Millennials are the shoppers to watch. According to Accenture, the spending power of this young faction will shoot to a value of $1.4 trillion annually by 2020, accounting for about 30% of total retail sales. If your company is not already doing all it can to capture the attention and loyalty of this faction, you will be missing out on lucrative business for the foreseeable future. Understanding the shopping habits of millennials can further your efforts with customer retention and increase your bottom line.
Smartphones are Primary Devices
Millennials are an increasingly connected crew, with many spending multiple hours a day on various electronic devices. The most primary of these is the smartphone, as SDL purports the average millennial checks his or her phone at least 43 times a day, and businesses who don’t optimize their website to capture the attention of tiny screen viewers are missing out on new business by the hour. (infographic source shown below) Online retailers like Shari’s Berries have made sure to invest early in responsive design, so that their website renders seamlessly on all device types and sizes. No matter the size of the screen, their site is designed to transform to whatever parameters are used to access it and can be viewed without hindering quality. This speaks volumes to the tech savvy millennials who purportedly use, on average, three to four different devices per day.
Rebates over Discounts
Millennials for the most part prefer items offered with high-value rebates, and would choose this option over an instant discount that offers smaller amounts of savings. Millennials are educated, frugal shoppers, and the greater the value, the more desirable (even if it comes at the cost of convenience). This is applicable to a bevy of retail categories, including hard lines like electronics and sporting goods, and soft lines like clothing and bath linens. Note of caution: the millennial generation’s inclination toward value over convenience doesn’t give license to make the rebate process harder, as if it is deceptive or difficult to redeem, your brand reputation could be irrevocably tarnished.
Old Navy has continually found massive success with their online and offline coupon promotions. Not only are they using television commercials to improve their branding, but they are also using smart phones and text messaging to send coupons directly to the end consumer as well.
Shirking Traditional Advertising Mediums
Millennials don’t trust advertisements, at least not in the same way that preceding generations have. This population is wary of items supported on traditional advertising mediums, including television and radio spots. The millennial generation (and the Generation Z following quickly on their heels) prefer to receive recommendations over blatant advertising, viewing the former as a more honest portrayal of the validity of a product. YouTube has become a popular avenue for advertisers looking to perfect this strategy, with “everyday folks” becoming celebrities in their own right and yielding influential power over ravenous watchers every single day. Capturing younger generations’ attention means looking into various advertising routes and capitalizing on their desire for genuineness.
Nielson also released their own report on what forms of advertising consumers trust. The results may surprise you!
Focus on Co-creation
Millennials know what they want and want to get their hands dirty. A whopping 42% of millennials surveyed expressed an interest in helping companies develop the products and services offered. Companies that can determine ways to make their consumers involved in the development process will see dividends. Millennials have expressed a strong desire to be a part of the creation process, and selling to them means catering to this passionate plea. Consider Frito Lay’s chip campaign, in which hungry consumers are asked to help create the company’s new flavors. Their “Do Us a Flavor” campaign caters to the aforementioned consumer desire to be a part of the creation process, and a contest with a $1 million cash prize sweetens the pot even further. The more you can involve your customer, the farther you’ll get with this group.
Look Toward Social Aims
Just as millennials prefer authenticity, they also seem to favor brands who are socially conscious. As the most diverse generation in U.S. history, millennials are more aware, more educated, and more focused on creating social change. Companies like TOMS have found great success by helping their customers become agents of change through purchases. This shoe brand donates a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair sold, and millennials (and their younger brothers and sisters) have taken note and transformed the company into a multimillion dollar enterprise.
As millennials begin to make up the majority of the spending population, your marketing strategies and selling aims must be catered to their preferred shopping habits. Take these guidelines into consideration and determine how your company can best fit these generational needs.