Delivering What Millennials Want from Your Online Business

Delivering What Millennials Want from Your Online Business

Unless you’ve spent the past two years hiding under a rock, you probably already know a few things about millennials. Politicians need them to vote, the entertainment industry wants them to watch movies and stream shows on Netflix, and e-commerce sites expect them to pick up their favorite products, chat, tweet, like and share with all their friends and followers.

Millennials, considered to be in their early twenties to mid-30s, are the oldest and most influential living generation, outpacing the baby boomers in size; Millennials represent 25 percent of the US population.

This generation has also suffered from some degrading labels, such as laziness, underemployment, lack of respect, self-centeredness, and demanding. Research paints a different picture. This is not a generation of lazy people, but they do have definite expectations from brands and spend a lot of time on social media sharing their opinions and experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly! They’re also a kind of instant gratification for consumers – which means they don’t want to wait.

Online business is well suited for this consumer. Not to mention that millennials will be spending $200 billion annually by 2017, and a whopping $10 trillion over their lifetime. This purchasing power makes millennials a sought-after niche consumer. When targeting this influencer generation of shoppers, here are some important traits to consider:

Required Self-Service Options: As an online business, you want to provide excellent customer service, but millennials don’t want that or anything else that disrupts the buying process. This generation wants to decide when and how they need help when buying online (or offline).

It’s all about the journey: Millennials focus on the experience that comes with everything they do, whether it’s shopping, dining, or traveling. When meeting this niche, you will likely earn the loyalty of these online shoppers if you create a unique or special environment around buying from your store.

Technology, technology, technology: It is very likely that this group of consumers is shopping from a smartphone, so your online store better presents a seamless mobile experience. It is also recognized that you will use the latest technology to enable purchasing, servicing and marketing for these tech-savvy shoppers.

Cause-Centered Brands Appreciated:Millennials not only have a generous heart, but they also want to shop with online brands that share their passion for making the world a better place. Because consumerism, or companies that support the social good, has come into the spotlight with companies like Toms, which donate a pair of shoes to charity for every pair of shoes purchased. Millennials have a huge interest in this type of business model, and it’s paying off on the latest social goodies like FlexWatches, which attract online shoppers with their commitment to charitable giving associated with certain styles of watches.

To be successful with this kind of approach to attracting millennial clients, you have to be honest about your support for a cause. It goes beyond making occasional donations to nonprofits; Millennials expect your business to be about giving, and being the real cause at the foundation of your business model.

Be the Brand: Similar to wanting a unique experience when shopping, millennials want to actively participate in your brand. It’s not just about providing consumer-generated content, it’s also about helping influence the way your products are created or chosen, and being an intimate part of the process somewhere along the way from start to finish. Think of this as going over a few steps to giving customer feedback. If you can provide this niche market with a sense of ownership with your online brand, you will be rewarded with long-term loyalty.

Social Currency Rules:It should come as no surprise that this socially savvy generation of consumers has taken to social media, often when shopping online and off. They take to social platforms (including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube) to share their experiences with your brand, connect with your brand, and learn about your brand from their peers. If you’re going to focus on a niche with millennial consumers, you’ll want to integrate social media into all aspects of your company, and do it well.