Millennial Shopping Trends: How Marketers Should Plan for 2020

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Millennials, generally defined as people born between the years 1981 and 1996, should be considered the first truly digital generation and are the demographic that every brand wants to win over. But the first trick in gaining their loyalty involves getting their attention and, much more importantly, maintaining it. This is not an easy task as younger consumers aren’t as likely as Generation-Xers or Baby Boomers to respond to traditional advertising or marketing strategies. So, innovative measures will need to be taken to win over this lucrative sector of society.

No marketer can afford to ignore the sheer spending power that Millennials have and they should be seeking the best ways possible to tap into this large and diverse market. There are almost seventeen million Millennials currently in the UK which makes up just over a quarter of the total population, second in size behind only the baby boomer generation. However, Millennials already make up the largest generational workforce in the country and are far and away the biggest spenders online as consumers in this age bracket are now spending more online than any other group, despite having lower average incomes and overall net worths than older generations.

How Millennials are the Biggest Opportunity and Threat to Businesses

Despite being arguably the most lucrative demographic to market to, Millennials are also potentially the most challenging. As they are the first generation to grow up with the internet, smartphones, social media and a number of other technological advancements, Millennials tend to be very tech-savvy and quick to adopt new technologies when they appear. Yet because of their familiarity with this medium, they are also notoriously, almost instinctively distrustful of commercial or traditional advertising. The types of approaches and promotional content that is effective for older generations, will be usually ineffective and wasted when targeted towards a Millennial audience.

Millennial Buying Trends 2020

Millennials grew up learning not only how to use ever-shifting modern technologies but also how to quickly and effectively review any advertising content placed in front of them. They are well versed in how to avoid falling for marketing ploys and won’t hesitate to call them out when they see it.

All of this leads us to a number of questions that you’re probably asking yourself at this point. Namely, how do you get the attention of Millennials if traditional methods are normally unsuccessful? What are the trends for Millennials in 2020 to target as well as further into the future? And, probably most importantly, what is the best way to market to Millennials in 2020?

10 Key Marketing Strategies You Can Use to Target Millennials in 2020

1. Optimise your Social Media Platforms

What Millennials are interested in 2020 will shape a lot of your overall approaches, however, one thing that can’t be disputed is that social media is everything when it comes to Millennials and this is where a large amount of your focus should be placed. In regards to Millennials, effective social media platforms drive the most significant traffic back to brands and websites.

GoPro is a great example to take inspiration from. Their social media platforms combine a well-balanced mix of video, imagery, challenges and giveaways all while promoting their brand ethos and mentality. Social-media presence should be viewed as a symbol of acceptance with Millennials who want to know about your brand through your social channels, so give them what they want, where they want it.

2. Word of Mouth

It isn’t just all about socials though. If Millennials hear a recommendation from a friend or colleague, it makes them much more likely to try and buy a product than if they just happen upon it in a print or traditional ad. They trust their friends more than their trust companies so getting your message spread through word of mouth can have a much greater impact on their likelihood to convert. So trialling and offering samples or test periods for potential consumers is key, something that Dollar Shave Club did to perfection, even offering you your money back with the ability to keep the product, just in order to disrupt and then corner the market. Once Millennials try a product, you are that much more likely to win a customer and if they liked their experience, they are likely to pass the message on for you anyway.

3. Respond Immediately

Millennials are very good at detecting things that seem too good to be true. They will engage with something and then have a multitude of questions that they will want fast and accurate answers to. They are not shy when it comes to communicating with you. They will ask questions on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and any other place they can find you, all while expecting very fast and accurate responses. If you are unable to do this it will sow seeds of doubt and mistrust in their mind from the outset so having people in your company that are dedicated to responding to questions as and when they come in is vital in order to win their business.

