Millennial consumers are the largest generational group to be widely targeted by marketers, and for good reason. However, they shop quite differently than older age groups, and online retailers must learn to relate to them in order to capture their loyalty. We know that millennials are social animals, and advancements in mobile technology have made it easier than ever for retailers to interact with them via the web and social media. Just last week, we analysed a report highlighting the facts that 80% of millennials have Smartphone, 93% have a social media account and 67% buy a product online. These statistics are convincing enough to make a case here for retailers.
Millennials are attracted to the ease and convenience of shopping online, yet they are much more cautious about spending money due to the economic crisis they have lived through. The key to capturing this generation’s disposable income is to stay agile when it comes to their ever-changing preferences. A strong marketing plan geared towards millennials will maintain forward-focused strategies that target their behaviors, values, and opinions.
Incentives With Authentic Engagement
Many millennials cannot remember what the pre-internet world was like. AOL, Myspace, email, and personal messengers have been a means to communicate since they were children. Spending free time on social media sites such as Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter is a daily activity that is embedded in all aspects of their personal and professional lives.
As an online retailer, you are on social media to promote your products. Millennials can see straight through marketing tactics that would have worked flawlessly with older generations. To tap into the buying power of this demographic, it is important to engage with them authentically. Provide content that offers the same emotional, psychological and behavioral benefits that drove them to social media in the first place.
Include yourself in the conversation by putting forth quality images that offer inspiration and ideas. If your product is not optimized for social sharing, you may be left out of the conversation. Place your products in a context where consumers can relate to them, making the experience easy to share with friends. This is word-of-mouth advertising at its best, allowing you to harness millennials’ social habits to your own benefit.
Place Pricing At The Forefront
While millennials’ purchasing power as a group is in the hundreds of billions, the individual consumer in this age group is often struggling with high debt levels and a lack of disposable income. For many millennials, tight budgets and the need to be frugal are a part of daily life. This age group is living on entry-level wages and grew up in a time of economic uncertainty, requiring them to make wise choices with limited buying power.
These savvy shoppers know how to browse and use apps to find the best deals available. To adapt to millennials’ shopping habits, it is wise to make pricing the cornerstone of your e-commerce strategy. Millennials are always on the lookout for deals such as promotions, coupons, and discount codes, and they are willing to wait for a flash sale or bid in an auction to get as much bang for their buck as possible.
Free shipping is one of the smartest promotions you can offer your customers. Even if you find yourself needing to raise your pricing slightly to accommodate free shipping, it is a smart move. Many shoppers choose to buy online instead of taking a trip to a brick-and-mortar store simply because of free shipping.
Using free shipping and sales strategies allows you to offer promotions via social media that will drive traffic to your storefront. The best part? These promotions are entirely free to your company.
Offer Accessibility Across Platforms
You may have noticed that millennials are glued to their devices in a way no other generation has been. Having grown up in a time of rapidly evolving technology geared toward the everyday consumer, they are quick to adapt their behaviors to devices that bring the most convenience to their daily lives.
If you want a piece of the ever-growing mobile commerce platform, it is vital to be accessible across all devices and platforms. Your challenge is to design user-friendly, consistent experiences for each platform. When your website is designed for optimum responsiveness and interaction, your site will be able to offer a shopping experience in the best resolution and layout possible for each particular device.
Optimizing your website and listings across all of your marketplaces is one of the most effective uses of your time and marketing resources. Focus on building an attractive, easy-to-navigate website and producing engaging mobile ads rather than competing with major e-commerce players to develop your own app.
Mobile advertising continues to grow faster than expected, largely at the expense of desktop ad revenue, which is flat-lining at a rapid pace. To properly monetize your mobile ads to capture a millennial audience, it is important to go beyond coupons to provide meaningful, tangible value. Mobile ads with an emotional connection and a sense of freedom will have a greater impact than your standard pop-up ad.
Mobile technology will continue to evolve, and millennials will be at the heart of the next movement. These digital pioneers have been the early adopters of every digital technology trend since the web was first created. Online retailers need to keep looking for methods to build trust, create emotional connections, and deliver both tangible and emotional value to this customer base.
This age group still has their prime earning years ahead of them. This should make millennials a worthwhile target for any e-commerce strategy. In terms of sustained returns, this demographic should warrant your full attention. Their impact on retail is not limited to what they actually purchase, but also how they will influence younger generations to follow their lead.
As a smart retailer, your marketing strategy for millennials should not only emphasize strong price promotions, but building brand loyalty through emotional connections with your audience. This tech-savvy group has the power to choose at their fingertips, and they plan to use it. Effective use of mobile advertising mediums is the key to making sure they choose to do business with you.
Ronald Dod is the Founder and Owner of Grey Umbrella Marketing, an internet marketing agency that focuses on Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing for eCommerce businesses. His passion is helping eCommerce business owners and marketing professionals navigate the SEO & Social Media landscape and put together a plan to increase the bottom line through new traffic and conversions. He holds a Masters in the Science of Marketing from Florida State University and is certified in Google Adwords & Analytics.