Millennials are establishing their own distinctive shopping habits, and small businesses of all types can benefit if they cater to this evolving demographic.

Rieva Lesonsky, (Retail Trends April 24, 2017) writes that “…millennials value simplicity, quality, and authenticity…”.  This “less is more” age group tends to shy away from mass consumption and “big box” type stores, preferring instead “…to support local, independent businesses, not global chains.”

Jim Wichert, President and CEO of Discount Retail Store Services, recently pointed out that millennials are a targeted demographic for the businesses that his company develops for independent owners worldwide.

“We are the largest developer of independently owned dollar, party, mailbox and clothing boutiques in North America.  We are very much in tune with how to merchandise to this important demographic.  Constantly refining how we train our owners to do business is critical to their successfully serving the millennial segment of their customer base, “ says Wichert.

Lesonsky writes that business owners should “…get involved in community organizations and events, …hold in-store events that celebrate the local community”

Wichert echoes the importance of community involvement, and notes  “ In training, we show our owners how to participate in Small Business Saturday, launch holiday toy and food drives, and market directly to their communities by working with youth leagues, senior centers and other segments of their customer populations.  At the corporate level, Discount Retail Store Services, we have initiated and are involved with a number of local community charitable efforts.  Giving back at all levels is at the root of building community.”

Interestingly, Lesonsky notes  the “Snapchat Effect” can be important for small businesses. “Millennials are used to quickly changing content, like Snapchat stories that live only 24 hours.  They expect your store to keep up by feeding them new stimuli (constantly change product and displays) all the time.”

“ We may have been way ahead of the curve regarding new merchandise” says John LaFronz, General Manager of Discount Retail Store Services.  “A cornerstone of any good retail operation is to present new product to customers on a very regular basis.  Our brands focus on providing our store owners with hundreds of new goods to choose from every week !  New product is a critical component of our unique merchandising system; not just for millennials, but for every customer in our stores.”


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