Millennials are pushing retail to think differently about the way to communicate, engage and build rapport. With purchase decisions based on the view of self, society and planet, this generation has some core values that need to be heard.
Simply put, products that Millennials buy must enhance their quality of life and for those around them. These sentiments are closely tied to desires for clean, organic, less-processed and sustainably sourced product choices. There are 80+ million Millennials in the United States alone, and each year they spend approximately $600 billion. While originally typecast as financially dependent teens, today’s Millennials include young adults in their 20s and 30s. Many have careers, are raising kids and live in their own homes. While Millennials are already a potent force, they will truly come into their own by 2020, where spending in the United States will grow to $1.4+ trillion* annually and represent ~30 percent of total retail sales. The age-old topic of “putting the customer first” really begins to ring true when put into the context, that this generation will be fundamentally responsible for the future of the global economy.
Companies must update traditional processes to meet this new baseline, continue investment in useful technology and pro-actively enhance antiquated business models.
A core strategy in the new world of retail will be to forge an authentic personal connection with each customer. Retail must go well beyond traditional email blasts, old-school Google product marketing and generalised Facebook ads. True engagement must be defined through personalised value for each customer and provide a story behind product origin. Unique traits and personalisation are needed to develop a connection with each product. Transparency and traceability of where products are made form an integral part of this highly relevant content for Millennial digestion and are likely to become an essential part of the overall brand story.
The great news is that through technology this is all possible. Data points available for consumers in the world grow each day exponentially. Initiatives such as the GDPR demonstrate how much of a priority it is to protect this exponential growth of personal information. Why is GDPR a good thing? It's excellent because customers are getting back control of what brands they wish to connect with and reduce unsolicited engagement. Conversely, once a millennial has genuinely opted into a brand, it is harder to mess things up and lose them as a customer. Do not lose sight of the fact that customers are the market and that the market dictates who succeeds and who does not.
A practical example of how this works today is easily observed through Crowd Sourcing Platforms. With the right product (and team) in the centre, full transparency and a great story, million-dollar brands have shot to global success around the world. Although now commonplace to spend marketing budgets on generating customer reach, the market entirely drives the fundamentals behind the successful virality or failure of these product launches.
Ultimately, businesses that adapt to the opt-in delivery of relevant content at an individual level and connect the person to a genuine story behind the product will win. This type of engagement enables the ability to build rapport, transparency and empower Millennials with excellent products. In turn, successfully communicating a unique, genuine value proposition will see brands thriving for years to come and are likely to be naturally promoted to millions throughout global social channels.
About Y-Tao Global
Y-Tao Global is a technology business based in Sydney, Australia that provides provenance and transparency to the fashion apparel industry. Our technology enables the ability to continue to tell the “Cotton to Customer” brand story beyond the point of purchase.
References:* Accenture - Who are the Millennial shoppers