Millennials are a hot topic right now. They’re a complex generation that has been shaped by the rise of the internet and an increasingly globalized world. Their critics say they’re lazy and entitled, while on the other side of the coin they’re hailed as the generation that will change the world.
While it’s hard to generalize, they do reveal some defining features that set them aside from previous generations. Digging deep into these characteristics and understanding the millennial consumer can help businesses alter their sales strategy to maximize their return. To help you achieve that, let’s dig deep right now.
Ethical commitments from ethical brands
Growing up in a world rocked by corporate misdeeds such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill and the Libor scandal, millennials are very much the conscientious generation. They’ve developed a strong desire for their chosen brands to be ethical and sustainable in everything they do.
But what does this entail? Frankly, everything — from product manufacturing right down to your marketing. For brands, an emphasis on strong corporate social responsibility is a must if they want to appeal to the millennial customer.
Charity initiatives, green commitments, and ethical working practices should inform much of your sales strategy, forming a core part of your branding. Indeed, in a saturated market, millennials can easily find a business that offers the same service as you but with an ethical background, so it behooves you to do so.
There are a number of ways you can do this. Your company story is a great opportunity to showcase your moral responsibilities (General Electric, for example, offers a guide to business integrity on their site). And your social channels are perfect for promoting your charity drives to the masses. If you haven’t already implemented a strong CSR initiative, now is the time — for millennial consumers, an ethical brand can be the difference between a sale won or lost.
Brick-and-mortar isn’t dead
Popular belief has it that offline shopping is dead. With the rise of the digital nation, the world of brick-and-mortar is on its way out, to be replaced by the ease and convenience of online shopping. But while millennials certainly spend the most time online compared to previous generations, they’re not spelling the death of offline shopping just yet.
In fact, a recent study revealed that 74% of millennials still prefer shopping in brick-and-mortar stores than online. And that’s not just for products like clothes either — virtually every industry can maintain a brick-and-mortar presence and benefit from millennial custom.
A millennial sales culture is one that spans both online and offline spaces. But rent and overheads often mean a regular presence in the real world isn’t always feasible. That’s why more and more businesses are using pop-up shops as part of their sales strategy. Setting up one-off stores in empty retail units gives businesses a chance to maximize sales while keeping costs down too.
And millennials love pop-ups. Turning your pop-up into a special event, an immersive experience even gives the standard retail experience a dynamic twist. It’s exciting, different, and highly Instagrammable
Service with a smile (and speed)
Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the internet at their fingertips — and it’s made them quite different. Where previous generations would seek information in books, millennials think nothing of being able to go online and find answers almost instantly.
As a result, their customer service expectations are wildly different to those of their grandparents, especially in the always-on digital age. Millennials prefer email over any other form of online communication, and they expect rapid (and attentive) responses. In a world where consumers can air their grievances on social media quickly and publicly, poor customer service can swiftly impact your sales.
Part of creating a millennial-friendly sales culture is implementing a customer support system that is always on and always attentive. Live chatbots and email automation can help you provide real-time updates on orders and issues — even a simple personalized message to let them know you’ve received their query is enough to allay any concerns.
And in the Facebook age, social media automation is also a worthy addition to your customer service strategy. 47% of millennial consumers go to social for queries and customer support, so it’s important that you’re responsive across all your platforms.
Regardless of where you land on your opinion of millennials, it’s indisputable that they’re a world away from previous generations. Growing up with the internet from such a young age has influenced how they see the world, and that includes the world of business. By positioning your sales culture with them in mind, you can reap the rewards of the millennial generation.