Marketing to Millennials

Updated on December 20, 2019
The Underholt profile image

With several years in the Halloween industry, Drew is on the beat with the latest developments in the eCommerce world.

Slacker. Entitled. Capricious. In Debt.

What do you first think of when you hear the term "Millennial"? Depending on what you have seen or where you've heard it from, Millennials range from hard working up-and-comers to lazy couch potatoes looking for a hand out. Don't believe the headlines you see about Millennials "killing" so-and-so industry, because they just simply are not true. While Millennials may hold a record amount of debt, they also wield the largest amount of annual spending power of any generation today - a whopping 600 billion dollars in 2019 and an estimated 1.4 trillion dollars in spending power come 2020, which would represent 30% of total U.S. retail sales. Whether you love them or hate them, the fact stands that Millennials are the backbone of the retail economy, so if you are looking for ways to market to this generation, stick around and keep reading for some interesting concepts and ways to engage Millennials.

Just Who Are Millennials?

Just who are Millennials? That's a good question. The term "Millennial" is often used to describe any young person, but most Millennials have already graduated college, started families, or are a mainstay in the workforce. The generational years for Millenials differs slightly depending on who you ask. Typically, the accepted range for the Millennial generatoin is from 1980 to 1996. Millennials, in 2020, will be 24-39 years old, and account for roughly 80 million people in the United States (that's larger than the 75 million Baby Boomers in the U.S). As you can see, most Millennials are well into their adulthood and in their prime earning years, which makes them the key target for marketing campaigns. Millennials grew up during a technology explosion and have been around since the Walkman was playing portable cassette tapes for people on the go, rotary phones were still being used, and the internet was in its infancy. Ah, nostalgia. Since growing up in that climate of fast paced technology changes, Millennials have become accustomed to adapting to new technology when it is released. However, Millennials are not as digitally-based as one might think. 61% of Millennials are still inclined to shop and purchase in brick-and-mortar stores as opposed to online.

Online. Amazon. Shopping.

While Millennials may not be the most digitally dominated generation living today (that title goes to Gen Z), they are still quick to adapt to technological change and embrace it. 46% of Millennials buy products online at least once a week and 25% say that they make purchases everyday. That is quite impressive! The key to the reason Millennials are frequent online shoppers? Amazon - have you heard of it? Amazon is no doubt the biggest powerhouse of online shopping in the United States and offers a huge selection of products thanks to its platform of allowing 3rd party sellers to sell products to consumers. Amazon delivers on the Millennials' need for cross-platform access of smart phones, computers, and even voice assisted shopping. With access to new technology, Amazon hits one of the many Millennial desires with offering voice assisted shopping. Although voice assisted shopping is in its infancy, it is expected to become a more prevalent shopping method in the 2020's. With this in mind, sellers should begin to optimize their content on Amazon product pages with keywords that are used in voice search in order to stand out from competitors.

Mobile On The Move

In 2018, Google announced that mobile searches had surpassed desktop searches as the preferred mode of searching online. With this trend, by 2019, Google had geared its search platform to become a mobile first indexing system that promotes mobile first websites (websites that are optimized to fit onto smart phone screens) over traditional desktop only sites. If you go onto Google today, search results displayed to both mobile and desktop Google searches will feature mobile first websites instead of websites designed solely for desktop. If you have not optimized your website to be either a responsive layout (website layout that optimizes content to be shown on either desktop or mobile phone) or a mobile first layout, I would highly recommend doing so. You are only hurting your business's chances of being found online by not optimizing for phones. While 49% of Millennials still prefer to do their product purchasing on a desktop, 42% prefer mobile shopping because of ease of access with their mobile phone and the mobile shoppers should not be overlooked. I needed to take a good look into whether the website I help maintain is appropriate for display on desktop as well as on mobile. It was no short task. Most website platforms for businesses like BigCommerce or Shopify already offer mobile-first websites that you can customize with your own color scheme, logos, and images. You do not need to know how to code HTML or CSS if you go this route of utilizing a website provider to serve your website for you. However, coding is not a task to take lightly. A complete redesign can take months if you are working on your own or can get very expensive if you hire someone professional to do it for you.

Are Millennials Brand Loyal?

Contrary to popular belief, Millennials are extremely loyal customers when provided with excellent customer service (duh), given great consistent deals/prices (duh), and are valued as a customer (duh). A brand that can offer these points to a Millennial shopper will have a better chance at having that person be a repeat customer (even if they are just a seller on Amazon!). We'll take the eCommerce giant Amazon as an example again. Amazon offers Prime to all customers for a yearly fee. Prime enables multiple perks to the customer, included free 2-Day shipping (sometimes 1 day), access to Amazon Prime's streaming service, eBooks, and more. With all of those perks, it is no wonder why 65% of Millennials are current Prime members. If you sell on Amazon, I recommend you enroll in the Amazon Prime program for sellers in order to get your products into the Prime pool. If you do not sell on Amazon, 1.) you should consider getting into the Amazon game and 2.) find ways to create customer loyalty like offering a discount code to buyers on their next purchase or free shipping on certain products, or in store specials on certain days.

