The Surprising Thing Millennials Want From Retail Stores

millennial shopping habits

The idea that your retail store needs to cater to Millennial consumers may sound ridiculous. Don’t Millennials buy everything on their phones (or at least online)?

Actually, many Millennials still prefer to shop in a brick-and-mortar store where they can touch and feel products IRL (that’s “in real life”) before they buy. Millennial shopping habits also indicate that they enjoy the social aspects of brick-and-mortar shopping together with their friends. After all, this is a generation that likes to get others’ opinions on just about everything they do, including what they buy.

Recently, trends forecasting group Cassandra uncovered some insights about Millennials that should be of interest to any retailer:

  • They don’t expect perfection, but they do prioritize wellness. Millennials seek to achieve balance between body, mind and soul.
  • They want presence of mind. Described as “a wholly focused, in-the-moment state of being,” presence of mind (sometimes called mindfulness) is increasingly difficult to come by in a world where we’re always on call to our smartphones.

So how do these Millennial shopping habits, trends and desires relate to retail?

According to the “Cassandra Report: Body Mind Soul,” 70 percent of Millennials surveyed dislike loud and busy stores. Instead, they prefer retail environments that provide a calming atmosphere. A place where they can rest, relax and feel that they’re coming a bit closer to achieving that elusive presence of mind.

How can your retail store create a restful space that will appeal to Millennials? Here are a few ideas to try.

Streamline Your Decor

A simple, curated space with fewer products strikingly displayed appeals more to Millennials than a jam-packed shop. Can you pare down the number of displays or racks in your store? You don’t have to do a complete remodel—simply creating more “white space” between items will instill a sense of calm.

Color it Peaceful

A limited color palette with soothing or neutral rather than bright colors invokes relaxation. Bringing in colors from nature, such as pale green, sky blue or sand beige, is an easy way to make your store feel like a mini-vacation.

Appeal to all the Senses

In addition to color and design, don’t forget about sound and taste. Tranquil in-store music, natural sounds such as babbling brooks or wind blowing through the trees, and relaxing scents from diffusers or essential oils can help create a special place.

Space Out

Speaking of a special place, if you can’t make major changes to your entire store, consider create a resting space within it. For example, a clothing boutique could install a “waiting room” near the dressing room area with a couple of comfortable couches, a soft rug, soothing wall colors and soft music. Serve green tea and light snacks. And don’t forget phone charging outlets and free Wi-Fi, in case some of your Millennial customers decide they don’t want to completely


Making these changes will also create a more upscale feeling for your store, which may enable you to charge more for your products and will undoubtedly attract customers outside of the Millennial generation, too.

Shoppers Photo via Shutterstock

Rieva Lesonsky Rieva Lesonsky is a Columnist for Small Business Trends covering employment, retail trends and women in business. She is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her blog, SmallBizDaily, to get the scoop on business trends and free TrendCast reports.