According to new research, millennials are hoping to get more from their Christmas shopping this year than just a sack full of gifts.

Salesforce’s Connected Shopper Report suggests that younger consumers are becoming increasingly demanding, with most now expecting a VIP-like experience both online and in-store.

In a survey of over 4,000 millennials , 57% were found to be willing to share information about themselves if it meant getting a better service in-store. 

Similarly, 47% of millennials would like retailers to know exactly who they are when they walk through the door, using location-based technology.

While personalisation is becoming more prevalent across the board, a few retailers appear to be upping the ante this Christmas.

Here are four recent examples I've come across.

Boots Emporium

Just in time for the festive period, Boots has launched an in-store Emporium to help position itself as the number one retailer for beauty gifts.

Describing itself as a way to ‘immerse yourself in personalised beauty’ – it satisfies the customer in two ways.

First, it delivers on personalisation in a literal sense, allowing you to customise gifts for friends and family. 

You can choose to get items engraved or select the make-up to go in a bespoke palette - an attractive prospect for people who want something a bit more special than a basic gift set.

Secondly, it results in a more memorable shopping experience overall.

Whether or not you actually buy anything personalised, the Emporium encourages you to experiment with trends and ask for expert advice.

For customers, this one-to-one interaction with employees results in the sense that you’re being given the star treatment.

Selfridges' Elfridges

Selfridges has been big on aligning its physical and digital presence in 2016.

It now looks intent on creating an extra special Christmas with a range of festive related experiences, including events such as an in-store pantomime and breakfast with Santa.

Another big initiative is its ‘Elfridges’ service – a personal shopping option to help customers find the perfect gift. 

Instead of promoting it as a premium or luxury service, Selfridges looks intent on reassuring customers that it is accessible for all.

Described as a ‘complimentary service for lists both big and small’ – it’s a great example of how to give everyone the same level of treatment, regardless of budget.

The service also extends to online, allowing users to ask for help via the dedicated Elfridges Twitter account.

John Lewis's VR experience

This year’s John Lewis Christmas advert has already broken records for the most shares within an hour.

Now the retailer wants to let fans become part of the story through an immersive VR experience, enabling users to feel like they are bouncing just like the famous Buster the Boxer.

There are two ways to get involved – either by using Oculus Rift technology in-store or Google Cardboard and its accompanying 360 degree video.

With technology allowing customers to experience something out of the ordinary, this is a great example of how to build on existing consumer interest to deliver even more value. 

Wool and the Gang's Hand-made checklist

Salesforce found that 79% of consumers appreciate it when a retailer offers a complimentary promotion based on a previous purchase.

Online retailer Wool and the Gang uses this technique as part of its email strategy, often targeting consumers with tailored deals.

However, instead of sending out offers in isolation, I’ve noticed how the retailer tends to provide extra value for consumers by teaming it with seasonal content. 

One example is a recent email promoting its downloadable holiday checklist – a fun piece of marketing material in its own right.

However. on the bottom of the email was also a 25% off discount code for online orders, which ramps up the (surprise) value for customers.

With the prediction that consumer expectations will continue to rise for future generations, personlisation won't just be a tactic used at Christmas-time.

As technology improves, we could be in for VIP treatment all year round.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 22 November, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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