Appealing to Millennials

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Year after year, the buying power of millennials grows and the importance they have to the economy, and your business specifically, becomes more undeniable. Millennials are set to make up half of the total workforce by the year 2020, so it’s important to start building brand loyalty within this demographic now. Appealing to millennials could be the best thing you ever did for your business.

While there is no consensus on the exact dates, the millennial generation refers to people born between 1980 and 2000. They were the first generation to grow up with the internet and are responsible for the central role social media now plays in business and marketing.Now, the spending power of millennials, a tech-savvy, media-connected and independent demographic, is growing to the point where it has become the fuel driving the digital economy.

E-Commerce is Business as Usual

According to an eMarketer survey, 60% of millennials “agreed or strongly agreed that they looked at items online to buy nearly every day, even if they didn’t actually plan on making a purchase.” This is a generation of people with multiple connected devices and who are accustomed to 24-hour internet access whether at home, at work, in transit, or wherever they may be. E- and m-commerce have been so integrated into their daily lives that browsing online stores has become a pastime.

But just because they may be “browsing” does not mean they are only looking: 52% said they make online purchases they hadn’t planned on, significantly higher than among older generations.

This is the millennial equivalent of window shopping, but it has one key difference: data. Online window shopping allows you to collect unprecedented amounts of personal data about your audience, such as what they’re looking at and for how long, where they’re from, what time of day they’re shopping, and how they’re accessing your website.

Business strategies that worked a decade ago are not going to work on this demographic. By understanding the behaviour and shopping habits of this generation, which can only come through a detailed analysis of the data you collect, you will understand how to market to them, win their loyalty and build a successful brand.

7 Tips for Appealing to Millennials

Be Personal

Data-mining provides you with an abundance of insights about your business and for your business. It can also unlock one of the most important factors in a millennial’s path to purchase: personalised marketing. Millennials know their habits are being tracked and expectyou to market directly to them. Using your data to provide each customer with product suggestions based on their search history is a great way to start the personalised path to purchase.

You can also take personalisation to the next level by maintaining two-way communication, such as those facilitated by social media. An important part of building trust and loyalty is to prove to your customers that you’re paying attention to them. There’s no better way to do that than to participate in the conversation on Facebook and Twitter, for example, by replying to customers’ Tweets and Facebook comments.

Embrace Word-of-Mouth

A recent study found that 95% of millennials cited their friends as the most credible source of information about a business. 98% said they’re more likely to engage in a social media post by a friend about a brand than a post by the business itself.

This is irrefutable proof that you shouldn’t treat every customer like a potential sale but like a brand ambassador. Just as a bad reputation can spread like wildfire, so can word of an exceptionally good experience through social media and word-of-mouth. Your customers will walk away happy and return back with more customers for you.

Go Mobile

Mobile payments are being driven by milliennials. 52% of them have already used their phones to make payments at a point-of-sale, despite it being an emerging payment method still in its early stages. They have a vision of a world where they’ll only need their smartphone, ditching their IDs, payments and loyalty cards, licenses and keys.

Millennials are pushing for mobile payments, and if the success of ApplePay is any indication, with one million subscribers in its first three days, they’re going to get them. So make sure your business is prepared to accept mobile payments both online and in-person.

Be Consistent

Millennials are also at the forefront of omni-channel commerce. Because they have multiple devices with near 24-hour connectivity and are accustomed to taking a multi-device path to purchase, your branding, pricing and features need to be consistent across all channels. The old practice of multi-channel commerce, with separate marketing strategies tailored to each channel, strikes millennials as insincere and lowers their level of trust in your brand.

Be Creative

Don’t be afraid to make it weird. Millennials were raised on absurdist humour and 46% say that random and bizarre marketing is the most memorable. You don’t need to go off the deep end, you just need to be creative. Today, we’re marketed to everywhere we go – doing it a little differently will refresh your message, resonate with your audience and get your brand remembered.

Be Responsible

As revealed in a study from PR firm Cone Communication, specialists in cause marketing, millennials are highly aware of responsible business practices and expect a certain level of social responsibility from brands they are loyal to, to the extent where they will switch from one business to a competitor based on their efforts in this area.

Brands today need to make their social awareness public and emphasise transparency and authenticity. Include in your content the story behind your business, why you started in the industry, why you operate your business the way you do, and why you believe in it. Be vocal about and take action in the causes you believe in and you will attract loyal customers and brand ambassadors. By making a personal appeal that hits home with millennials, you can establish your brand as a positive part of the community.

Hire Millennials

Finally, and this is an easy one, a great strategy for appealing to millennials is to hire them. By having employees who are themselves millennials and listening to their feedback about your products, services and marketing materials, you can eliminate the initial trial-and-error stage of introducing new strategies, products or branding.

This generation is pouring into the workforce as we speak and earning a lot of money that they’re going to turn around and spend somewhere, so why not at your business? Appealing to millennials means getting your enterprise ready to accept the business of hundreds of millions of young, social and independent people with money they want to use. By tailoring your branding to this demographic, you can lay the foundation for an entire generation’s worth of loyal customers.

