Millennial Shopping Trends to Watch
Contributed by Jennifer Pollock of Square.
How do you make your business appealing to 18 to 34-year olds? It’s something to give some serious thought. Millennials will spend $200 billion annually starting in 2017, and $10 trillion over their lifetime.
The generation moves quick—and to keep up, you’ll need to continually make sure that everything from your marketing efforts to your pricing strategy is in line with what they’re looking for. At the moment, here are some top millennial shopping trends, as well as tips on how your business can adapt to stay relevant.
They’re shopping in stores.
You might think that millennials are eschewing in-store shopping and instead purchasing everything online. However, data says otherwise. An Accenture study found that the generation prefers to shop in brick and mortars, where they can touch and feel products IRL (in real life) before they decide to buy them.
But nine in 10 shoppers know what they want to buy before they arrive at the store. That means if they don’t see the same item in your shop that they saw online, they’re going to be disappointed (and you’re going to miss a sale). Make sure you have the same products in stock in your brick-and-mortar as you do online, and that the price points are consistent.
Mobile, mobile, mobile.
Not breaking news: millennials are glued to their mobile devices. A report found that one in five millennials relies exclusively on smartphones and tablets to get online. That means that a mobile-optimized online store is no longer just a nice-to-have, it’s essential to bring in sales from this demographic.
Your brick-and-mortar should also be optimized with mobile in mind. This is especially true when it comes to being able to accept NFC “contactless” payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay. A recent Accenture survey found that 23 percent of millennials use contactless payments at least once a week. And at the Coachella music festival this year, more than 10 percent of all card transactions on Square’s new readers were contactless. To provide the convenient customer experience that this demographic will soon come to expect, thinking mobile first is mission critical.
They’re into loyalty programs.
In a survey by Bond Brand Loyalty, 68 percent of 20- to 34-year-olds said they would change where they shopped if it meant getting more rewards. And one-third reported buying something they didn’t necessarily want, just to earn some points. Loyalty programs that offer free shipping may be particularly effective. Of millennials surveyed in a recent report by LoyaltyOne, most said they value free shipping as a benefit of loyalty programs. If you don’t have a loyalty or rewards program, it’s worth investing in one—it’s definitely low-hanging fruit when it comes to appealing to millennials.
They’re extremely price savvy.
Millennials do their pricing research. Forty-one percent of respondents in the Accenture study said that more often than they did a year ago, they “shop around” for the same product at a cheaper price at other retailers before deciding to buy something. And with the increased usage of mobile phones, they’re price comparing online even when they’re in-stores. To stay competitive, you need to offer competitive pricing or more value than what shoppers can find at other retailers (even Amazon). You might consider offering a discount for in-store pickup, so customers can save on the shipping fees that may be associated with shopping at other retailers. Eighty-eight percent of millennials say they would consider buying online and picking up in store to save $10 on a $50 item.
They’re influenced by social media endorsements.
Keeping social accounts updated, relevant, and engaging is now crucial for any business. But even that may not be enough to cut through the noise. Studies have found that millennials trust expert opinions from “strangers” over brands (and even their friends) when it comes to making purchasing decisions. Toward that end, businesses should consider social partnerships with influencers or experts in their space.
They seek out pleasant shopping environments.
According to a recent report by Cassandra, an organization that studies millennial trends, millennials are particular about what types of environments they prefer to shop in. Seventy percent of millennials surveyed said they disliked loud and busy stores and instead gravitate toward more calming, unfrenzied environments.
Learn More About Square…
Square creates tools that help sellers of all sizes start, run, and grow their businesses. The new Square reader accepts all forms of payment, including EMV chip cards and NFC mobile payments like Apple Pay.