The Young and The Restless? Generational Challenges in Retail

retailBaby Boomers, Generation X, Y, Z, Millennials – sometimes it becomes almost impossible to keep all of these groups straight – and keeping their wants and needs as both customers and employees is even harder. Generational challenges in retail seem to only be growing with the times and that means that it can be hard to keep up, and that makes keeping up even more essential!


Chances are, your pool of potential consumers is generationally diverse – this is especially true in the consumer packaged goods industry – and that presents its own challenges. One approach to deal with this is to choose one group and cater specifically to them, ignoring all others. Is this a good idea? Probably not, and we suggest taking a different route.

Instead, cater to every group simultaneously. Technology has made this task easier and harder all at once. For example, online shopping, although taken advantage of by all ages, is more common for younger generations. However, technology in store and mobile e-commerce continues to grow, and the older generations are adapting just as well. The best advice we can offer when it comes to dealing with this generational challenge in retail is to make sure that you are not putting off one group in exchange for another – be inclusive, not exclusive.

Want some more advice on how to overcome this challenge? Check out this great article from Instore Magazine:


The retail space is predominantly filled by millennial aged employees – this is a well-known fact. This alone creates problems. Hiring almost exclusively, whether by choice or necessity, from one group means that shoppers outside of this group can feel ostracized – never a good thing in retail. When you have a generationally diverse workforce, this strongly works in your favour. Each group has different needs – but as a whole they should be working together.

Dealing with clashes? Here is a great article from Vancouver Business. Although not specific to retail, it has some really excellent tips that do apply to the retail landscape:

There is no way around it – generational challenges in retail exist, both on the consumer side and within the workplace. This fact can’t be denied, and unless you embrace these difference, you may just find yourself at the back of the pack.

Call Marketsupport today for people support and marketing tips to take advantage of these differences: 1-877-421-5081.

« Back to Blog