Is Your Retail Business Ready for Millennials?

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People born between 1980 and 2000 are often called the “millennial generation”, or “generation Y”. They are large in number and are increasingly becoming the backbone of our society. For example, there are about 80 million millennials in America alone, and together they spend a whopping US$600 billion each year. They are no longer the teenagers who had to rely primarily on their parents for income, many are now working adults living in their own houses with their own families. Furthermore, their spending power will continue to rise as a larger proportion joins the workforce in the near future. As a result, it becomes clear that in order for retailers, whether large or small, chain franchise or boutique shops, to succeed in the future, they have to unlock the potential in millennials as customers. This article will help you to do just that.

Social networks are key

One of the key distinguishing behaviors of the millennials generation is that they rely heavily on the Internet. Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter dominate their web surfing sessions, and with the rising popularity of smart phones in recent years, going mobile has become a trend as well. Millennials are more likely to obtain information from sites like Facebook and Twitter than any other group, and are more inclined to shop online as well. Therefore, the key here is to advertise online, especially through Facebook and Twitter. It would be useful to set up a Facebook page and Twitter account for your business, and post there regularly. The content doesn’t always have to be related to your products or services, in fact it actually helps if the posts are sometimes about trending topics, hot issues or celebrities to keep potential customers interested in the content. Engagement is crucial as well. Replying readily and regularly to comments and retweets enhances customer loyalty, as customers would have a greater sense of interaction.

Make it online friendly

Similar to the first point, online shopping is very popular. This is not just developed countries such as America, it has taken off in less developed markets as well, such as China. In 2014, Chinese company Alibaba’s IPO made big news in the U.S., as the online shopping company was valued higher by the market than Amazon and eBay combined. This change could mean much more than you have imagined. The millennials are not only shopping online more frequently, they’ve also developed a habit of comparing prices and checking out reviews by other customers before making purchases. Where applicable, they expect a seamless transition from online to physical stores, meaning if a purchase is made online they’d expect to be able to pick it up in-store soon after, or if an item is sold online with a discount the in-store price should reflect that as well. These changes necessarily pose new challenges to retailers, but at the same time they also bring opportunities. A well designed and executed online shopping experience could really make your business stand out from the rest. For example, shops could introduce coupons for return customers, and set up online shops on platforms such as Amazon to promote their products. Vouchers or redeem codes can be given to customers as an incentive for them to leave a comment on Amazon about their product experience.

Millennials can be very loyal customers

It is no secret that many retailers are worried about customer loyalty, as they feel that millennials have fast changing tastes and preferences. Although it’s true to a certain extent that it is now much harder to accurately capture the likes and dislikes of customers, millennial customers can be very loyal to a certain brand or shop—provided they feel that they’re treated well as valued customers. There’s only so much a retailer can do in terms of “hard selling”, using value for money and discounts to attract and retain customers, but there’s virtually unlimited ways to do “soft-selling”, ideas and services that make the customer feel a true difference. For example, send each customer a tailored birthday card on their birthdays, promote products that they might enjoy based on past purchases, and so on. The millennials value experience more than perhaps any other generation. Good products alone aren’t enough anymore; they want to walk away with a good mood as well.


References

8 Shopping Habits of Millennials All Retailers Need to Know About, Entrepreneur

How Millennials Are Changing The Face Of Retail Shopping, Aabaco Small Business 

Who are the millennial shoppers? And what do they really want? Accenture  

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