the Journal of Interior Design.

Source: Emily Buchanan for University of Florida