Millennials are the the largest generation in the U.S., and by 2017 they will also have the greatest spending power. Millennials have consumption preferences that are distinctly different from the generations that came before them, so it is imperative that brands understand what Millennial customers value and do everything necessary to meet and exceed their needs.
Millennials are the tech generation. They are empowered by and dependent on the access to information technology brings. As such, brands need to ensure their online experiences are rich, easy, visually pleasing and reach the Y generation on a range of different channels. To stay ahead of the competition, brands must be transparent about all the different ways they do business, and encourage customers to share their experiences online to gain the trust of more potential customers.
In this article we will offer 4 ways that brands and SMBs can improve their businesses transparency and gain more Millennial customers.
1. Be honest and realistic about timing
On-demand services are booming. Millennials now expect everything from hamburgers to hairdressers to be delivered to their door with just a few clicks. They place a premium on convenience, and are often willing to pay more for it. The benefit of these expectations is that businesses can charge delivery fees and don’t need to spend as much money on physical stores, since an online store is what most consumers are looking for. Startup costs are lower.
However, it is important to keep in mind that Millennials don’t like to wait. A recent survey found that 9 out of 10 Millennials want more delivery control when making orders online, and 60% of Millennials have “higher expectations of retailer delivery performance” than those aged 45-54 (33%). And when a product is not delivered online, serious backlash can ensue. This makes it essential that retailers are highly transparent about how long things take to be made, dispatched and delivered to a customer’s door.
Delivery time depends on your product. Obviously a hand-crafted piece of furniture takes longer to make than a hotdog, and will require different steps for the delivery process. Compare your service with your competitors offerings to make sure you aren’t significantly slower than they are, otherwise you will lose business. It’s also smart to encourage client feedback on your page and advertise your delivery with clear time guarantees.
If for any reason you cannot make the delivery within the agreed time, offer a discount or free gift to sweeten the deal. Setting realistic customer expectations could be the difference between securing a long term customer who will then spread the word to countless friends, or being stuck with a cancelled order and a client lost for life.
2. Make the customer fall in love with their product by involving them in the process
Millennials love customized products, but as mentioned above, they want things delivered fast. They are also price conscious. With the majority earning lower wages than their parent’s generations, and with higher levels of debt, Millennials want to know exactly what they are buying and why it is a great deal. Moreover, Millennials like the products they buy to be ‘authentic’ and to have a story.
For business owners, this means that everything about how and where a product is made should be made clear to the customer. It also means that it’s a good idea to offer choices for materials, colors and designs, and giving flexible prices depending on their choices. This will attract customers because it gives them the freedom of customizing their own product.
Creating a narrative around your brand or product—the backstory to your company, the way you source your materials, your team and your ideals—will create a bond between you and your clients, show them why they should choose your company rather than a competitor, and encourage them to share your company and products with their social contacts.
3. Keep clients up to date with the progress of their order
The fact that more than 85 percent of millennials own smartphones and tend to check them at least 43 times-a-day makes it possible to keep customers involved from day one until the product reaches their doorstep.
Using photos, videos, or even just email or text to update the client on the progress of their order keeps clients involved in the process, and offers an insight into the hard work going on behind the scenes, which adds extra value.
Images and videos are worth millions of words and can get three times more engagement and impressions than just plain text. Add some hyper spotting to the images and videos of product production on your website, and promote fan photos on social media. Millennials will thank and reward your brand by staying engaged and becoming brand advocates.
Obviously this wouldn’t work for all products; no one wants to be bombarded with photos of their sandwich being put together piece-by-piece. Rather, this is useful for more creative, long term projects such as website design, custom designed furniture, car repairs or any type of artwork. Regular photo updates also create anticipation for the end product.
Customers can be kept in the loop until they hear their doorbell ring. When deliveries are sent off, use delivery tracker services which allow the client to check online or on their phone exactly where their precious package is, and when it will be delivered.
4. Don’t leave a sour taste in consumers’ mouths with hidden charges
Total transparency with pricing is essential when marketing to Millennials. Do you charge tax? Do you charge shipping? Do you pass on the credit card charges? All of this information should be readily available to clients, so that they don’t receive any surprises at checkout or when the credit card bills come rolling in.
For the on-demand generation, delivery fees are the norm and Millennials flippantly wave away as a normal life cost. However, the prices should be clearly advertised and included in the checkout information.
Brands know that Millennials are more about enjoying an experience rather than just acquiring stuff. Hence, your questions should always be: “How do we make them feel?” and “How do we differentiate ourselves from everyone else in the market?” Brands must not only recognize Millennials’ needs, but also be willing to adapt and cater to them accordingly.
Providing clients with full transparency in your service from the first click to the final delivery will guarantee returning customers, and also spread the news about your company and product via social media and client referrals. Millennials are willing to base their buying decisions on the opinions and comments of people whom they have never met, so make sure you provide a product and service that exceeds customer’s expectations.
This article comes from co-founder Alex Del Toro from Joybird, a Los Angeles-based bespoke furniture maker with a difference. Joybird provides step-by-step assistance to help customers design their own unique furnishings and offers extensive customer support for a personalized experience from the first click.