Prominent research groups love to scrutinize Millennial culture. Millennials are the generation born between approximately 1980 and 2000. One important trend for retailers to note is: Millennials rely more on their smartphones for both online and in-store shopping than any other age group. Even more than teens!
Millennials already outnumber both Baby Boomers and Gen X. They have more disposable income than their parents and their spending amounts to more than 20% of consumer discretionary purchases (stuff that’s not rent, food, and gas). In the USA alone, that totals more than a whopping 1 trillion dollars. As Millennials get older they will have increasing purchasing power and influence on older generations.
What all this means for retailers is that mobile marketing is the path to Millennial wallets. Millennials are not called “Generation Mobile” for nothing! Today more than 80% of Millennials own a smart phone and those phones are almost always on. Millennials do most of their online browsing from their mobile devices, rather than from computers and more than 75% of Millennials shop with their mobile device while in a brick & mortar! Their smartphone is a trusted personal assistant for price and option shopping.
Millennials have different shopping habits and expectations than their baby boomer parents. Technological prowess isn’t the only difference that retailers need to consider. Here are five more:
1.Millennials want it now: no lines, no waiting; quick delivery, ease-of-use, easy returns. Millennials multitask. Their expectations are high. Their attention spans are short.
2.They are visual and find text to be impersonal and sluggish. Millennials want images and videos and Facebook’s recent purchase of Instagram shows that they like to share via image instead of writing about themselves. By posting creative product images and videos, retailers tell Millennials they are committed to them.
3.Traditional TV, radio and print advertising have much less influence on brands and trends than the opinions of Millennials’ peers. Millennials have been collaborating on social media since elementary school and word-of-mouth marketing is critical. Earned social media (as opposed to paid social media), and movie / music video product placements that generate conversation are more relevant. Millennials reward companies they like with good recommendations and they can also cripple products by broadcasting their bad experiences.
4. Millennials are very well- informed. Even a small purchase is researched online, with friends consulted via social media and online reviews considered. Clumsy sales or overpriced products won’t sell and in-store prices need to be competitive with online offers or the Millennial is out the door.
5.They are thrifty. Eight out of ten Millennials name themselves as value seekers. A deal needs to be really good before Millennials are tempted to part with coin. They like coupons: 36% use coupons to plan shopping; 70% say they have used a coupon from social media.
This is why Millennials love mobile shopping apps. Millennials spend a lot more time and money using mobile apps than teens and they have more influence on smartphone app development than any other age group. Apps are how retailers can offer customizable thrift, creativity and connectivity, all while streamlining the purchasing experience.
Research shows that mobile apps make Millennials much more likely to convert into buyers. Why? Here are six reasons:
1.Mobile apps can take the legwork out of price and option shopping by seamlessly integrating in-store and online products.
2.There is a strong relationship between mobile use and brand engagement. This means retailers who take advantage of mobile shopping apps create more loyal repeat customers.
3.Visual product recognition apps tap into Millennials’ preferred mode of communication, and foster social media buzz.
4.Mobile apps nurture direct engagement with a retailer, product or brand. This taps into Millennial need for authenticity and connection.
5.Mobile apps can capitalize on Millennial thriftiness by integrating retailers with popular coupon sites like Groupon. This attracts more online and in-store buyers.
6.Mobile apps can create conduits for Millennials to interact with their social networks and develop a conversation about their lives. For example, with AAA’s Triplespot app, users list their favourite travel spots and share their experiences with Facebook friends.
These are just a few ideas on how retailers can engage the Millennial generation using mobile app technology.