This new generation has created a whole new climate of shopping, and as such, the market to appeal to these customers has also changed. Before you shrug off the idea of catering to this new generation of shoppers, bear in mind that there are approximately 80 million of them in the U.S. alone and they are spending around $600 billion per year! That is plenty of people and money to not accommodate.
Millennials have now aged to be in their 20s and 30s which means they are getting long term jobs, creating families, and buying their first homes. There are quite a few myths surrounding millennial shoppers, including exclusively being online shoppers, having no store loyalty and that social networks are the most important factor in deciding a shop. So, what is similar and what is different amongst millennials and their predecessor shoppers, and what can you do to better address the needs of these potential clients? This article will cover these two main points and address trends in shopping marketing that appeals to this generation.
So, first off, how are millennials the same as their predecessors in their shopping trends and the way they approach shopping choices? Much like the generations before, shopping choices of this group is linked to real-time availability. Do you remember when Amazon promised us drones to deliver our packages in a hyper-efficient and fast way? This is in part because millennials just like their predecessors prefer to have their shopping lists completed immediately. These millennial shoppers are also just as savvy as their predecessors, meaning that they are just as likely to shop around and find the cheapest option out there. What is surprising in similarity is that generations prior and this one both practiced ‘showrooming’ which is the practice of looking at the product in a store before jumping online to find it at its lowest price. Imagine you are going to purchase a pair of new expensive boots, you know you want to find them at the cheapest price but you want to make sure the feel and fit are accurate so you don’t have to struggle with returns. You go and ‘showroom’ the shoes to try them on with no intention of purchase. What separates millennials from prior generations in this aspect is the use and high level of smartphones to find products. Consumers are much more likely to use their smartphone to find the right deal than before, and will even do it in the store they are showrooming.
You now have a better idea of what millennial customers are looking for and how it is similar to the generations you have been serving. So what are a few things that your store can upgrade, in order to better serve these clients? Millennials always have access to deals on their phones, what they see advertised online is the price that they want in the store. Making sure that you match your deals online and in stores is a great way to draw them in. Once they are in your store keep in mind that many of them won’t print out the coupon that allows them to access the deals. Having mobile coupon scanning technology could mean the difference between a purchase and a client walking away. In line with this, millennials have thousands of options to choose from when they go to make a retail purchase. While it may seem daunting to not only get these clients but get loyalty from these clients, the answer to this is actually quite simple: high-quality customer focused experiences that are tailored to their needs, such as mobile scanning. Personalizing your store to trends, and offering promotions for loyal customers have just as a big turn out. Instead of mail in coupons, you might have used before, consider text message deals, emails promoting the latest seasonal trends and loyal customer deals. Text messages and emails are one thing, but as a marketer who invests too much into their social media as a way to gain a personal investment might be making a mistake. Social media platforms such as a Facebook page or a Twitter handle are great ways to promote a deal but don’t oversell how effective likes are.
These few ideas on how to improve your business for millennials are all in the same vein of thinking, which is to provide an experience to your customers that crosses over both online shopping and in-store shopping. An integrated experience is essential to create customer loyalty. To make your store stand out in a saturated market you need to look at your customer’s needs and wants and determine how to shape a narrative that is personalized. Why are your boutique boots worth buying even though they are more expensive than another brand? A huge trend in millennial shopping is shopper consciousness, they want the products to be humanely made with a low environmental impact and to be priced right. Advertising how they are made, how they affect the life of your customers and those surrounding them creates personal stakes. Add a loyal customer coupon that can be used in the store without needing the physical paper there, and you might just find yourself a sale.
While this may seem like a lot to tackle for millennial customers, you are really just continuing to ensure an excellent customer experience. You want each experience to be special and memorable to your customer, across both in-store and online purchases. Rather than dump time and money into a multifaceted social media marketing team, take a look at how you are connecting your shopping on and offline, and develop a narrative that highlights that. Millennials are looking for accurate, fast, and integrated experiences, and while a like on the internet is good for advertisement, a purchase from a loyal customer is good for business.
As far as online marketing goes, your focus is on transparency in prices and deliveries and creating a unified look across multiple platforms. Your website should be readable on computers, tablets, smartphones, and reflect the same look as your physical store. With these tips, you can stand out in your industry and provide the best products and services to your customers no matter their age or generation.