A lot has been written and spoken about the Millennials – about their habits, their likes and dislikes, and how they’ve changed our world forever. But, how much of what has been said about them is actually true? Are they – as we think – a generation that’s forever wired or do they share any similarities with the previous generations too? This blog post is my attempt to demystify certain myths surrounding the Millennials, especially for the Retailers. After all, if they are the ones changing the face of shopping (they account for shopping worth $600 billion in the USA alone1), we need to know exactly what they are looking for.

Millennials – said to comprise of individuals born anywhere between the age group of 18 to 35 – have sensitised companies into overhauling their employee policies, they’ve pushed governments to be answerable and responsible, their desire for flexibility to switch jobs has empowered freelancers, their demand for quality at low prices has fuelled the growth of the shared economy, their yearning for experiences has seen brands do wonders, and most importantly their approach has paved the way for newer, friendlier companies. How can then such a generation be detrimental to Retailers, when they are helping improve almost every walk of life? The truth is that it’s not. A quick read through the facts below will break all the stereotypes about their shopping behavior.  

That said, you can rest assured now that you need not give up on all that you’ve learned so far. All you need to do is adapt and evolve, so as to stay relevant and maximize your profits. The next question you probably have is ‘where should I begin?’. To that end, let me share a few more facts about the Millennials.

  • They hate hard-selling advertisements
  • They trust transparent talk over the fluffy words of celebrities
  • They cannot let go of their smartphones
  • They are forever active on social media
  • They love apps and tech-powered experiences

Now that you know what they are, where they are, and what they like; building an online presence is certainly the logical first step. A study by Yahoo and Tumblr, in partnership with Razorfish and Digitas, shows that 55% of Millennials watch videos several times a day on different devices, and 72% want to connect to news across all devices. The next step is to engage them in ways that bring them to your store, and lastly, ensure they don’t regret the decision. And how does one do that?

Take Walmart for example. The world’s biggest retailer has been testing a ‘Scan and Go’ app5 for a few years now. The app, once launched, will enable customers to scan their items as they shop and compare the product features and prices against other providers online. Tesco, the British multinational, developed an endless virtual aisle that lets one view all products at once and a virtual mirror that overlays a digital image on top of a mirror allowing the customer to see how clothing fits. Bourbon, India’s most loved chocolate biscuit at a time regained its lost charm with a social media campaign that attributed benefits of a smartphone to the biscuit. The campaign showed the biscuit with features such as power pack, friend finder, auto charge, etc. – all described as a humane reason to buy the product5.

As I see it, there is no fool-proof marketing blueprint that can map out the way forward for Retailers, but certainly, there are some fundamentals that one can begin with and find their way forward through committed research, experimentation, and effort. I’d like to conclude by sharing these very fundamentals that will help you kickstart your journey to engaging the Millennials.

  • Keep it simple. Millennials prefer language that is simple, comprehensible, and friendly.
  • Ensure a customer’s shopping journey is simple and minimal.
  • Be innovative. Engage your audience with innovative online campaigns. Employ new technology and out-of-the-box ideas to create an enviable in-store shopping experience.
  • Be where they are. The Millennials are constantly wired and can be found on several popular social platforms. Make sure you build an active and engaging presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.

_______________________________________________________________________

Sources:

  1. Accenture
  2. Entrepreneur | Medium, Honigman Media
  3. Nurun.com
  4. Honigman Media
  5. Lighthouse Insights

Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed here represent my own and not those of my employer.