Millennial spending habits are wildly different than their parents’. What if I were to tell you that millennial shopping exceeded $600 million a year?
My guess is you’d feel a mixture of excitement, amazement and desire to capitalize on some of that capital.
Millennials are often the focus of news articles on current events. In fact, Google shows 76,600,000 results for the word “millennials”.
And if we look at Google trends, we can see over the past 14 years there has been a rapid increase in the number of conversations online that talk about millennials.
What we’re trying to get at here is millennials are a hot-talked-about topic and if you own an e-commerce store, it’s worthwhile thinking about ways you can position your store to better appeal to the selfie-loving group of shoppers.
By the end of this post, you’ll know why millennials are different to other shoppers, you’ll know about their online shopping habits and you’ll know what you can do to optimize your store so that you can sell to millennials more consistently.
Let’s jump in!
Millennial spending habits
Millennials are typically born between 1980 and 1999, they also represent the largest population of people in the United States. Meaning, they have a powerful sense of influence.
One of the most important things to note about millennials and their shopping habits is: most of it happens online.
74% of millennials say that buying from an online store is more convenient than buying from an actual person.
When we also take into account the $600 billion a year figure we cited earlier, it’s clear to see that working on appealing your e-commerce store to your millennial audience can have a positive effect on your entire business.
Note: if it makes no sense for you to change the way you present and market your products to appeal to a millennial market – don’t.
In general, millennials prefer to shop online. They have their phones in their hands almost all of the time and are ready to hit buy at the press of the button. A study even showed that 80% of millennials sleep with their cell phones next to their beds.
If you’re ready to start optimizing your store to improve the ways you sell to millennials, read on!
Focus on the shopping experience
Millennials are all about the experience. If your e-commerce website doesn’t provide your millennial users with the right kind of experience, you’re going to miss out on customers. When you miss out on customers, you miss out on revenue.
But what is the right experience? What sort of experience gets millennials excited about making a purchase with you?
To begin with, your entire shopping process should be personalized. Millennial shoppers like to feel as though they are cared about. Think about Amazon’s pricing strategy as an example.
As soon as you log into your Amazon account, the entire process and store design are tailored towards you as a shopper.
Amazon has a wide range of product categories, meaning there are hundreds and thousands of products to search through. For some users, finding what you want to buy can become a struggle simply because there is so much choice there.
Amazon battles this dilemma by offering personalized product suggestions based on your previous search and purchase history.
Second, the shopping experience should be the same across various different devices. You don’t know if a shopper will buy from your store on their mobile, their desktop or even a tablet. When it comes to mobile shopping, you want to make the experience as easy as possible. This means using larger images, big buttons, and easy-seamless mobile loading. You can also experiment with mobile payment options whereby customers can pay using their phones directly through Apple Pay.
Finally, when it comes to finishing the purchase, the checkout process should be simple. If you can, allow users to purchase as a guest. This way they will be able to make purchases without having to first create an account or enter any unnecessary details.
After purchase, you can reach out to your customers and ask them to provide you with more information about them to ensure the next time they buy from you they receive a completely tailored approach.
Millennials are influenced by social media
If there’s one thing millennials are influenced by, it’s social media. Social content is super important for encouraging millennials to buy from you. You should put as much effort into your social media content as you do to your static website page content.
Millennials are in the habit of following their favorite brands online.
Sports fashion retailer, Nike, has 79.8m followers on Instagram. If you don’t think your store has enough interesting content to create an Instagram account, then just look at the example below from retailer, Stabilo.
Stabilo sells pens, but they’ve still amassed over 180,000 followers on Instagram. It’s clear to see, then, that having a healthy and active presence on social media is a wonderful way to encourage millennial shoppers to buy more from you.
In 2018, traditional methods of selling don’t work anymore. When it comes to finding out new products to buy, millennials are influenced by what they see on social media.
If everyone on their social media is drinking their water from a specific bottle, they’re likely to want one too. Using social media as a store helps you create that sense of FOMO that encourages others to buy.
The images above are from Instagram. They’re photos of a Chilly’s bottle. Only, the thing is…these weren’t taken by the brand themselves. They were taken by the shoppers.
The shoppers were so happy with their product they wanted to feature them on their Instagram. If you’re consistently shown examples of people using cool products, you’re more likely to look into them yourself.
For millennials, this is 100% the case. When people are happy with a product, they’re less likely to leave a review on a site, and much more likely to take to social media to talk about how much they’re enjoying their new purchase.
Make it easy to purchase
We’ve already established that millennials are ready to purchase at any minute, but this is unlikely to happen unless you make it easy for them to purchase.
If they have to enter their first name, surname, the name of their first car and favorite color when they were 5, they’re most likely going to leave your site and use a different one.
Likewise, if they land on your site, add items to their basket but only find out an item is out of stock once they’re ready to check-out, you’re going to alienate them.
When you alienate your millennial customers, they’re just going to go elsewhere. Millennials live and breathe the internet. They understand the nuances of it and understand how easy and quick it should be.
So when your website doesn’t stand up to that standard, you’re going to lose customers.
Joseph Joseph, for example, has a really simple checkout process. As you can see from the screenshot above, you can choose to log-in (if you already have an account), create an account (if you want to) or purchase as a guest.
Second to that, on the right-hand side, you can easily see the number of steps left to complete the checkout.
The step you’re currently on is highlighted in a darker color also meaning you’re always certain of how much of the process is left to complete.
More than just the check-out process, you need to make sure that it’s super easy for millennial shoppers to make a purchase without changing their minds. Apparel is often an e-commerce niche where shoppers are hesitant to click purchase, despite adding the item to their bags because they’re worried it won’t fit them properly when it arrives.
Asos is great at combating that problem through their size predictor tool. When you look further into a product, you can see that rather than just show you a photo of what the model is wearing you also get to see the size the particular model is wearing too. This way you can use this to predict what size you might need.
So do you know how to sell to millennials?
Millennials are looking for a very specific shopping experience when they land on your site. If you’re unable to provide this for them, you’re likely to lose out on potential customers.
We’ve already established that millennials are the largest population of shoppers and so neglecting to make sure your store adheres to their needs is going to harm your bottom line.
If you want to get millennials to hand over their payment details then first you need to build trust with them by creating a brand they like and are happy to vocally support.
Then you need to provide them with the information they need in order to actually make a purchase.
Finally, you need to make sure that when they do want to make a purchase, their experience is seamless and easy.
What are you waiting for, are you attracting enough millennials to your store?