Long live brick-and-mortar

Gen Z and Millennials are often stereotyped as being digital natives who only want to shop online, through mobile apps or, more recently, on social media. But the truth is, these two generations are proving year-on-year that they are creatures of more diverse, omnichannel shopping habits.

Yet, whilst they continue to use all channels available throughout their shopping journey; surprisingly to many, they confirm their favourite place to buy is brick-and-mortar shops. A recent Drapers report found that 53% of Gen-Z and Millennials chose physical retail stores as their preferred shopping channel (which is a significant increase from 39% in 2022). This compares to 32% of respondents whose first method to feed their fashion fix is online (down from 45% in 2022) and only 15% who prefer using mobile apps. Long live the brick-and-mortar, right? Well… not necessarily…

The report also shows that even though buying through mobile was the least preferred method, 92% of respondents claim to still use a fashion brand’s or retailer’s app either occasionally or often. And both groups state that they typically browse on mobile most - 67% of Gen Z and 72% of Millennials. Welcome to the future. Customers aren’t talking about online and offline, or the different touchpoints a brand offers. They simply browse and shop with their favourite retailers and brands, across all channels, and expect a consistent experience throughout.

So with physical stores being so popular with Gen Z and Millennials, here are a few reasons why they love them

Shopping is a social experience. Retail space is no longer just a place to purchase things. It’s an experience. Just look at the inclusive Gymshark IRL store that holds events and group workout classes; or the incredible new Flannels personal shopping experience. The bar has been set.

The ability to browse and try on products. This is especially important for clothes and shoes, which can be difficult to size online.

Instant gratification of purchasing there and then. There’s just no better feeling than walking out a store, multiple bags in hand, having just copped the latest pieces from your favourite brand’s new season.

Yes, it’s clear omnicommerce is here to stay so investing in all of your channels is of vital importance if you’re going to succeed with the next generation of shopper. Getting the picture of your customers’ digital shopping habits is easy. But with customers flooding into physical retail in greater numbers than ever, knowing who they are and and how they shop with you in-store is a huge piece to understanding the full omnichannel puzzle.

So if you’ve been struggling to gain visibility on your retail customers, we might just be able to help so feel free to reach out for some more information.

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