Millennial buying power is increasing.
Although Generation Y used to be considered less—shall we say—prosperous than the previous generations, as of recently they have been holding considerable spending power, expected to reach $8 trillion by 2025. So if you’re looking to appeal to any shopper born between 1981 and 1996 and are planning on tapping into that growing pool of millennial money, you need to prepare both your online and physical stores and make them as appealing as possible to this cold brew-loving, tech-savvy generation.
1. Make Your Website Mobile Friendly
Millennials are digital natives—they were born into an already technologically advanced world. And they’re particularly attached to their smartphones, using them to do everything from date to bank to shop, so they expect their customer experiences to be not only digital, but also mobile.
That being said, they’re also contributing to the resurgence of brick & mortar stores, preferring to explore, try on, and feel different products, though possibly making their ultimate purchase online. So, it’s important that your website be optimized for mobile, allowing them to easily find what they’ve seen in store and make a purchase without hassle. Make sure your product pages are clear from clutter and distractions, include a highly-visible CTA, and are easily scrollable and zoomable.
2. Offer an Omnichannel Experience
Even more critical than having a mobile-friendly website, though, is having one that works in harmony with your physical store locations. Millennials demand convenience; they want to shop wherever, whenever, on any device, and they want a frictionless experience throughout the channels. The inventory customers see online should match what is in your brick & mortar locations, and they should be able to return anything purchased online to a physical store, with easy customer and order look-up. Your branding, too, should remain consistent across channels, in tone, voice, and design.
"Omnichannel" is an especially important word when it comes to really knowing your customer. Your POS and ecommerce platforms should be integrated so that you're tracking each customer within one profile—no matter which channel they're shopping through—giving you a holistic view of their likes, dislikes, shopping habits, and customer journey.
3. Be Clear on Shipping and Payment Terms
Regarding online orders, everything about shipping and payment should be completely transparent and expressed as the sum total. You can be sure that they won't forgive you for inaccurately calculated shipping, for example.
As for payment, allowing multiple options is known to increase conversion and prevent cart abandonment, as customers feel more comfortable knowing they can use their preferred payment method. Income paid through different alternative services such as PayPal or Payoneer is becoming increasingly more common, so taking different payment channels in consideration is a must.
4. Make it ‘Grammable
While many will argue they’re about as overdone as avocado toast, retail spaces with the “Instagram factor” are undoubtedly continuing to bring in the foot traffic. In-store coffee and wine bars, flower walls for photo backdrops, murals outside the store—consumers are flocking to these locales that they may have not bothered with otherwise simply to get the shot. On top of that, brands and retailers who offer these creative in-store experiences are cashing in on the free marketing that goes along with them. Nearly every patron who walks through Glossier’s doors, with its perfectly lit selfie mirrors and life-size makeup packaging, will be leaving only after snapping a photo...which will later be posted to their social media feeds...which will instill a sense of FOMO in their followers...which will, too, lead them into the store. Bam, free advertising.
5. Ask for Feedback
Millennials want to be heard and they want their opinions to be taken seriously. Let them have their say about your business, products, and customer service.
It has never been easier to quickly feel the pulse of your audience as you can today with the help of email and social media networks. Personal outreach never hurts either; not only will it show them that you care about what they think, but you’ll also be able to use their responses as social proof. Gen Y relies on reviews and testimonials, so when they read your happy customers’ remarks about your business, it’ll be even easier for them to take the plunge and feel no buyer’s remorse afterward.
6. Offer a Loyalty Program
Millennials hold 6.5 loyalty memberships on average. This may come as a surprise considering the generation is often labeled as job-hoppers and stereotyped as unloyal in regards to employment. Yet when it comes to brands, this savvy group behaves in a different manner.
Don’t assume that incentivizing your Gen Y customers is expensive—they’ll pay you back through their loyalty. And as a result, they’ll be more ready to spend more if you offer them perks like reward points or gifts with purchase.
(Note: Springboard Retail integrates with Annex Cloud, an omnichannel customer loyalty solution)
7. Maintain Your Social Media Presence
On average, millennials are spending more than two and a half hours on social media every day, and 62% of of them believe that social media has an impact on their relationship with brands. So it goes without saying that you must leverage these channels to reach this generation and promote yourself.
An active social media presence doesn’t mean bombarding followers with promotional content only. Instead of blowing your own horn all the time, use platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest to engage and entertain your millennial audience by producing content that they can relate to and adds value to their lives: gift guides, styling tips, recipes, how to’s...the options are endless. Think about the content you find yourself engaging with online in planning your own.
Gen Y is also very socially conscious (81% of millennials expect companies to make a public commitment to good corporate citizenship), which means you can connect with them through different causes they support and root for. Social media is an excellent vehicle to promote your mutual shared values.
As the world’s currently largest generation alive, millennials are worth the effort. If they are your target audience, employing these 7 tips is essential to boosting your customer acquisition, engagement, and retention.
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.
Topics: Retail Tips & Techniques