Business branding for the digital generation is not an option; it is a necessity. Studies show that by 2020, people born between 1980 to 2000 will soon dominate the workforce with increased spending, projecting to $1.4 trillion annually in the United States alone. Also known as Millennials, these consumers represent 30 percent of total retail sales, paving the way to significant economic impact not only in the US, but even in the global market. However, despite this potential, very few companies formulate a digital strategy which aims to provide a more integrated and personalized buying experience that the millennial market needs. This week, let us explore who are the millennial shoppers and what are the industry proven practices that could bring companies to a competitive advantage.
Millennials shop in both online and physical stores
Contrary to the marketers’ assumption that online transactions mainly characterize millennial consumer behavior, studies show that these customers prefer shopping in physical stores. This market also prefers to touch, smell and pick-up items before they purchase. However, there is a caveat. Before the millennial buys, he or she does a lot of research online, comparing prices, reading reviews to find the best quality and value for money. Millennials are also known as omniscient shoppers, due to their vast product knowledge amassed before purchasing. As such, it is essential for companies as part of their business branding, to have a digital marketing strategy that focuses on building a robust online presence. Millennials typically use their phones to search, inquire and interact with websites, so having a mobile web version or an app is necessary for business branding.
Millennials require a customer-centric shopping experience
Millennial consumer behavior is also characterized by strong loyalty, provided that their overall shopping experience is tailored to their needs. This market is at ease when stores make them feel welcomed by knowing what they want and need, through constant personalized promotions and discounts. Loyalty programs are also a big deal to Millennials because this is where they are being courted and rewarded. In fact, 95 percent of Millennials wanted coupons sent to their homes and appreciates regular text messages alerting them to latest deals. Millennial business branding, therefore, necessitates a strategy that rewards tenure and constant purchase.
Millennials follow you on Facebook because of promos
Another trait of a millennial consumer behavior is their view of companies’ social media as purely transactional. This means that if a millennial follows a company’s Facebook page, it doesn’t necessarily imply that they are switching to be loyal and paying customers. This only means that by clicking the follow button, they think that they can get information about your sales and promos first. On the contrary, if a millennial did follow your company other than being a constant source of freebies, this means that they are emotionally moved by your content, enough to urge them click the follow button. It is important to note here that digital marketing for this consumer type must zoom in creating conversations. Social media content must be compelling enough to be shared amongst friends, demonstrating that they are the first in finding a great deal, content or a new “toy”.
Millennials value convenience and flexibility
Being somebody that has grown and matured with mobile technology, Millennials are used to buying things online through their phones and social media. This level of convenience and flexibility made this consumer group an avid user of self-checkout kiosks and advanced digital payment technologies. Millennials are also used to devices-switching: changing from their mobile phones, tablets, and laptops when browsing and purchasing. As such, to keep up with millennial consumer behavior, it is necessary for companies to consider the flexibility and ease of this fast-paced and continuously switching customer orientation.
Millennials crave for an integrated customer experience
Business branding for Millennials require a personalized experience that is consistent with every touch-point regardless of the location. This means that companies must customize services relative to their branch that is more fit to the profile and demands of the market that they are in. Having an integrated digital marketing strategy is also essential to have consistent communication across various channels. Whether customers are reaching out via a physical store, website or mobile application, an integrated business branding can pave the way to a consistent communication approach that can bring the same level of customer satisfaction across various market segments.
When companies fail to align their digital marketing strategy to millennial consumer behavior, they will be overgrown by their competitors. Meeting their needs is all about creating an interconnected digital strategy, providing consistent communication, personalized experiences, loyalty programs, and rewards. It is also equally necessary to establish a robust business branding suitable for mobile view, search and communications, as Millennials are primarily characterized by their tendency to utilize their phones for searching and purchasing for products online. Remember, Millennials value experience. Build your business branding around this principle, as Millennials build theirs around FOMO.