Figuring out how to market to millennials is not a discussion for the future, it’s not something that can be put off for a few more years. Millennials are in the workforce and earning a steady income, so now is the time to capitalize on this generation. For the sake of your profits now and in the future, these are some changes you can make to help your retail store appeal to millennials.
Who are the millennials?
Millennials are people born between 1982 and 2003. Many of them were going to college or entering the workforce during the economic recession of 2008, which means that they aren’t hitting new life stages as early as previous generations. Many millennials are marrying and having children later in life, and many of them use those years before kids to travel or settle into a career they enjoy.
Technology has been a large presence in the lives of millennials, and they have high standards for how businesses use technology to make their shopping experience better. They are also socially conscious, with 63% of them reporting that they want their employer to contribute to social or ethical causes. They are also less likely than previous generations to agree with this statement: most people can be trusted.
Characteristics of Millennials
Millennials are accustomed to finding everything they need in the palm of their hand… on their mobile devices. Whether they are hailing an Uber or ordering takeout, millennials know that there is an app for all of their needs. They also like to use their phones as payment options. Whether they are paying a friend back on Venmo or scanning their phone at Starbucks to pay for their coffee, millennials like being able to use their phone as their wallet.
A customized, customer-service focused experience is also important to the millennial shopper. Because they are bombarded with upwards of 5,000 ads every single day, the things that stand out to them are the personal touches that show that a business cares.
For example, Stitch Fix is a service that offers affordable personal styling to their customers. Users sign up for the service and fill out a questionnaire about the styles they like, the clothing sizes they wear, and their budget for different items. Once a month or once per quarter, a stylist reads through the user’s profile and special requests to hand-select five items of apparel. The box is shipped to the user, who then gets to try on all of the clothes. She then returns any unwanted items and purchases the rest.
Inside each box, the stylist encloses a letter to the user saying why she chose each specific item for her and gives suggestions for how to mix and match the new clothes from ones in previous boxes. Although all business is conducted online, the experience is highly personalized.
What do millennials expect from retailers?
Millennials are attracted to retailers who have values that align with their own. They like to see transparency in the business and they relate to companies that support the same social causes that they care about.
They also expect for it to be easy to find information about a business online. A mobile-friendly site and updated contact information in Google and Yelp are crucial to attracting new millennial customers.
Social media is also a good way to reach out to millennials. Some businesses will let their customers receive Facebook messages instead of emails, and people of all ages will reach out with customer concerns via direct messages. Be sure to check your social media profiles regularly to keep in touch with existing customers!
And above all, make sure that you are asking millennials for feedback. The best way to know what your business is doing right (or wrong) is to ask millennials how they felt about their shopping experience with your store.