Mind the Gap: How Retailers Can Reach the Millennials in the Age of New Media

Maria Tuborgh & Annika Fischer

Student thesis: Master thesis


New Media has changed the retail landscape significantly, since it allows the consumers to find information outside of traditional marketing channels and purchase products online. Especially the generation of Millennials, 18 to 35 year olds, seems to be very engaged with the Internet and all the options it brings. Thus, the purpose of this study is to understand the gap there seems to be between retailers who are relying on in-store experiences and the generation of Millennials in order to be able to eliminate this gap and become more relevant to this generation.
In order to serve this purpose both secondary data and primary data will be used. Qualitative primary data in the form of focus groups, expert interviews, and an in-depth interview as well as quantitative data in the form of an online survey will be collected. Further the case company Hi-Fi Klubben will serve as an example for retailers focused on in this study.
The thesis concludes that there is a gap between retail brands such as Hi-Fi Klubben and the Millennials as the retailers’ focus on service and expertise is not enough anymore. Further, Millennials are spending an important amount of time online and are highly influenced by electronic Word-of-Mouth. This creates an endless amount of touchpoints they have with a retailer’s brand, which can only be influenced but not controlled by the retailer.
However, the assumption that in order to become relevant to the Millennials, New Media is more important than any other channel has only been partially supported by this thesis research. The online channel is important in order to communicate with the Millennials. But as they are rather passive observers on New Media, the only way to truly satisfy their need for self-realization is to stage offline experiences. The research found that for Millennials, self-realization is closely linked to their social needs, meaning that one important element of relevant experiences is enabling them to be social with their friends. However, the exact way to transform oneself is individual. Hence, New Media can be used as a tool to find out what kind of more specific experiences are of value to individual Millennials. By listening to this generation’s suggestions, retailers can then mass-customize offline transformational experiences for the Millennials.
In conclusion, only by creating a synergy between online and offline channels and seeing the Millennials as active resources in the brand value creation, retailers can design, guide and follow up on the Millennials’ transformations and thereby create relationships with them. As a result, retailers can become more relevant to this generation and positively influence their brand associations in the Millennials’ mind.

EducationsMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2016
Number of pages128