Appealing to the younger generation of consumers can be a difficult task. Millennials, a term that someone who apparently is smarter than the rest of us has labeled those born between 1985-2000, can be a tough group to appeal to.
They don't trust big corporations, they want honesty from you, they love social media and new technology, and they are always looking for the hottest new trend. How do I know all this? Well, I just so happen to be one of those millennials.
You might be thinking to yourself, "But millennials are entitled and lazy! They don't want to shop at my business because they think they're better than me and what I have to offer!"
Nope, that's grossly mischaracterizing a large group of people. A vocal few might, just like any generation's outliers, but you shouldn't group an entire range of people into one stereotype. But having that kind of attitude about millennials is definitely something that's going to scare them away from ever buying from you.
So, what do you need to do to attract a younger crowd to your store, and ensure that you have a great business for generations to come? Check out these few simple tips.
As a millennial, I use social media like it's a lifeline connected directly to my beating heart. I have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, etc. I use these social media platforms to follow my favorite brands and products. And when someone I follow recommends a product I almost always look into the product to see if it's something I would like to purchase.
This kind of buying is backed up by a Kissmetrics study that found 93 percent of millennials have made a purchase based on recommendations from family and friends.
Social media is also good for customer service. Do you have customers with comments or complaints (rhetorical question)? With social media, they can send you a direct message, that can be answered immediately by you or one of your employees. This gives consumers the answers they need in a more immediate and proficient way.
Millennials can sniff out BS from a mile away. If you're coming off as an inauthentic company, your customers are going to know it. They don't want to be bombarded with your products through billboards, stiff and out-of-touch commercials, and advertisements that try too hard to be "cool."
We like creative advertisements, like funny videos, real facts about your product and those who think outside of the box of traditional advertising. Approximately 84 percent of millennials don't trust traditional advertising. With that high of a number, don't you think it's about time you dust off your thinking cap and come up with a fresh and original ad idea?
I love new technology. I got excited anytime I see news for new smartphones, tablets, computers, apps, gaming systems, wearables, and VR (virtual reality) technology. Companies know this as well, and that's why they've started latching on to new tech as soon as it's made available to a mass market.
Take VR for example. From the time that the Oculus and HTC Vive were released to consumers in early 2016 to now, brands have been creatively utilizing VR tech in their marketing strategies. Theme park Alton Towers released a VR version of one of their roller coasters, The New York Times gave away 1,000,000 Google Cardboard devices to lucky subscribers to promote its VR app, and you can even take virtual tours of destinations like Buckingham Palace.
If you want to stay ahead of your competition, be sure to stay updated with where technology is going, because it's changing faster than it ever has before!
Millennials are very passionate about helping certain causes. Whether it's a charity or non-profit organization, we're much more charitable with your finances than you might assume.
Try taking up a good cause to support, such as the local animal shelter if your sell pet products, or supporting homeless shelters or food banks if you manufacture and sell a certain food product.
When people see that you care about something more than just making a profit, they're more likely to see you as an authentic company, and won't mind using their hard-earned money to purchase from you.
Have you thought about going green, all-natural, organic, or Fair Trade only? These aren't just hipster terms that people in San Francisco, New York, and LA use to make themselves seem cooler than the rest of the country (sidenote: maybe they are cooler though?) It's something that a lot of people from my generation are really concerned about.
We're tired of being fed artificial ingredients, made across the country in factories where employees make pennies for their work, and where farmers and suppliers are given unfair trade deals for the products they work tirelessly for greedy corporations to exploit.
Besides the moral inspiration for going green, a lot of people also suffer from food allergies and health conditions, such as gluten intolerance, food dye allergies, GMO health concerns, and others. By making sure you're providing your customers with the healthiest option, you're including, rather than excluding, more people, which in turn will increase your sales numbers.
Appealing to the millennial generation isn't hard if you're willing to make a few changes in the way you market to your consumers. When you do find the right formula for attracting them, you'll find that millennials are very loyal defenders of their favorite brands and products!
Contributor Caleb Hennington is a 24-year-old writer, who manages the Atwill Media and FGmarket blogs. He graduated from Arkansas State University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in journalism.
When not writing, Caleb enjoys camping, running, collecting comic books, and binge-watching shows on Netflix.