Be Authentic: Understand the Digital Minds of Millennial Shoppers

- 18th Jan 2017

The millennial generation boasts of an astronomical sum of purchasing prowess with their minds focused on stacking up experiences rather than their closets.  This might sound alarming to retailers, but that’s the millennial for you.

How would you convince a digital generation to adopt a retail experience? It is rather complicated to answer this without making an attempt to understand this generation and their values, experiences and mindsets. A 2016 Deloittle Millennial Survey revealed this generation’s “personal values have the greatest influence on their decision making.” Let’s get into the mind of a millennial.

The Trillion Dollar Generation

So why has the millennial caught the attention of the whole world? In particular, marketers and retailers seem to be constantly intrigued by this whopping demographic, which recently surpassed their parents’ generation, the Baby Boomers, to become the largest living generation in the US.

Certainly, it is an enormous segment comprising of 80 million Americans alone, that is, 25% of the population, but what truly makes it a force of reckoning is their purchasing power of $200 billion! The generation is expected to touch a mark of $10 trillion in their lifespan as consumers, and this is just the US market we are talking about.

Evidently, the millennial owns, quite literally, all the attention they get. But, as commercially lucrative as it may appear on the forefront, the millennial economy has a flip side to it.

The Millennial Dilemma

Companies have struggled big time to try to connect with this generation. Their advertising strategies met with little success and mostly failed to captivate this enigmatic bunch of people.

So how does your brand create a voice that resonates with the millennial persona? How do you impress and influence them with your advertising How do you get the digitally connected millennials to frequent the physical stores, something of which has been more in sync with the previous generation? And most importantly, how do you cater to the millennial who is vociferously inclined on nurturing experiences rather than materials.

Into the Digital Mind of a Millennial

This generation is as diverse in its composition as in its attributes. They comprise of different personas exhibiting diametrically opposite characteristics with an élan. That is to say; they are a generation of aggressive gamers, competitive winners and laid-back convenience seekers.

The polarity in the behavior of the millennial can be attributed to the paradigm shift this generation experienced in their culture, technology, and economy. They were the first to witness digitalization making inroads in our lives; the computers, E-mails, smartphones, messaging apps, Wi-Fi. Millennials saw a drastic transition from a physical landscape to digital and felt the economic slowdown of 2008 as well. This is often misconstrued as millennials being elusive, difficult to impress, and having zero brand loyalty. But quite contrary to this misconception, millennials are highly educated, career-driven, sensitive, and politically aware. They value brands, care about your values as a company and most importantly, they will reciprocate if you can connect right. But how do you connect with a skeptic, yet misunderstood generation?

Repackage Retail as an Experience

Retailers need to acknowledge that this is the generation who believes that “life experiences outweigh materials”. It’s time retailers reposition their stores as live experience destinations and make shopping desirable to this generation. A personalized experience will help motivate this adventure seeking generation to step into your physical space. The prospect of sharing a great experience on social media also gives this media-savvy digital generation another strong reason to step out of their homes.

Personalization is Key

Consequently, convenience and personalization assume a larger role in an attempt to provide a wholesome experience. Millennials are candid in sharing their personal information which in turn can help marketers get insights into what delights and thrills their buyers. At this crucial stage, marketers can make use of proximity marketing, technologies, and platforms which provide vital contextual intelligence and analytics to help you design a customized experience for your customers. Enterprise location based services provide you with real-time customer data and analytics so that you can approach millennials in the most authentic way possible.

Engage Authentically

This generation is high on research and clear in their purchasing intent. They scroll through reviews, compare prices, and search for the best deals before making a decision. These aggressive shoppers do not get carried away easily by branded advertisements. A report by AIMIA said 57% of millennials compare prices when in-store. To impress them, marketers must be authentic in communicating brand values. Initiate a conversation and nurture the relationship across the consumer journey, but it’s important to steer away from being too aggressive. A NewsCred study revealed 31% of millennials would usually buy if they find your communication authentic and truthful.

Convenience, Connectivity, Coupons 

For millennials, convenience and connectivity ride high in their minds. They are turning to brands that can offer them maximum convenience at the lowest cost. Two in three millennials regularly use smartphone apps to shop in-store. It’s critical for retail stores to leverage in-store technologies to provide convenience, connectivity and coupons to the millennials. The location-based technologies like Beacon, Wi-Fi, proximity platforms, and location-based mobile engagements help enterprises compete with their online counterparts, while giving millennials what they seek: seamless and enhanced connectivity, great offers on brands, and an uninterrupted shopping experience.

A New Approach to Brand Loyalty

Millennials as a generation is quite exuberant about the loyalty programs. They are interested in loyalty programs and are even ready to pay a premium to receive it. A study by Bond Loyalty revealed 68% of millennials are willing to change where they shop for more rewards points. So how do you make your loyalty programs effective and stop millennials from switching brands?

Most importantly, the brand should reflect their fun-loving, adventurous, and socially conscious personality. 90% of millennials would readily associate with a company that supports their cause. As a value seeking generation, they expect loyalty programs to add real value and not just a frill to their shopping cart. Start the conversation because millennials have opinions and they want their feedback to be heard. They appreciate a relationship that provides two-way communication rather than being a mute buyer.

Learn how to start a connection and meet the needs of a millennial with proximity marketing. Click below to request a demo.