How Retailers can Appeal to Millennials

Millennials: the hot topic that everyone is talking about. The widespread classification of Millennial (also known as Generation Y) includes people born from 1980 to 2000, and by 2020 they will have more spending power than any other generation. Born into an era of technology, they are dubbed as digital natives, some even say digital addicts, and the role that technology plays in their lives is indisputable. With more access to information and communication than ever before, their consumer habits differ greatly from the generations that precede them and as a result, businesses need to appeal to Millennials differently.

Move Away from Traditional Marketing, Build a Presence on Social Media

Millennials watch less TV then Gen X, they read less than Gen X, and they’re equipped with an average attention span of only 8 seconds – which equates to the memory of a goldfish. As such, Millennials typically like their content in small doses and instead of referring to advertising, they gravitate towards products & services recommended by respected peers.

Only 1% of Millennials pay attention to advertising but they spend an average of 5.4 hours a day on social media, and 71% engage in social media daily. Social media is the primary source where Millennials discover products and promotions, not through traditional marketing, making it essential for retailers to have a strong presence on social media channels. They trust their peers, so having an influencer (someone with a strong following on social media) endorse your products or brand will go a long way in appealing to Millennials.

Create a Personalized Shopping Experience to Earn Millennial Loyalty

According to KPMG, Millennials consume differently than Gen X; they don’t just want to know how great a product is, they want to feel like a product or service has been designed and created specifically for them. Additionally, Millennials are much less likely to be loyal to a brand than Gen X, but they seek low prices and good deals so they embrace loyalty programs. As high as 69% of Millennials belong to a retail loyalty program and 70% belonging to loyalty programs said they were happy with them.

The key to creating a loyalty program that Millennials want to be a part of is determining their buying habits and interests. Point of Sale (POS) systems are much more than just a tool to process payments. Advanced POS system, like InfoPOS, will create customer profiles based on the customer’s purchasing habits, trends and preferences. This data can then be used to create customized promotions and loyalty programs, providing customers with a personalized shopping experience to keep them engaged and make their buying experience feel unique – which is exactly what Millennials crave.

Integrated Ecommerce

Not only do Millennials discover most of the products and brands they’re interested in online, but they also like to research their products online before purchasing, regardless of whether they plan to make the purchase online or in-store. If retailers want to stay relevant to Millennials they must have a webstore, including customer reviews and providing product availability for the webstore and in-store locations. Accenture reported that an average of 89% of Millennials said having access to real-time product availability information would influence their shopping choices.

Building a webstore can seem like a daunting task, but many POS solutions offer eCommerce modules that make it easy to build a webstore that integrates with your POS and (if retailers have it) Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software. It comes as no surprise that smartphones are the main device Millennials use to connect to the internet (89%), so it is also important for webstores to be mobile friendly.

Integrate Technology into Shopping Experience

Around 45% of Millennials spend at least one hour browsing webstores and reading product reviews every day, so when they visit in-store locations they generally have a good idea of what they’re looking for and don’t want to wait in long lines. Instead of going the traditional route of having your POS system behind the counter, you can incorporate your POS system into your customers shopping experience by setting up self-checkout kiosks around the store. This is a convenient option that will reduce checkout wait times and self-checkout kiosks can also have the added benefit of doubling as interactive digital displays. Alternatively, you can supply your employees with tablets so they can bring the POS system to your customers around the store, which is an approach that was popularized by Apple and there’s no denying that it’s worked for them!

When it comes to Millennials, technology is your biggest ally. You can reach them through social media and give them the product information they’re looking for on your webstore so they don’t purchase elsewhere. You can keep them engaged by providing them through a personalized loyalty program with the customer sales data collected from your Point of Sale system, and keep them satisfied at in-store locations with modern & convenient POS systems. When it comes down to it, Millennials aren’t complicated, you just need to know how to speak their language and appeal to their way of consuming.

Retail PWC Global Retail Survey 2016