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Hearth & Home November 2019

Richard Wright
Hearth & Home Magazine

Perspective: Millennials:
How to Reel Them In

While the Baby Boomers may have more money, the Millennials have more time, and that’s something that money can’t buy (or so they tell me). Those in the Millennial generation will be your customers for many generations, so it’s time to get to know them a little better. 

In this issue of Hearth & Home, you’ll find an extensive article on the Millennial generation by Lisa Readie Mayer. Right now, those in that generation were born between 1981 and 1996, and are between 22 and 37 years old. That means they could be just getting their BA from college, or that they’ve already spent 19 years or so in the workplace.

Mayer spent countless hours tracking down recent surveys of that cohort – so that you wouldn’t have to (we know how little time everyone has these days). In the following pages (18, to be specific) you will learn a great deal about customers with whom you will be working for decades to come. 

So do yourself, and your business, a favor and read this article word for word. Then copy it and pass those copies to others who work with you. After all your key people have read it, get together and discuss what you’ve learned, and how it relates to your business. For example, in this article you’ll read that Millennials are into retro brands, ’90s fashions, TV shows, etc. 

During the first week of October, my wife Jackie and I spent that time in the City of Quebec. We stopped at a (very) small restaurant, sat at the bar, and the bartender asked what kind of music we liked – what kind of old music, that is. You see, he had a great collection of LPs from time passed. We heard some Big Band tunes, a bit of Sinatra, and a touch of Caruso, and loved it all.

Could you do the same in a retail store? Of course. But that might be effective only if a good deal of your customers were still young.

Do you sell grills, and do you demo those grills a few times a week? Millennials love food and entertaining. Fifty-eight percent of Millennials consider themselves to be “foodies.” 

In the article, Mayer says that “Millennials want information about their food, including how it was grown or made, where it came from, and who made or cooked it. They are interested in artisanal ingredients, authentic dishes, and cooking techniques.”

Hit the bookstore, or Amazon, and find cookbooks that showcase various foreign cuisines. You’ll be the hit of the younger generations!

Millennials are also enamored of their backyards, and in particular fire pits and the company they attract. They like authentic things, so we suggest that you have wood-fueled fire pits on display (along with the gas versions). Never display a fire pit without two or four comfortable (preferably deep-seating) chairs. At that point, you’re not selling just a fire pit, but a lifestyle. Which, by the way, is precisely what your customer wanted in the first place.

Now, get your group together, perhaps at 8am, which gives you two hours before you open the store. Talk, brainstorm, then act. Reel those Millennials in like a fish in the river.

More Stories in this Issue

An Abundance of Will

By Richard Wright

In 2003, the hearth industry was mature, retail space had been allocated, and new players entered the field at their own peril. That didn’t deter Holly Markham.

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The Sky's the Limit!

By Bill Sendelback

Who would have guessed, way back in the ’70s and ’80s, that some consumers would pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for a fireplace? (Answer: no one)

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Buckets of Ideas

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Here’s a load of good ideas on how to promote your outdoor products, put on events, tie-in via social media, and keep your customers coming back.

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Meet the Millennials

By Lisa Readie Mayer

Millennials value experiences over things, doing over acquiring, traveling and seeing the world over being wealthy.

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Designed to Sell

By Lisa Readie Mayer

3-D design software can help retailers sell more outdoor living products. (Psst! It could turn out to be your best salesperson.)

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2019 September Business Climate

In early October Hearth & Home faxed and emailed a survey to 2,500 specialty retailers of hearth, patio, and barbecue products, asking them to compare September 2019 sales to September 2018. The accompanying charts and selected comments are from the 194 usable returns.

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Parting Shot: Views All Around

Norway is perhaps best known for its coastal fjords, but the northern landscape has much to offer in its interior as well. Architecture firm Snøhetta took the opportunity to design a robust but low-impact building for visitors to immerse themselves in the Dovre Mountain plateau.

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