To learn more about how to locate and market to the right audience for you, subscribe to the DalPay Blog. For news and updates from around the industry, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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How to Prepare your Business for Omni-Channel Commerce

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The latest buzz in e-tailing is omni-channel commerce – the concept that retailers should provide a seamless customer experience across all devices, making every interaction your customer has with your brand a holistic sales opportunity. Whether researching or shopping on their computers, mobile devices or at your brick-and-mortar store, consumers now expect to relate with your products, services and marketing. So how do you meet the new consumer demands? Let’s take a closer look.

Why go omni-channel?

As opposed to multi-channel commerce, which perceives different sales channels as distinct marketing avenues, omni-channel commerce enables consumers to interact with your brand as a whole regardless of the point of contact. Central to omni-channel is the idea that it’s up to the customer to choose how to buy from you and that they should be able to do it through whichever channel they want and from whichever channel they find you.

For merchants, in the age of the cloud, both the technology and the infrastructure are in place to provide customers with a seamless experience – meaning, both product and customer data remain consistent and specific across all platforms.

But the real reason you need to go omni-channel is that it’s not just the latest new marketing technique (it wasn’t dreamed up by industry gurus) – it’s simply the way shopping habits among the public are developing. Omni-channel commerce is what consumers want and expect from you.

The fragmented sales and marketing tactics of multi-channel commerce mean that businesses are splitting their resources into what amounts to several similar but channel-specific brands, while in omni-channel commerce, the full force of your marketing can be unified across all channels. Marketing in any single channel benefits brand awareness in all of them and increases consumer confidence overall.

ML-Display-Stats-Jan-2014-copy-300x262How to go omni-channel

The concept that different channels consist of different audiences is false. Consumers take a multi-device path to purchase. Brick-and-mortar stores are a component of the supply chain in which, even when purchases are in the store, they are researched using other devices (webrooming) or vice versa (showrooming).

Instead of perceiving your brand in terms of specific touch-points, you need to maintain consistency in your products and promotions across all sales avenues. For example, logos and colour schemes on your website need to match your product displays in store. Similarly, prices (including sales) need to be the same regardless of the channel.

Omni-channel integration can be divided into two categories:

  • Device2Web: The consistency of branding and marketing across all connected devices, such as a responsive web design that allows online shoppers to experience the full scope of your brand whether they are browsing on a phone, tablet or desktop computer.
  • Brick2Click: The consistency of the consumer experience both online and in-store, such as a purchase history that is shared across channels and customer support that is available in any channel regardless of where the purchase was made.

There are a number of ways to achieve omni-channel consistency and integration, including:

Real-time data and inventory

Omni-channel marketing is consumer-first, not channel-first. The secret to success lies in data management. Consumers expect you to remember their progress as they jump from one device to another. Therefore, sharing data in real-time across all channels is integral to providing a satisfying customer experience. For example, when you sell a product in-store, your inventory should update in real-time on all channels. Additionally, if the customer has an account with you, that purchase should appear in their purchase history online, even though the purchase was made in-store.

Personalised marketing

Gathering data about your customers allows you to shift from channel-based marketing to customer-based marketing. Remembering what’s in someone’s shopping cart is only one step in personalising their customer experience. You should also followup on incomplete purchases with personalised emails and let them know about promotions and offers based on their location, shopping habits, history or social network preferences.

QR codes

Rather than resisting showrooming habits, encourage them. Add QR codes to in-store product displays so that customers can use their mobile devices to collect further information, read product reviews, etc. This encourages customers in your store to go directly to your website and stay engaged with your brand and products, rather than leaving your “environment” by googling information they’re looking for. Another way to engage with and convert more customers is by adding QR codes to your store window displays – this is your chance to entice passing foot traffic to your website even if they were just casually window shopping without any intention of stepping foot inside your store.

In-store pickup and return

Part of the draw of omni-channel commerce is that it allows the entire business to operate as a single unit, rather than being segmented into separate online and physical stores. By giving your customer the option to pick up an online purchase at your store (or to return an online purchase to your store):

  • It offers the customer more control over their shopping experience and preferences, and therefore increases the likelihood of conversion;
  • It generates more brand awareness and loyalty by adding a physical dimension to the online experience;
  • It brings more customers into your store, opening up another avenue for marketing.

Staff training

Digitally-savvy shoppers are researching their purchases before entering your store. They come to you already well-informed about your products and prices and they expect you to provide them with even more information. In a Retail Systems Research study, 82% of respondents said the role of retail staff in customer service is more important than ever, so a successful approach will require knowledgeable, well-trained employees.

Click here to learn about app-based training

It’s an investment

Omni-channel integration requires an investment of both time and money, but it’s one that’s bound to pay off since omni-channel shoppers outspend single-channel shoppers by almost 50%. To prepare your business properly, inter-departmental communication needs to be smooth and robust so that brand consistency and marketing strategy are strong and well-understood across the company.

It’s an investment in success and Why Online Retailers are Embracing Omni-Channel Commerce. For more of the latest news and advice in the world of omni-channel retail, subscribe to the DalPay Blog and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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