Deals, Dates, And Discounts

Even though Millennials wielded 600 billion dollars of spending power in 2019, they are still smart and savvy shoppers who are looking for the best deals online as well as in store. It makes sense, since Millennials are settled with an ungodly amount of credit card, auto loan, and student loan debt. Online Millennial shoppers typically begin their shopping journey on Amazon as a means of finding the "base price" of a product, seeing the shipping rates, and then continuing on with their search on other websites like Walmart, eBay, and seller websites. This process can take as little as 2 minutes to as long as a few days. 67% of Millennials say free or low shipping is a big factor in determining whether they purchase a product from a certain website or not. This also means that Millennials trust Amazon in giving them a good deal on a product and why they like events such as Prime Day, Black Friday (insert "Millennials are killing Thanksgiving" headline here), and Cyber Monday so much. Millennials also follow their favorite brands on social media as a means of getting deals, discounts, and promotions through their pages.

The Proof Is In The Reviews

To your business, one lone bad review on a product or service may not seem so consequential to you now, but it very well could be detrimental to that product's longevity. It is important to sell quality products and offer exceptional customer service. Remember: the old adage of "all press is good press", is not true. 51% of Millennials always read reviews of products first before making a buying decision and 35% more say they often read reviews before buying. Amazon's product reviews allows consumers to say how great a product was, how terrible the customer service was, or even to warn other buyers about how they feel about a company. Amazon reviews alone can make or break a product. If you read a string of bad reviews or an item has a 2 star rating out of 5, how likely are you to still order it? Some items have notoriously hilarious reviews that are written by consumers and just add to the sense that this product is a good buy. I remember reading reviews for a unicorn mask that were so downright hilarious that it makes the product page even better and does most of the selling work for it. Positive product/company reviews are great selling points for any buyer, not just Millennials.

On another note, you should not offer anybody payment to review your product on Amazon as it is against their policy and you could be suspended. Also, I have just recently learned from a customer representative that works at Amazon, that you should only use the automatic system to remove negative customer feedback and do not open a case directly to remove any negative customer feedback, or else you could have your account suspended. Amazon is trying to automate the negative feedback removal process. This move is unfortunately another negative hit to sellers.

Get Social With It

It is no secret that social media is an ever existing presence that businesses leverage to pull in buyers to their sites and products. This is where even more candid reviews of a business or product can be found. Amazon's review system is good, but cannot compete to the level of someone showcasing an entire product review on their account with videos, pictures, and text. Some businesses offer higher profile people payment or free product in return for a product review of it. For example, a YouTube Channel called Ryan's Toy Review shows product advertising "play videos" in return for some monetary sum. Young children between the ages of 2-8 are particularly interested in this play style video and watch them on YouTube.

Facebook groups or a Facebook business page is a good starting point to getting your brand out into the social media world. From there, you can continue onto Twitter, Instagram, and even TikTok. It is important to answer questions within a timely manner on your social media accounts. Conversation with someone before or after they buy is crucial to your success and public relations. Think of this interaction as crisis management. You can potentially stop a negative review from happen by being kind and courteous to a harsh customer.

Future Business Growth

Millennials have disrupted the traditional shopping methods that Gen X and Baby Boomers have consistently used. It is important for you to develop your business both online and off in order to satisfy Millennial needs and wants when it comes to shopping. Having a brand story worth telling, deals and discounts, an online presence are important in delivering a shopping experience to Millennials. By meeting these expectations, you'll be setting the groundwork for Millennial loyalty as well as for another upcoming digitally inclined generation, Gen Z, but that is another article for another day. Stay wary of changes in the digital world so that you do not fall behind on internet updates and appease your customer base with the latest and greatest technology and convenience possible.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Drew Overholt

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • DominiqueCM profile image

        Dominique Cantin-Meaney 

        3 months ago from Montreal, Canada

        Great article! Lots of great points, which I feel have a lot of truths behind them. Thanks for sharing!

      • Gadgetlesstech profile image

        Kevin Rhodes 

        3 months ago from Connecticut, USA

        Great Hub! You are so on point and you offer great statistics! As a newly arrived baby-boomer who works in the digital marketing space, I come in contact with many Millennials. I love the fact that this generation was born into the digital age and are utilizing it to it's full advantage.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, toughnickel.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://maven.io/company/pages/privacy

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)