Posted by Fred Lizza, Dydacomp CEO
Millennials control 21 percent of consumer discretionary purchasing power in the US or $1.3 trillion, making them an audience that deserves recognition and attention. A recent survey conducted jointly by Merchant Warehouse and Retail Pro International identified a serious knowledge gap that exists between retailers and their millennial shoppers. Each generation has their own specific buying patterns and understanding their unique characteristics and purchasing behaviors creates business opportunities that give retailers a competitive advantage.
The millennials, or Generation Y, often forgo traditional marketing and do much of their shopping via the Internet from a wide variety of mobile devices. They are visual communicators who look for real life examples to show them the value of their investment and what their money buys them. Brand names are big with this group. So is having the latest technology. They are extremely connected and look to their contemporaries for approval. This group is attracted to the experience, value, cost, quality and service they can expect from a brand, product or company. Social media is the preferred channel for reaching this market. Key influencers for this group are online-savvy peers, the Internet, eCommerce, Reality TV and digital music.
With attitudes and behaviors shaped by technology and dramatic economic volatility, they are more conservative and share many characteristics of people who came of age during the great depression. Millennials are 2.5 times more likely than their predecessors to adopt new social, mobile and digital channels and they integrate technology into their customer experience. This is an important demographic for multi-channel retailers. Alexandra Frith, director of marketing at Retail Pro International comments, “The reality is that there just isn’t room for error; with so much competition – whether in-store or online – retailers can’t risk losing this important demographic.” Knowing how to better attract and engage this group should be an important part of your retail strategy.
According to the survey, millennials are information-seeking shoppers with 60 percent doing pre-purchase research through retailer websites. In addition, 53 percent stated that their shopping experiences are seamless across channels although they note that retailer sites often lack the extensive functionality they have come to expect. They are looking for what is known in today’s vernacular as an ‘omnichannel experience’ and retailers need to consider this to create a relationship with these shoppers.
In addition, millennials are the most multiculturally diverse group in the U.S. today. Brands that incorporate multicultural themes are winning with millennials as are those that effectively use social media channels to create inclusive communities. This enables millennials to connect with each other as well as develop stronger relationships with actual products and brands – a retailer’s goal.
Tapping in to generational nuances can help strengthen your marketing strategy. Staying on top of and utilizing what is current and trending for the millennial demographic will enable you to better connect with this target audience to increase brand loyalty along with your bottom line. Your order management system contains a wealth of information about your customers and, with an eye on strategic marketing, you can use the data to create targeted, effective campaigns to entice your Generation Y customers with promotions uniquely suited to them.
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 MillennialMarketing.com – March 21, 2014: The Optical Industry: 3 Tips to Consider When Marketing to Millennials
 MillennialMarketing.com – Millennials and Multicultural Marketing