What You Need to Know About Millennial Shopping Patterns

Millennials are estimated to number 75.3 million in 2016. They are tech-savvy, brazen, terribly in debt, but still love online shopping. In fact, this generation spends over $600 billion annually and the number is projected to reach $1.4 trillion annually by 2020.

For e-commerce businesses and SaaS startups, that stands for a huge buying force that is hard to market to. Millennials have been disrupting the standard shopping patterns, leaving a lot of businesses puzzled and surprisingly leveraging the profits of others.

If you are interested in winning the hearts and wallets of this generation, here are the 4 important shopping patterns you need to know about.

1. Make the Shopping Experience a Two-Way Street

Millennials are slightly addicted to social media. That’s no big secret. However, what’s more important is that they use social networks to scout for product recommendations, special deals and peer-to-peer recommendations. Pinterest recently claimed that 87 percent of their users purchased because of Pinterest, and Shopify mentioned the social site as the second-largest traffic referral to Shopify stores.

Millennials love to feel that they are part of something cool and trendy. Meaning they are ready to choose one product over another just based on how it would make them look among their peers.  They drop the statement “It’s ok if others know I am associated with it” twice as often as Baby Boomers.

Bottom Line: don’t bet on traditional or native advertising if you want to reach to Millennial consumers.  Place your bet on creative social media campaigns and targeted collaborations with influencers to make your consumer feel as if they are getting an amazing experience, rather than making a purchase.

2. Offer Multiple and Secure Payment Options

Millennials have experienced their fair share of cyber security issues and online identity frauds.  As a result, 64 percent of consumers named gift cards as their most preferable and secure online payment option, with PayPal coming as the second most secure choice. They believe that using gift cards limits the chances of identity theft.

“One of our recent security updates was to introduce confirmation calls. We get in touch with the cardholder specifically to briefly go through the order details. It’s a double win both from the customer service and security perspective. In fact, in a few months after announcing and implementing this policy, we’ve noticed a spike in purchases from younger demographics, who feel particularly sensitive about their security, ” said Jamie Reme, VP of Operations at The GPS Store.

3. Introduce In-Store Pickups

Another curious trend is that Millennials are ready to drive a few extra miles and get to your store in order to save $10-30 on delivery. In fact, the final price is the top decision making factor when it comes to purchases, as these tech-savvy folks have a habit of comparing and analyzing all the pricing options available.

As a retailer you can offer a discount for in-store pickups (by reducing shipping and handling costs). This not only creates perceived value, but also increases the traffic at your storefront.

4. Millennials Connect with People Over Logos

Authenticity was named as an important shopping factor by 43 percent of Millennials, meaning you’ll first have to earn their trust before they would care to view your products and content. In this case, they tend to trust individuals more, rather than big faceless corporations.

For you, that means heavily investing in developing your brand’s story and defining your values that should serve as the layering base of your content marketing strategy. Choose a spokesperson for your company; highlight the people, who work for you and their individual achievements; offer sneak peeks inside your work process and choose the cause your brand supports.

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Written by:
Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien
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