Saturday Morning Meeting Talks Generations

Author: 8th and Walton

This week, Saturday Morning Meeting talked about Walmart’s efforts to reach out to the Millennials, a demographic that hasn’t been as eager to shop with Walmart as the Baby Boomers. Didi Frazier of L’Oreal and Stan Zylowski of Movista shared their views with Derek Ridenoure.

Ridenoure spelled out the issue for the guests. “Walmart has had somewhat of a marketing problem when it comes to the millennials and the younger generation,” he reminded them. “[My] parents shopped there, I don’t wanna shop there. I wanna try something new and try something different. Target has been trendy.”

Frazier agreed that L’Oreal sees Baby Boomers shopping for their products in Walmart and Milliennials doing so at Target, but saw opportunities for Walmart to reach Millennials shopping in the HBA category. “Trying to drive some more excitement within that category is key for Walmart right now to grab that consumer.”

Where can that excitement come from?

Zylowski pointed out that Store 100, across the street from Walmart corporate, is using events and consumer education to create an exciting atmosphere in the electronics department.  “Clearly Walmart is saying electronics is a part of the store where we’re gonna win over the Millennials,” he suggested. “Win their hearts and get their minds later.”

“It is exciting,” Frazier agreed. “It is fun to shop. So getting that back into the Sam’s Club, I think, would be key to drive that consumer there.”

L’Oreal is known for their retailtainment and customer education initiatives, ranging from hair color roadshows to  passing out samples of sunscreen outside D.C. metro stations to  programs like Women in Digital which are clearly directed toward Millennials.

Ridenoure questioned the ROI of retailtainment and consumer education initiatives, which often require a lot of manpower, for Walmart in particular. “Is there a need for that when you have smartphone applications and online reviews that I can go and read?” he asked. “If I’m Walmart, do I spend the labor to put somebody in the store to answer those questions?”

Today’s empowered consumers don’t wait for brands or retailers to provide their stories — but retailers and suppliers might want to retain more control over how their stories are told. And Walmart might want to polish up their reputation in the area of customer relationships. As a supplier, do you want to make an investment in in-store events and consumer education? Does it matter whether your product is targeted toward Millennials?

Watch the whole episode here and see an example of a supplier who really needs consumer education to sell products — and maybe some retailer education, too.

Share your views with us in the comments, or in the conversation at Twitter with hashtag #SaturdayMorningMeeting. And be sure to join us on KNWA at 6:30 every Saturday evening.

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