Being agile and staying on top of trends are two keys to selling to millennials. Well, those two things are key to selling in general, but millennials are early adopters of trends and, in the US, they’re the largest population segment with disposable income, so meeting their expectations is super important. Millennials are also the key demographic for Showpo, so we’re all about marketing to them effectively.
Here are Jane Lu’s five tips for understanding the mind of the millennial shopper:
1. Millennials don’t want to be part of a generational bucket: they expect more personalization
Millennials-and probably even more so, Gen Zers-increasingly expect to be treated as individuals, rather than as just part of a generational bucket. These customers want a personalized experience, and they’re gradually losing patience with irrelevant product and content. Artificial intelligence can help brands personalize the shopping experience for each customer, while also reducing friction. At Showpo, we achieve this through product recommendations, visual merchandising and our CRM system.
2. Millennials path to purchase is longer and more varied… as they engage with brands on multiple platforms
As companies develop smarter technology and the number of marketing touchpoints grows, the path to purchase for millennials is getting longer and more varied. So, it’s important to implement a strong multichannel e-commerce strategy to ensure your brand is highly visible throughout the millennial customer’s buying process.
Showpo is a pure-play online retailer, so achieving this isn’t as complex for us as it is for omnichannel brands with a physical presence. However, as a company that has been driven so much by social media, it’s paramount that we engage with customers and sell across multiple platforms. We know we need to interact with our customers between transactions, so we make sure we create engaging content that isn’t primarily sales-driven.
3. Millennials are the first to tell you when you’re doing something wrong, but they’re also your biggest advocates.
Millennials take the time to give feedback, whether it’s filling out surveys about products and content, reviewing products on company websites or external review sites, or even tapping on Instagram Stories Polls. They also engage with brands by tagging their friends on social media posts and sharing their favorite content. These shoppers are the first to tell you when you’re doing something wrong, and also your biggest advocates when they like what you’re doing.
4. These Shoppers want to buy from people, not companies
A report from BRANDfog found that when C-suite executives engage through social media, it makes their brand seem more honest and trustworthy. When engaging with customers, however, it’s really important to be authentic, because today’s savvy millennials quickly see through the BS.
More authentic marketing is one of the things that has helped Showpo build such a loyal and large community. Some examples of how we’re interacting with our customers include:
- Offering content for fashion lovers with all different types of bodies.
- Being open and candid about the business. For example, I share info about myself as the CEO through my Instagram account @thelazyceo.
- Using social media to address challenges we’ve faced.
5. Millennials are tuned in to influencers with serious loyal audiences
As I mentioned, shoppers trust people more than companies, which is why many influencers have seriously loyal audiences who watch and follow what they do, buy and wear. Influencers can open up your brand to a huge audience that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access, and you can build trust with that audience by leveraging an influencer’s’ own brand.
The tricky thing is that it’s hard to measure the direct impact of influencer marketing, because coupon codes linked to influencers’ posts don’t always appeal to shoppers and people generally don’t immediately purchase from a social media post. However, influencers can definitely help you build trust in your brand and generate more brand awareness. They can also help drive more traffic to your social channels and website, improve your website conversion rates, and lower the cost per acquisition of your paid advertising.
These trends are evident across all demographics, but as I said at the top, they’re most pronounced among the cashed-up early adopters who make up the millennial generation.