The World Wide Web is driving businesses these days. There aren’t any companies in the globe that do not have an online presence. In this highly competitive world, it is paramount to invest in the internet for your business. Reaching the customer is far easier online than offline. 90% of online users constitute of millennials. They are people born between the early 1980s and 2000. According to Accenture, these 30-somethings, 20-somethings and teens are spending some $600 billion annually. So how can your ecommerce business capture some of that billion-dollar millennial spend? And what is the best way to reach, or target, this highly social, highly mobile, digital generation?
- Personalize the shopping experience – Millennials love to be involved with a brand. Interacting directly with them via name, live chat, email, etc. ensures that they remain loyal to the brand. The key is to build interactions that capture their attention in a human way.
For example, data from GameStop’s PowerUp Rewards loyalty program helps personalize the shopping experience down to the individual to understand millennials’ interests and how they prefer to engage. Information the company gathered from its loyalty program showed that 80 percent of GameStop customers visit a physical store to purchase a product seen online. So GameStop developed ‘pick-up at store’ and ‘Web-in-store’ programs, which allow customers to purchase products online while in the store and determine when they can pick up their purchase at the store.
- Incorporate and promote user-generated content (UGC) – “Given millennials’ penchant for posting their opinions publicly, consumer-generated content is increasingly a factor in their decision-making process – [with] 54 percent of shoppers between the ages of 25-34 cit[ing] consumer-generated content as having some influence on their in-store purchase,” says Sara Spivey, CMO, Bazaarvoice. “Add to that the fact that millennials spend nearly five hours per day with consumer-generated content (CGC), [and] there is an incredible opportunity for brands to get in front of this audience. Those who embrace CGC increase the potential to convert millennial consumers.”
- Create and share videos – Sharing is the way nowadays to quickly spread word about anything and everything. Sites like YouTube, Snapchat and Vimeo have paved the way for companies to approach the customer in a different way. Focusing on short, engaging videos has certainly become the norm for millennials.
Millennials are more likely to watch videos while shopping online before they decide if a product is a good buy. And about a third buys products directly as a result of watching product videos.
- Leverage social media. “Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube, this is where millennials are spending their time,” says Mike Satterfield, creative director, Satterfield Group. When they need information about a particular product or service, they turn to social media to see what other users have to say about it. And while it’s important to not turn your social pages into static ads for your products or services, using them more as interactive ways to engage with followers, don’t discount social media advertising.
“With one of our clients, we’ve seen great success by marketing to millennials through Facebook and Instagram advertising,” says Brian Stumbaugh, digital marketing manager, The Startup Garage. “These are particularly successful channels because we can segment different target groups by age and interests, which allows us to create ads specifically for them on the platforms they use most frequently.”
- Utilize influencers – “Tapping influencers – or social media users with a large following and expertise on a certain topic – is a great way for brands to market to millennials,” says Brendan Lattrell, founder & CEO, Grapevine. If David Beckham or Lebron James posts an image of the latest Nike shoes in their Instagram profile, millennial sit up and take notice. “This is especially effective considering that 70 percent of this demographic values endorsement from influencers that they consider peers vs. celebrities, according to a recent Collective Bias report. Fortunately for brands, there are plenty of social influencer marketing platforms and social listening tools available to help hone in on the right influencer for a particular campaign.”
- Embrace text messaging – Texting consumers about product offers and services is a way to keep their interest in the brand. “Got text? Some of the top retail brands (Express, for example) do, and it’s driving revenue through the roof,” says Danica Jones, marketing manager at ConsumerAffairs.com.
- Don’t forget about email – “Despite conflicting reports that email is dying, especially among younger generations, the truth is that millennials aren’t ditching email,” says Marie Homne, senior marketing strategist at Yesmail. “Email is a simple and effective technique to reach millennials because they can easily view it on their smartphones.”
“Despite the rise of social media, email is still the best way to connect with millennials,” says Dan Buckstaff, vice president of Marketing, Jetlore. However, “with 68 percent of email opens now done on a mobile device, it’s critical to provide fresh and relevant emails that capitalize on mobile’s limited real estate.”
- Reward millennial customers for their loyalty – Everyone likes a reward, especially millennials. Cashback offers, free tickets, bonus points, etc. hold a lot of swag with them and they welcome them with open arms. This increases the value of the brand in the eyes of the customer.