I’ve never been one of those Black Friday shoppers, but this year I jumped on the bandwagon. I just moved to a new city and will be starting from scratch in a new apartment soon, so I figured, what better day to snag a great deal on a TV and kitchenware?
I didn’t camp out at Best Buy, but I went to Macy’s at midnight on Thanksgiving night to wrestle over pillows, mattress pads and coffeemakers with throngs of other sleepy eyed shoppers. As I stood in line, I got to thinking about our shopping obsessed culture. Many people anticipated Black Friday as an event and more so this year than in recent years, it seemed.
Retailers clearly have no trouble snagging Gen Y’s time and money–perhaps credit unions can take some cues from them.
In October, Callahan & Associates published an article that touched on how redesigning branches to look and operate more like stores could attract Gen Y. The article described a new branch concept called “FRANK,” launched last year by southeast Asia’s OCBC Bank to lure in teenagers and 20-somethings. At FRANK branches, one-third of the space is dedicated to tellers who work at a “pod area set up like a retail checkout area,” and the remaining space is devoted to retail, including branded merchandise and a wall of more than 130 designs for customizable payment cards, Callahan said.
According to the article, the reason younger folks like the FRANK branch concept is because it allows them to customize their banking products. “If you need proof of how obsessed Gen Y is with customization, consider the FRANK customer who took over an hour to choose his card design because he wanted the perfect fit for him,” it states.
Gen Y members do keep personal style in mind when they shop for something new.
At the same time, many Gen Y members are conformists when it comes to making purchases. Just look at the crowds that flowed into Best Buy and Walmart stores across the country like herds of sheep on Black Friday. And while we might consider a personalized phone case or desktop background image individualistic, we’re all walking around with similar or identical phones and laptops.
As holiday shopping season continues, credit unions might consider how to incorporate the retail experience into their marketing strategies and product offerings. Maybe that involves launching a personalized payment card product that allows Gen Y members to express their individuality and brings in additional income. Or maybe it’s promoting a new product by entering every new member who signs up for it into a drawing for a cash prize. Shopping is a source of pleasure for Gen Y. Consider feeding into that by making their banking experience fun.