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May 7, 2018 by Craig Neuhoff – A University of Florida study asked millennial shoppers what they liked – and didn’t like – about retail stores. Here were some of the top takeaways…

customers shopping for clothing
  1. Make me laugh.

    Millennials used the word “fun” a lot when they described things they liked about stores. For example, one noted, “This oversized lamp creates a fun atmosphere.” Another liked a display of French chef statues, saying it was “funny and it caught my attention.” Still another said, “The mannequins’ confident poses made the experience more fun.”

    Millennials thought witty signage was the retailer’s way of having a “friendly conversation” with the customer and made the store “personable” and “real.”

    One shopper spotted a store sign that read, ‘Keep your standards high and your spending low’ and said, “I thought [it] was sassy, hilarious and clever to put customers in a good mood when entering the store.”

  2. Hire Mr. Clean.

    Millennials have high expectations. The more upscale the brand, the more they expect it to deliver in terms of cleanliness and sophistication. Messy displays and stores gave them the impression that the retailer “didn’t care about their products” and they shouldn’t either. One female shopper stated that a handbag display was “overwhelming” and the “lack of organization took away from the prestige of the brands.” They do give more leeway to bargain brands though and thought some mess gave it a “treasure-hunting” vibe.


  3. Order me around.

    Millennials value continuity, consistency and repetition in the store space. They especially appreciated displays and racks that arranged merchandise by color. “It makes it super easy to find what you need,” one shopper said. One participant was smitten with a jewelry display that showcased “the deep assortment they offer.”


  4. Make it feel like home. 

    51% of millennials like store environments that look “home-like.” They want to envision the merchandise in their own space before they buy. Chandelier lighting, especially, made millennials feel like they were in their dream closet or bedroom. One respondent said, “(The store is) creating a bedroom atmosphere as if I were looking for clothes in my closet.” Another participant commented that a scarf display made her feel like she was “in my own closet at home.” “I feel like this place is my own personal shopping store,” she said. When describing a display, one millennial said, “The chairs are beautiful and pairing it with trees behind them creates a great scene. You can practically envision this inside your own home.”


  5. Color me impressed.

    Millennials paid a lot of attention to store colors and finishes. White was viewed as aspirational. White walls were referenced many times as “clean” and “giving the space a very open feel.” High-gloss white letters on store signs “give the store a modern and upscale feel.” A white display in the beauty department was said to have “a clean and fresh appearance.”

    Metallic and mirrored finishes also drew rave reviews from millennials. They thought it made the store appear more “upscale.” “I love the shiny, shimmery look,” one shopper said. Others commented that mirrored finishes helped to make the merchandise appear “glamorous.”

    Millennials were looking for the color red on signage. They said that if they saw red sale signs, they thought they were likely to get a good deal.

  6. ‘Upscale’ everything.

    Millennials used “upscale” and “quality” to describe everything from displays to lighting to store layout. If the merchandise was neatly folded and arranged by color on a table, it was thought of as “high-end” and better quality. An endcap display was described as “upscale” and “eye-catching” because it was made of wood and used lighting to call attention to the product. One shopper said, “The designer sections also seemed much more upscale with fancy wood and polished handles, drawing the eye to those areas quicker.”

    Lighting at one store was mentioned repeatedly because it featured chandeliers. Shoppers said they “turn a place from drab to fab,” give it an “upscale, old Hollywood feel” and “a high-class vibe.” Another commented, “The chandeliers make the store seem much more luxurious.”

    The high-quality, large-scale graphics in one store drew attention from millennials. One commented that it “made me be in a better mood when I shop.”

  7. Make it easy.

    Anything that makes the shopping experience “easy” is very appreciated by millennials, especially if the store is “easy to navigate” and “easy to find a good deal.” They liked mannequins in complete head-to-toe outfits so it was “easy to visualize” how a look could come together. They called out hanging displays that were “easy to view across the store.” They wanted full-length mirrors for “easy access” to see clothing without having to go into a dressing room. They also liked big overhead signs to easily find the specific section of the store they wanted.

    As one shopper said, “It is very easy to navigate through [discount store] because of these massive signs visible from many feet away! They make the shopping experience much more pleasant and easy to get in and out after finding exactly what you need.”

What do you think?

Did these insights surprise you at all? We’d love to know your thoughts.

Our Brand Story

GSP started as a printing company in1978. We found our niche supplying in-store signage for convenience stores when retailers guessed quantities they needed. This led to overage, waste and expense. To solve this, we developed software to guarantee on-time delivery of “the right size sign, to the right store, every time.”

In 2014, we started AccuStore with a dedicated team. As software helped drive our growth, we realized that new printing and fulfillment sites near customers could drive business and improve sustainability. We acquired companies that fit GSP’s technical excellence and superior customer service models.

First was Great Big Pictures in Madison, WI in 2015. They lead the field in large format printing and visual merchandising for iconic fashion retailers. Their standards for customer service include award-winning sustainability programs, and expertise to bolster retail environments services.

In 2020, GSP acquired Custom Color in Lenexa, KS. The company supplies printed graphics to leading retailers. Custom Color’s stellar quality in fabric printing also aligns with GSP’s values.

GSP provides branding and marketing services with a focus on site-specific execution to help transform our customers’ growth strategies into store-level success. We design retail environments to engage shoppers and provide superior customer experiences. AccuStore powers our retail marketing, execution and digital display technologies and ensures stores get only what they need. GSP is a forward-thinking company that’s here to serve retailers now, with a focus on their future.

GSP delivers graphics and digital marketing to over 75,000 retail locations. Our experts provide retail branding and marketing services, focused on site-specific execution. Our methods ensure stores get only the POP they need, at the lowest cost. Our Retail Environments team creates and deploys amazing, in-store shopping experiences.