Many small business owners today are faced with the dilemma of attracting and retaining millennial customers. Millennials are the younger crowd and those up to age 34, who are considered to be the biggest consumers in 2017, as they are estimated to spend $200 billion dollars.
If that’s not the only reason for small business owners to focus on this target market, they should also consider the fact that millennials the future of the consumer industry, and are entering their prime earning and spending years as they get married, buy homes and start families.
However, if you think that you can market your product or service to millennials the same way that you have marketed it in the past, you are mistaken. Millennial customers have a very different set of requirements for evaluating potential purchases than their parents and grandparents.
As a whole, they are less price-conscious and more brand-loyal than other age groups. Likely to become frequent shoppers, they are willing to spend money on businesses and brans they become loyal to – so how can you get your hands on these valuable customers? We share five must do’s for attracting the millennial customer:
1. Create value through relationships and stories
Millennials want to relate to the brands they use more than ever. So that means that businesses need to create compelling stories and relationships with this group. How can you do that?
- Create engaging content: You are likely to attract their attention by sharing content that will land them on your website or social media pages. Other than creating a website, you can court them on social media with a lot of unique and entertaining content that relates to your core product/service such as posting conversation pieces, interactive games, activities, contests and great stories – all of which they will want to share with their circle. The relationship must come before the sale. If you push sales first, you will lose.
- Listen more than you talk: Make sure if you do engage in conversation with the millennials, you are listening more than you are talking. Social media is a great way to listen to what they have to say about your brand/product and look for cue’s to gather their interest. Ask them what they want and need, and you will get responses. We have become so accustomed to telling consumers what they should want and need in our marketing –– we need to start asking rather than telling.
- Share your personal stories: Millennials want to have a personal relationship with the companies they do business with. If they get to know your team as real humans who have fun at work, who both play and work together, who have pets and hobbies, then they will develop that needed personal connection with your brand.
2. Incorporate technology into every aspect of your business
There’s no doubt that millennials are the first truly tech-savvy customer group, so you need to make use of this. If you have not adapted your site for mobile devices, then you are already in the dust. Millennials’ devices are not PC’s or laptops – they are tablets and phones. If your site is not easy to load and navigate on mobile devices, you will not get any part of that $200 billion.
Also, millennials are more comfortable storing their payment information on a mobile device than other generations. To prepare for the near future, consider upgrading your POS system to handle near-field communication (NFC) contactless payment options such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet — especially if you have a lot of early adopters among your millennial customers.
Also, if you have a brick-and-mortar business and want to attract milennials to your store, offer free wi-fi. A whopping 80 percent of millennials use their mobile devices in-store to research products and compare prices — more than any other age group. They also rely more on peer reviews online while shopping in-store, and they’re likely to get their friends’ advice on purchases by sending product photos.
3. Be socially responsible
Millennials know that they are inheriting a world that has lots of problems. So they are more atuned to doing businesses with companies that play a vital role in saving the planet. Businesses must adapt to this demand of their biggest customer group, which is likely to help them attract the customers they are looking for. If you go “green” by installing solar panels, advertise this profusely all over social media and on your website. A competitor may undercut your price, but if you are the more “responsible” organization, you will get the business.
Also, businesses can show their social responsiveness by supporting humanitiarin causes. Millennial customers love doing business with companies that engage in charitable work or activity. So pick a cause that you want to support locally or globally, and tie in donations to the products/services you are selling.
Millennial customers are not the only customer group to embrace online relationships and digital technologies – future generations are likely to be more tech-savvy and demanding when it comes to digital shopping experiences. Smart business owners should invest their time and strategies to shaping their business to adapt to the consumer-driven economy.