Millennials were born in the last 20 years of the 20th century, and are currently in high school, college and the early years of building careers, owning homes and raising families. Recently, they surpassed Baby Boomers as the largest generation currently living in the United States with 75.4 million people.
As consumers, Millennials are a significant force that’s only going to get stronger. According to Accenture, their purchases will represent 30 percent of all national retail sales in 2020 at $1.4 trillion. Interestingly, Accenture goes on to say that Millennials aren’t as different from earlier generations as we’ve been led to believe.
In this post, we’ll cover digital advertising and how it can be used to market to this often misunderstood and most sought after generation of consumers.
What Millennials Really Want from Retailers
Contrary to what you might glean from discussions about retail and marketing, Millennials are not just one persona type. These adults range in age from 18 to 35—a group of students, parents, skeptics and more who can’t be reached with one message.
However, there are some things they seem to desire across the board. The National Retail Federation sums up a mass of research in three areas, and retailers should pay attention:
1. Authentic Communication That’s not Pushy
Millennials want real communication with retailers, not generic sales speak that feels pushy. The skeptics out there must be appealed to with an authentic marketing strategy.
A 2014 study from NewsCred found that 31 percent of Millennials are more likely to purchase from brands that communicate with quality, valuable content. In fact, 30 percent refuse to read anything they see as the opposite. These consumers are experts at tuning out marketing that isn’t relative to them, so your content must be inspiring, educational or entertaining.
The most attractive content for Millennials is tailored to their:
• Cultural interests
Going further, Millennials don’t respond to ads the way earlier generations did, and prefer to initiate research on what they want to buy. Instead of relying on ads, they turn to trusted friends and family resources on their social networks (so Facebook is still a good platform for connecting with them).
2. Solid Mobile In-Store Experiences
Mobile is the most important channel for reaching Millennials, and it’s not just because of online, on-the-go shopping. Many young adults use their smartphones when shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, seeking information on the products in front of them.
Recently, we talked about showrooming and webrooming, which have shoppers using a combination of in-store and online experiences. If you create a seamless transition between the two, making it easier for consumers to learn and buy from you at any time, you’re more likely to nurture love for your brand.
According to reporting from eMarketer, 58 percent of surveyed retailers feel that in-store technology helps them gain new customers and hang on to existing ones. Forty-seven percent say it is a way to improve the customer experience. Look for ways to integrate it now and see what it can do for your brand.
3. The Ability to Buy without Interruption
Millennials expect convenience, and the ability to buy what they want without interruptions (think lengthy and inefficient check-outs, demands for extra personal information, etc.).
Facebook has a feature called the shop section that allows retailers who use Shopify to sell products directly from their Facebook pages. For customers, this means fewer clicks and no leaving the familiar Facebook environment. For advertisers, it’s a much better way to meet customers where they are, which, for Millennials, is the most popular social network.
While the other leading networks among Millennials aren’t to the advertising level of Facebook, Twitter does offer the Buy Now option for in-tweet purchases, and Pinterest has Buyable Pins to keep users on their boards.
Again, this is all about advertising to your customers where they are, and keeping the purchase process as simple as possible. For more on in-app advertising, mobile and Millennials, check out our recent post, on trends you need to know about in mobile apps and advertising.
I mentioned in the beginning that Accenture highlighted how Millennials aren’t really all that different from consumers of earlier generations. While they might be more accustomed to extensive yet tailored shopping experiences, the communication, information and efficiency are things that any shopper would enjoy.
The more you focus on creating excellent consumer experiences now, the more you’ll tap into the economic force that Millennials continue to be as we move into the 21st century.