Retail Real Estate and Social Media
While retailers understand the importance of capturing Millennials’ spending power, some are struggling to learn how to adjust their marketing techniques to fit Millennials’ style.
One constant with Millennials is social media. Millennials connect, communicate and research through social media, looking for information on and validation of their buying decisions through reviews and ‘likes’ on-line. Even when shopping in traditional bricks & mortar stores, Millennials often research their purchases on-line ahead of time, trying to compare the best prices and products so they can make a quicker decision once in the store.
Provide Information and Conversation ——————————-
A report by Hanover Research argues that “Millennials are forcing retailers to reevaluate how they attract and communicate with consumers” and that “brand strategies must become more participative by casually engaging them on Facebook or Twitter.”
The reason for this change in communication style goes beyond Millennials’ constant connectedness. Considered a cynical generation, Millennials respond better to information than straight advertising. Retailers need to combine connectedness with information in a shareable format, offering advice and products via blogs and on-line magazines, for instance. These links can easily be forwarded, encouraging customers to spread the retailer’s content, an important addition to a one-time click on the ‘like’ button.
The ‘in’ places for social media are constantly evolving, so retailers need to keep abreast of what outlets are most current, along with the idiosyncrasies of each.
Offer Loyalty & Reward Programs —————————————-
Research by Accenture Outlook indicates that one of the false myths about Millennials is that they lack loyalty. In fact, “loyalty programs are big”, with many Millennials faithful to retailers that provide them with “personalized, targeted promotions and discounts.” Accenture found that “95 percent or more of Millennials say they want their brands to court them actively, and coupons sent via email or mailed to their homes currently (or will in the future) have the most influence on them. Other channels, such as text messages, have an influence on just over half of all respondents in terms of their shopping behaviors.”
Burdened by student debt and many entering a difficult job market during and post-Great Recession, Millennials look for the extra value provided by discounts and reward programs.
Highlight Authenticity, Sustainability & Social Responsibility –
Millennials have come of age in an era apprehensive about global warming. As such, they are concerned enough about sustainability to pay more for products that they feel are better for the environment. Similarly, Millennials donate time and money to charity and want to support retailers that do the same.
As Hanover Research explains, “Despite the rapid spending habits of Millennials, they put a lot of thought into the products and services they adopt. Millennials are more cosmopolitan in nature, and view their purchases through a global lens, which for example, leads to a higher preference for “green” products. These reasons are why Millennials are more likely to shop at smaller retailers with authentic cultural items than large chain operations.”
Not So Unfathomable ————————————————————
In Retail Dive, Daphne Howland concludes that Millennials are not such unusual consumers. “They’re looking for connection, value and a shopping experience that will make them feel good about what they buy.” The challenge for retailers is finding effective ways on social media to connect and stay in contact with Millennials, provide special offers and information, and keep themselves in the conversation.
In the end, an effective social media strategy has multiple benefits, helping retailers reach not only their Millennial customers, but other generations as well.