Engaging the millennial generation is a relatively new goal for both manufacturers and retailers in the home remodeling industry.
The new generation of home-buyers has been labelled by many different terms. You may think of them as solely digitally focused shoppers, preferring online retail to brick-and-mortar. You might see them as the social media generation, following trends measured in likes and reposts. While the differences between generations are often glaringly obvious, the impact upon the buying experience expected by millennials is not as large as some may think. The truth is that they are not so different from any other generation of consumers. The most substantial change is that the platforms of customer experience have advanced (and will continue to advance) with modern technology.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the facts and myths concerning the new modern homeowner, answer some questions, and juxtapose it all with some brilliant examples of 3D rooms created using 2020 Ideal Spaces.
Options and methods change, needs and satisfaction don't
Where older generations clipped coupons from the pages of a magazine or the local newspaper and spread news of trusted brands and value over word of mouth, millennials have simply grown up doing the same things via their laptops and smart phones. There’s no doubt that online shopping has become a new normal, but some things simply do not change. No matter how convenient a one-click experience may be, it doesn’t make for much of an experience at all.
Millennial customers still want the same things. They want to be inspired. They want to see and touch something before they spend their money. They want to know just what it will look like, not isolated in a blank background with a price tag, but inside their homes.
A showroom named desire
Millennials still enjoy shopping in person as much as anybody else; just go check out the nearest Apple Store. People want to see the product first-hand to know that it is what they truly want, even with the very tools that allow their massive online presence in the first place.
But another aspect of the brick and mortar store is that it is a perfect place to window shop. Research shows that the same percentage of customers of all generations want to see the products first-hand, but how do you keep customers from scouting ideas at your location only to find the same products for a better price at a different online retailer? You offer them the easiest path to purchasing with a unique and engaging experience. Omni-channel shopping is the new expectation of the modern consumer, with seamless transitions through every stage of the buying process.
The online doorway
Think of the web as just another entryway into the showroom. Sure, a multitude of potential buyers will be walking through those doors, but it will take a little something extra to have them leaving with your products in the shopping cart. Simply being available online is not enough.
This new generation of homeowners may scan the internet for reviews and lowest-possible prices, but the internet does not come with any sense of security and confidence. While for many it will be a source of early inspiration as well as the final purchase destination, consumers still need more to feel comfortable in the knowledge that their needs are being met.
There is no single method to fall back on for the modern customer, the combined package is what the Millennial is looking for. Think of how your buying channels work together as a whole. Can your website provide a showroom experience? Does it flow effortlessly from a smartphone to a laptop and to the brick and mortar showroom itself?
Software: playing with life
This new type of buyer grew up in the tech-world. They grew up playing The Sims and other world-building simulations. This is an incredibly important detail when it comes to home remodeling. Millennials want to be a part of the process from start to finish, and they’re no strangers to technology.
Offering interactive participation, both in-store and online, is a crucial advantage for the modern manufacturer and retailer. With web-based solutions like 2020 Ideal Spaces, your customer can build a virtual 3D dream home with specific products from your catalog. With modules like Auto-Design, they can do all this in minutes. From the starting gun to the finish line, customers can use this online space planning solution for inspirational ideas and choosing products, they can combine options for a full view of the end result and then easily transition to working with a professional designer and purchasing your products online or in person, and finally installation in their homes. For a generation of consumers that delights in all forms of hands-on customization and DIY involvement, this is a game-changer.
The future is now
Think of a science-fiction film, made 10 years ago and set 25 years in the future. A world where technology runs fluidly beside the analog. Your own AI assistant (let’s call him OMNI) has your breakfast ready in the morning. You float out to your flying car, and OMNI has already warmed your seats. When you step into your office on the moon, OMNI has scheduled all your meetings and even managed to impersonate your voice for that dreaded evaluation with your supervisor. When it’s time to leave, OMNI’s got a new route mapped out to bypass that asteroid field and knock twelve parsecs off your journey. Finally, you’re back home safe and guess who’s got dinner set for you, hot and ready, straight from the food laser. That’s right. OMNI did it.
The twist is that this is not a vision of the future anymore. This is where we are. Well, perhaps we don’t have offices on the moon or food lasers, but the technology is available to engage the millennial generation of homeowners with a customer experience that transcends limitations on every step of the buying journey. All we need for success in this new world is to climb aboard.
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