5 Ecommerce Tips for Connecting With Millennials

Millennials are the largest generation in American history according to Forbes. That’s a great marketing opportunity. As they are the largest generation, they will also be comprising the bulk of commerce in our present day and age. They have been reshaping our economy and culture to the tune of technology and convenience. If you’re a burgeoning ecommerce site, you’ll want to keep that little tidbit in mind when it comes to shaping your site. To neglect this generation could be your downfall, so it would be extremely beneficial to utilize some tips and tricks that would better help your site cater to that generation. As luck would have it, I’ve comprised five ecommerce tips for connecting with millennials.

1. Make your site mobile-friendly or utilize apps

Millennials are the moth and their phones are the flame. They never leave anywhere without them and in the very rare event that they do, whoever has to deal with the aftermath is in for a world of hurt. I once had a coworker, obviously a millennial, who had left his phone at home. He didn’t realize it until it was too late to turn back. When he walked into the office, we all thought he had had a death in the family. When we learned that his crestfallen demeanor was the result of leaving his phone at home, our empathy and sympathy quickened to fury. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, millennials need their phones like they need to breathe. You absolutely need to have a mobile-friendly site. If millennials can’t access your site on their phones, then they’re not going to be very likely to return to your site.

Apps are the best way to go, but it doesn’t hurt (at all) to have accelerated mobile pages (AMPs). In the event that a millennial simply wants to test the waters before they commit to downloading an app, having AMPs on your site is a great way to lure them in. If you believe that simply having a site to visit means they can access it on their phones, think again. Websites and their pages are not automatically designed to be AMPs. This is something that requires effort and if you want to reap the benefits that millennials have to offer, make absolutely sure that they can access your site on their phones. They’re not likely to try to visit from a desktop.

2. Influencer Marketing and Social Media Outreach

Millennials are not so fazed by celebrity endorsements as previous generations have been. Instead, they trust the word of the average joe. If someone they follow on any of the several social media platforms recommends and--even better--demos a product, the millennial is more likely to visit and/or purchase from that site. They believe the influencer to be someone they can trust. Most of the time, they aren’t wrong. Influencers tend to be honest about the products they use, whereas celebrities are highly paid to say whatever it is they are paid to say. Millennials have caught on to this and are no longer convinced.

Millennials are all about social media in general and social media has indeed become a vast platform by which many companies choose to endorse their products. If you’re not available on social media, you may as well be playing your own funeral march. Millennials are all about “checking-in” or using a hashtag to create a trending topic or tweeting or liking or anything else that allows them to feel involved in the company in a minor sense. It’s all part of an immersive experience. If they are denied that experience, they might just deny their service. Social media also aids in search engine optimization (SEO) and visibility. The more visible your site is, the more likely it is to be visited and, possibly, recommended.

3. Easy-to-Use

I already mentioned that millenials are changing our culture to the tune of convenience. They don’t want anything that is too difficult for them to maneuver or understand. The end result will be them simply giving up and then moving on to the next thing. You don’t want your site to be the thing millennials give up and move on from. You’ll want them to rave to their friends about how easy to use your site is. Believe me, I’ve had many conversations myself about how something in this day and age wasn’t user friendly. It’s a turn off. This tip is simple: if a consumer becomes frustrated using your site, then all they will remember are the negative feelings they established. If you ensure the easiness and fluidity of your site, then the millennials will keep coming back for more.

4. “Free”

Your consumers, particularly millennials, like to feel las though you need them, as if they are doing you a favor. So they want a little tit for tat and this can oftentimes be in addition to any loyalty program that is already in place. A great way to market to millennials is to have something “free.” This can be in the form of free shipping or something as simple as a free gift with purchase. Everybody, not just millennials, likes to get something for free. Millennials just happen to be the subject at the moment. Millennials tend to look for deals before they make a decision on purchasing. If you can persuade them that your site is the best choice because of free shipping or a free gift, you’re golden.

Free shipping is your biggest bet because I’ve heard many a story about millennials loving the products, but changing their minds because of the shipping price. A lot of sites have it where you have to reach a certain minimum in order to get free shipping, which is good for two reasons. One, it increases your revenue. Consumers, for some reason, never want to pay for shipping (which is one reason why Amazon is such a hit). Two, it tells your consumers that free shipping is an option and they love that. There are still those sites out there that make you pay for shipping no matter how much you spend. If it is imperative for consumers using your site to pay for shipping (perhaps this is something unavoidable because of shipping costs in your area or your third party logistics provider), then you’ll want to sweeten the pot somehow. Giving away free items is a great way to go.

5. Loyalty Perks

I am, personally, a huge fan of Barnes and Noble. I sing their praises everywhere I go. I am constantly trying to persuade someone to get the membership. I am loyal to them. Their membership, for me, is totally worth it. For $25 a year I get a minimum of 10% off of every purchase. That amount goes up if there is a sale or a coupon. I’ve gotten as much as 60% off a book--and these are new releases! The membership pays for itself at that point.

The steals make it all worth it, but it’s the fact that they are loyal to me that really keeps me coming back. I can use almost as many coupons as I want, online shipping is always free for members (with no minimum purchase), I get coupons all the time, what could I possibly want with another place? Last Christmas, Barnes and Noble sent me a $10 gift card free and clear. I hadn’t done anything special, it was simply a thank you for being a customer. They understand that I can take my business anywhere, but they choose to make the effort to ensure that I go to them and that, my friend, is what you need to do with your ecommerce store. I’m not saying that you have to give away gift cards during the Christmas season (though I promise it wouldn’t hurt), but something as simple as the periodic coupon can persuade those millennials to keep breaking down your door the way I do that of Barnes and Noble.

Conclusion

These tips are not meant to alienate other generations, such as baby boomers. They’re simply recommendations one can use so that millennials are inclusive in your marketing strategy. They’re meant to enhance your already awesome platform. In a perfect world, your site would be able to market to all generations completely. That may be a possibility for some, but a struggle for others. Millennials are the key demographic and utilizing these tips are a sure fire way to rally them to your cause. The sooner you ensnare them the better. The last thing you want is to be behind the wave.

Tags: ecommerce, marketing, millennials