Millennials have become the largest segment of our population and have been challenging the previous generations across all industries, including retail. They are the first to grow up with computers in their homes and mobile devices in their pockets. More questioning and savvy, they use their devices to meet all their needs, especially shopping.
Finding the right medium to reach them
While most companies still invest heavily in traditional marketing channels (TV, Radio, Print…), the fact is these channels are almost completely ineffective for millennials as the great majority avoid these mediums in favor of other, less ad loaded channels.
Millennials use their handhelds to interact with the world, including social, entertainment, research and buying activities. They prefer to get their entertainment online, forgoing cable TV in favor of streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, etc. They do this to avoid all the advertising and to be able to watch their favorite shows, several episodes (sometimes even several seasons) at a time. They like to be in control of what they watch, when they watch it and how much they watch it.
The same applies to radio and print media, FM radio has been replaced by music apps that allow for playlist creation and have very limited advertising, whereas the print media has been almost completely replaced by digital books and magazines. Gone are the days of print magazine and newspaper subscriptions, at least among millennials.
The best way to reach the millennial audience is to engage them in the environments that they inhabit, both online and physical. The ideal way of doing it would be to have presence across the different channels, while tracking their preferences and purchases so that offers and promotions can be personalized and targeted. Omni-Channel does just that, allowing you to track behavior, control all promotions and synchronize all inventory across all channels through a single dashboard!
Sell without making them feel like they are being sold to
Millennials hate the feeling that they get when someone is being pushy, using words like “buy now”, creating a false sense of urgency and any other cliché sales tactic. Traditional sales tactics go out the window as far as millennials are concerned. They want to make their own decisions based on facts and peer reviews as they can see right through traditional sales pitches and advertising. They only get annoyed if approached in the old-fashioned way.
To overcome this challenge retailers should take advantage of the latest technology in digital advertising, targeted and re-targeted Ads. When used in combination with business intelligence, this type of advertising can be very effective at attracting millennials. This can be done by creating customized ads based on previous consumer behavior, which look more like suggestions than plain old “buy now” ads. Business intelligence is a very important factor to any company, specially one in the retail industry. The more you know about your customers and prospects, the better you can tailor your offering, increasing your chances of not only getting the sale but to have repeat business.
Getting their attention
In this day and age advertising is everywhere, making it very difficult to stand out from the retail crowd. It is that much harder to get the attention of the millennial consumers. Something creative and unique is needed to get and hold their attention. Augmented Reality (AR), targeted ads, product customization, beacon technology and geo-fencing are all good ways to stand out and get them engaged, the first and most important step in securing their business.
As the time goes by we will see an increase in the purchasing power of the millennial generation, as well as an increase in the number of ways to make a convenient purchase, just take a look at this Forbes article on how Millennials are changing retail patterns. If a retail company wants to survive into the foreseeable future, it will have to adapt and keep up with the ever-changing market and consumer expectations.