Millennials Are the '& Generation'


MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Much has been said about the increasing importance of satisfying millennial consumers. 

Gilbarco Veeder-Root Inc.'s 2017 Retail Technology Conference made the case for why it is important for convenience and fuel retailers to reach the millennial generation, and offered insights on how to go about it.

Shama Hyder, CEO of the Marketing Zen Group, was one of the featured speakers at Gilbarco's conference, held earlier this month. She spoke about how to market to millennials, who will soon be the generation with the most buying power.

Despite myriad reports about millennials being underachievers living in their parents' basements and playing video games all day, Hyder said they're actually a source of great potential for retailers. Millennials are the most educated generation; they're making more money than previous generations; and are more socially and fiscally aware than their forebears.

Most important for retailers to understand is that millennials — whom she calls the "& Generation" — are after a great value. They want a great product, a great experience getting that product, and a great price for that product.

Futurist Doug Stephens, another presenter at the conference, similarly highlighted how imperative it is for retailers to target millennials. The day when millennials will make up the highest percentage of shoppers is just around the corner, so Stephens urged retailers to begin putting programs in place now that will appeal to them.

He believes those who get a jumpstart, who take risks to generate new, productive ideas, will be the ones to reap the most benefits.

Like Hyder, Stephens pointed to the importance of providing an experience in-store, suggesting that money is shifting to experience over product. With this in mind, according to Stephens, retailers should place a heavy emphasis on the path to purchase.

Millennials, along with men, Hispanics and those who are employed, make up the "super heavy" and "heavy" user segments at convenience stores, according to a Gilbarco-led presentation about "Using The Pump To Sell More Than Fuel." Millennials trail just behind Gen Z when it comes to purchasing snacks at c-stores. 

Where digital engagement is concerned, there's room for growth. Only 24 percent of millennials have a convenience store app, and a slightly larger percentage (32 percent) follow a c-store on Twitter. Retailers were urged to capitalize on millennials' on-the-go mentality.

Another interesting fact revealed during the event is that millennials are the generation least likely to embrace EMV. EMV is an acronym for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, the three companies that originally created the security standard. 

Millennials, who are accustomed to new technologies being faster with less friction, perceive that using EMV takes longer. As a group, they'’re the most enthusiastic about ApplePay, indicating that contactless payment is likely to grow.

Contactless and tap-and-go are the way of the future, which also includes connected cars, Cognizant Technologies' Prasad Satyavo stated during his presentation on how millennials' transportation habits will change things for the retail industry.

Satyavo explained that fewer millennials have cars and licenses than those in previous generations. What will that mean for c-store and fuel retailers? Among other things, perhaps a need to accommodate a rise in driverless connected cars and rideshare fleets, he said.

The 2017 Gilbarco Veeder-Root Retail Technology Conference took place May 9-12 in Myrtle Beach. Click here to read more of Convenience Store News' recap of the event.

Greensboro, N.C.-based Gilbarco Veeder-Root is a worldwide technology provider for retail and commercial fueling operations.

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