Right now, the millennial demographic is one of the most highly desirable customer segments.

The millennial generation—those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s, today’s teenagers and twenty-somethings—represent some 76 million people in the United States. Right now, the millennial demographic is one of the most highly desirable customer segments. But this consumer group that has grown up with the Internet differs starkly from its predecessors, with its own unique ways of using products, communicating with people and enjoying leisure time. What’s more, their annual purchasing power of $170 billion is on the rise. Clearly, it’s imperative that brands engage and attract millennials.

The millennial generation is a hyper-connected, tech-savvy group. Nearly all millennials are passionate web users. They’re deeply engaged in multiple social media channels and mobile apps. Unlike previous generations, their eyes aren’t glued to the television—they’re focused on computer and smartphone screens.  The bulk of their communication takes place online and this is where brands need to reach them. An online brand presence is not enough; building an online community is an essential merchandising strategy to cater to millennials. This means developing and rewarding brand advocates because millennials want to feel like vital, valued members of a company, with voices that count. And companies want to listen because millennial brand advocates are an influential bunch.

Millennials also love ease of access and leverage technology for the purpose of efficiency. A surefire way to cater to them is to make the shopping experience more convenient by incorporating digital innovations, such as branded mobile apps and mobile point-of-sale tablets, into physical stores—as we discussed in a recent blog post. Macy’s did just that with their 2012 strategy specifically aimed at the millennial generation. Demonstrating an understanding of the millennial’s relatively short attention span, Macy’s has embraced changing displays with greater frequency. Tapping into millennials’ affinity for brands and fashion icons, Macy’s is also focusing on branded fashion lines through tie-ins with celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Madonna.

With their sheer size and purchasing power, the millennial generation offers a tremendous opportunity, and companies must invest time in better understanding and targeting this key demographic. Of course, brands will need the right data collection tool, retail promotion management and merchandising field insights to accurately and swiftly measure the return on efforts to engage and win these new customers. GoSpotCheck’s powerful system enables companies to do just that.

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