Millennials, born between 1981 and 1997, now number greater than 75 million and have become the largest living population, according to recent estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Needless to say, they are a very important retail segment.
Retailers need to pay special attention to this group and even consider new marketing tactics as millennials differ quite a bit from prior generations in terms of making purchase decisions and developing brand loyalties.
Research from Vantiv gives some insight into what millennials look for in a retail experience. Here are a few tips to start building relationships with and selling to this important demographic.
A great mobile experience
Millennials love their mobile phones and use them often to access websites, so a retailer's mobile site needs to provide a great online experience. This means it must be designed for mobile use and not just be a scaled down version of the desktop website.
The mobile site should be a great representation of a company's branding and image and include product descriptions, photos and reviews, as well as store location maps and more. Mobile sites also it easy and secure for users to search for, evaluate and buy products.
Embrace mobile payments
As early adopters of technology, millennials have been among the first to embrace the use of mobile payments such as Apple Pay, Android Pay and Samsung Pay. These contactless methods of purchasing in-store are fast and convenient, and very secure. Use of mobile payments is growing rapidly, and the advent of wearable technology and increased marketing of acceptance by retailers ensures that growth will continue.
Keep in mind, millennials often judge a company by how it uses technology such as mobile payments and look down on those that aren't up to date.
Make sure payments are easy in-store, as well
There are a number of advances in how retailers are able to process transactions and millennials expect them all. This includes the aforementioned mobile payments, along with newer terminals that speed up the transaction and even the ability to take payments on a mobile device anywhere in-store.
Ship it fast and free
Millennials know what they want and they want it fast. And shipped for free. They have grown accustomed to rapid shipping options -- which is why same day delivery is becoming more popular --- as well as having the shipping fees waived.
This can strongly influence a purchase decision between two businesses offering the same or similar products.
Deals are crucial to millennials
Who doesn't like a good deal? Turns out millennials love a good deal and will search long and hard to find one. That's why coupons are still a very important tool in the retail sales strategy. And coupons that are customized based on a Millennial's shopping history or interests are even better. Of course, coupons must be redeemable both online and as a digital image on their mobile device in-store.
Retailers are also finding success utilizing iBeacon and other geolocation technologies which can deliver special deals when customers are near their store and most likely to buy.
Make shopping in-person and online a seamless experience
The buzzword is omnicommerce, which refers to a seamless customer shopping experience across all sales channels, whether in-store or online.
This can include making it possible for customers to create a shopping list online and find out if a product is available at a local store, as well as offering product suggestions based on customers' current searches and past purchases.
Omnicommerce has become a key tool in developing customer relationships and an evolving strategy all smart retailers are going to want to implement.
Let them get to know your products online
Smart websites allow customers to truly understand the products they are interested in buying. This includes quality images, clear explanations of specifications and efficient ways to navigate the site.
Customer reviews are also important, both positive and negative. Showing negative comments gives you the opportunity to show how well you respond to customer concerns.
As the largest segment of the population, millennials are an extremely important group for retailers to consider when developing marketing and selling strategies. This is especially true since Millennials have some unique shopping characteristics. With the right strategies, retailers can rapidly grow their sales and loyal customer base.