4. Appeal to their Values

Finding a company that matches their values is a make or break decision for Millennials. Even if they like your products, if your values don’t align, they will not work with you. This is becoming more and more apparent in regards to issues such as equality, climate change and sustainability which are always at the forefront of most Millennials minds when shopping. Clothing brand Rapanui fully leans into their ethos surrounding sustainability, making it the central pillar of their marketing business. The shout about their mission statement, go into detail about the journey their products take as they say ‘from seed to shop’ and they talk about their usage of renewable energy and plastic-free packaging before even showcasing their clothing. By appealing to values first, brands will connect with a Millennial audience first following which they are much more likely to become a repeat customer.

5. Work with Influencers Sincerely

Millennials put extreme trust into the recommendations of influencers so forming strong, sincere relationships with the right ones is a crucial aspect of your marketing strategy. This doesn’t just mean finding the people the biggest following and getting them to promote your products. In many ways, working the right influencer is better than working with the biggest one. Influencers can provide an engaged audience whose views normally align with the people they are following. Similar to the word of mouth section, Millennials are much more likely to trust the words of an influencer they value than you could ever hope to achieve through traditional ad-based methods. When an influencer promotes a brand, it won’t feel like an ad to a Millennial, it will feel like a good friend recommending a product if done sincerely.

6. Be Authentic

Remember when we said Millennials can spot disingenuous ads? They can spot inauthentic companies from a mile away as well. It doesn’t matter what it is you’re selling, what your mission is or your overall style, it all has to be authentic and truthful. Regardless if it is something very straight-laced or something completely insane, authenticity is king. Clothing and ski apparel brand Shinesty accept and display their madness in a truly honest manner. On their website, in their physical ads, with their newsletters and on their social media accounts they connect with Millennials because they stay true to themselves. No matter how crazy they may seem, they are just staying true to who they are, a trait Millennials value incredibly highly.

7. Listen When They Speak

One of the apparent Millennial generation trends is that they are fantastic at telling you what they love, and, more importantly, what they hate. By just simply listening to what they have to say, they will give you all the information you need to win them over. Every decision you make in regards to Millennials should be informed by listening to what they have to say. By involving Millennials into your brand processes, it creates a situation where they won’t just like your products, but they will also feel like a genuine part of your company itself and will be invested in your successes.

8. Reviews Are Everything

Shopify Marketing App, appnova

Reviews not only have the power to influence consumer decisions and strengthen your credibility, but they also have the power to drastically reduce the likelihood of people interacting with your business. Essentially, positive customer interactions ultimately lead to improved conversions and reviews are a great way to offer an opportunity for businesses and customers to form a relationship. If a Millennial sees a wealth of positive reviews left by other users, they are likely to use your brand, if they see a couple relating negative experiences, they won’t hesitate to look elsewhere.

9. Experiences over Products

In regards to Millennials, the overall experience of interacting with your brand is just as important as the quality of the product you are offering. Shifting your ads, social media posts and website copy to focus more on the experience of using your products as opposed to just the products themselves is a surefire way to get them to invest in what you are doing. You should be looking to create experiences that Millennials want to be a part of so they can feel like a part of something greater than themselves, something the aforementioned GoPro do better than almost anyone else.

10. Give Them All the Information You Have

In regards to Millennials, there is no such thing as too much information. They don’t just want to throw money away and are not afraid to put a significant amount of time into researching everything before they purchase. So give them everything they need to know. This can be in the form of informative videos, how-to guides, newsletters, blog posts or anything else you can think of that might help. Patagonia does this to perfection. They engage their audience through storytelling on their blog and give them everything they need to know about the company itself. Almost all of these posts involve personal stories, which are enjoyable, interesting, and, most importantly, real. Most blog posts do not even mention Patagonia – instead, they focus on adventures, sports, environmental issues, user experiences all so the customer can know everything about them before making a purchase.

Final Thoughts

Whether you are looking to create a marketing strategy for luxury brands or a sustainable clothing company, Millennials will more than likely be a major part of your target demographic. Despite being notoriously tricky to market to, if done correctly and sincerely, they are a fiercely loyal group that offers a great opportunity for repeat business. By adhering to key strategies listed in this article getting them on board can be easier than you think. However, ensuring that you get your strategy right is pivotal so getting help from experts who have experience designing eCommerce websites specifically targeting Millennials is also an important step in the process.

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