A few years ago, the word “millennial” would’ve stirred up conversations about how entitled, spoiled, and lazy this generation is.
However, now we have had time to see what millennials look like as contributing members of society, a lot of that negative attention has dissipated.
Now that millennials officially outnumber the Baby Boomer generation, and now that their buying power exceeds $600 billion every year, business owners recognize the impact this generation will have (and has) on their success. With that realization comes a need to drill down and understand what drives the millennial consumer.
For online retailers trying to make a serious dent in the millennial population, take heed now. For e-commerce, millennials differ greatly from previous generations. They are demanding a whole new experience from online shopping and are re-shaping the way online retailers do business.
The big expectations and small budgets of the millennial consumer
For e-commerce business owners, it is crucial that you understand what makes your millennial customers tick. You may be surprised that they want more than just a high-performing, mobile-friendly website to shop from.
Whether your business is brand new this year or you are looking to ramp up your efforts soon, your continued success depends on how well you can cater to this generation. Luckily for you, millennials are very transparent about what drives them to make purchases—and there are more than enough studies conducted each year to back up those facts:
Fact #1: Pricing matters. Millennials are a cost-conscious generation, and they know how to make always-on access to the Internet work in their favor.
What it means for you. Many millennials will not allow their loyalty to one brand keep them from buying the same product from someone else who offers it at a better price. 59 percent of millennials conduct simultaneous searches between competing websites to find the best deal. So before you go pricing out your inventory, be sure your prices are competitive.
Fact #2: Multi-channel access is a must. Millennials expect anytime, anywhere access to your business.
What it means for you. In store. On your website. Via a mobile app. Through social media. Millennials want you to be wherever they need you to be whenever they are ready to make a purchase. Not only that, 68 percent expect online retailers to provide a seamless and fully integrated experience regardless of channel.
Fact #3: Personalized deals encouraged. Millennials are not afraid to accept their thriftiness.
What it means for you. If you run an e-commerce store, then you have got to be prepared to crunch the numbers and figure out where and when you can afford to offer discounts on your merchandise. In fact, you might miss out on a huge opportunity if you are not already doing this, as 95 percent of millennials prefer to be wooed by online retailers through personalized deals.
Fact #4: Connect through email. Millennials love their smartphones, but that does not mean they have turned their backs on email.
What it means for you. According to CIO.com, Millennials still prefer email over other communication methods. That being said, 68 percent of emails get opened on mobile devices. So if you communicate with your customers via email, make sure your emails are responsive in design and can be read easily regardless of which computer or device they are viewed on.
Fact #5: Use videos for persuasion. Millennials do not want to have to work to learn about your product or how it works.
What it means for you. According to Dimitrios Kourtesis of Goodvidio, “About a third [of millennials] buy products directly because of watching product videos.” You have got to make the decision-making process as easy as possible for your customers—and video is an effective way to do that.
How the smart business owner caters to the millennial consumer
Currently, about 79 percent of millennials shop online. If your business’s share of millennial purchases does not quite align with industry expectations, then you have got to determine why your e-commerce site’s experience is not meeting their needs. Is your website not fast enough? Is the checkout process too complicated? Are the shipping and return fees too expensive? Are there not enough product details available?
If you want millennial customers to shop with you—and to continue shopping with you—you have to understand their motivations and be ready to shape the shopping experience around them.