TECHNOLOGY

The factors driving purchases made by Gen Y parents are…

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Technology and convenience are influencing Millennials’ shopping habits — especially as they move into parenthood.

With so much information available on mobile devices for example, Millennial parents use their smartphones at every point during their shopping journey— more than parents among any other generation, according to the National Retail Federation’s quarterly “Consumer View” report.

According to data, 78% use their phones to research products (compared with 58% of other parents), 75% to check prices or availability (again, compared with 58%) and 71% use it to pay at checkout or place an order (51%). In addition, 71% will leave a review, process a return or chat with customer service after purchasing, compared with 43% of other parents.

Since Millennial parents are often in a hurry, they want convenient shopping options. Thus, 86% use same-day shipping. This is compared with just 67% of parents from other generations.

Gen Y is also willing to pay for convenience – only 53% expect free shipping on small orders under $50 compared with 66% of other parents. This also makes subscription services – which can supply automatic refills and discounted prices on items such as diapers, formula and baby wipes – attractive to Millennials. As a result, subscription services are used by 40% of Gen Y parents, compared with 18% of other parents, according to the study.

Millennial parents say it matters where they shop, so 44% only shop at brands that reflect their social or political values. This factor only influenced 23% of parents from other generations.

Once a brand gains the loyalty of millennial parents, they are much more likely to stick with it than other parents. For example, 49% remain loyal to a brand despite cheaper options, compared with 30% of other parents. Meanwhile, 52% will remain loyal despite having more convenient options, compared with 35% of other parents. And 64% will shop at a brand they are loyal to before looking at a competitor, compared with 54% of other parents.

“As many Millennials move into parenthood, we are beginning to see how their expectations and shopping preferences compare with those of previous generations,” said NRF director of retail and consumer insights Katherine Cullen.

“Whether it’s using a subscription service to make sure diapers don’t run out or going online to research the best crib or car seat, millennials shop differently than other parents,” she added. “Millennials are also very concerned about good customer services, and are twice as likely to back out of a purchase for lack of it. For Millennials, service ranks ahead of convenience, selection and loyalty programs.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Chico’s partners with online giant

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Merchandise from Chico’s FAS’ collections will soon be eligible for Amazon Prime shipping.

Chico’s is the newest retailer to set up shop on Amazon. Beginning in mid-May, a select assortment of Chico’s brand merchandise will be available on Amazon. This includes the company’s core collections, Travelers, Zenergy athleisure, no-iron shirts, So Slimming pants and Chico’s jewelry.

All Chico’s merchandise will be eligible for free shipping through Amazon Prime. Chico’s FAS will maintain control of marketing, pricing and promotions for its products on Amazon.

Based on sales, additional Chico’s merchandise, such as White House | Black Market and Soma products, will likely be added in the future, according to the company.

“Chico’s FAS will be one of the few vertically integrated specialty retailers with Prime eligibility on Amazon.com, which is a testament to the strength of our iconic brands and their growth potential,” said Shelley Broader, CEO and president of Chico’s FAS.

Based on its launch date, this new sales channel is not expected to be added within Chico’s 2018 financial results, the company said.

Chico’s is the newest apparel retailer to join forces with Amazon. The company already works with Nike, Calvin Klein and Carter’s, among other brands.

 

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Sears: Online customer payment info, store systems ‘were not compromised’

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Sears seems to have dodged a bullet.

The department store retailer’s online support services provider, [24]7.ai, warned Sears in March that it was the victim of a cyber-attack on its network — an issue that may have enabled hackers to gain unauthorized access to credit card information among less than 100,000 customers who placed orders on its Sears or Kmart websites between September 27 and October 12, 2017. New details from Sears’ investigation revealed that its systems were not impacted, after all.

Upon learning about the breach, Sears immediately notified the credit card companies to prevent potential fraud. It also launched a thorough investigation with federal law enforcement authorities, banking partners, and IT security firms.

Based on Sears’ investigation, the retailer concluded that customers using Sears-branded credit cards or storing payment card information on the Sears and Kmart websites were not impacted. There was also no evidence that any stores or any internal Sears systems were accessed by hackers, according to Sears.

[24]7.ai has assured the department store retailer that it removed the malicious script from its code, and its systems are now secure, Sears reported.

While there was no evidence of tampering, Sears continues to take steps “to comply with various state regulations and requirements and ensure its customers are aware of the incident,” according to the company.

The company encourages customers to take steps to safeguard their information and understand their rights under their state’s laws. In addition, Sears encourages customers “to monitor their card statements and review their free credit reports, and otherwise remain vigilant for suspected incidents of fraud or identity theft,” the company said.

Sears encourages customers that suspect incidents of identity theft to report them to local law enforcement, the state attorney general, and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Individuals can also obtain information about the steps they can take to avoid identity theft from the FTC.

Customers who still believe their information might have been affected by this incident may be able to place a fraud alert or security freeze on their credit reports through consumer reporting agencies.

Sears was not the only company potentially impacted by (24)7.ai.’s breach. Best Buy, which uses (24)7.ai’s chat services, also issued a warning that some of its customers’ payment information may have been compromised in the same data cyberattack that hit the technology vendor between September 27 and October 12, 2017.

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