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Millennials: Retail’s New Bread and Butter

Something you may not know about Millennials is that they are a technically savvy generation. Ok, maybe that’s not quite a surprise because many Millennials grew up with the Internet and were able to find information with a couple of key stokes. On the other hand, Gen X and Baby Boomers had to go to a library, navigate the Dewy Decimal System through a ridiculously cumbersome card catalog, or search through 87 volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica to find their content. Information has become easier and easier to absorb throughout the years and the millennial generation is able to consume more content faster and easier than any other generation in history.

Currently, the millennial generation makes up about 25% of the U.S. population, which makes their generation larger than the Baby Boomers. The purchasing power of this generation measures above a Trillion dollars! That’s more than one thousand times Michael Jordan’s net worth, or 1.3 million times a million. Either way that’s a lot of money that Millennials are adding into circulation. Understanding their immense spending ability, retailers need to set aside any negative perceptions about this generation and embrace what gets their attention. Here’s a tip…IT’S SOCIAL MEDIA!

Social media has become the number one way that Millennials become informed about products and brands. Now that we live in the Smart Phone age exposure to content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat happens anywhere at any time.

Some retailers may think, “Millennials are always on the move and bouncing from platform to platform, making it difficult to know if my message is even reaching them. They rarely engage, so why should I invest my time and money to market via social media?” Just because you don’t get a like, share, favorite or comment does not mean that Millennials are not absorbing your content. The Millennial’s ability to absorb information quickly is remarkable and cannot be understated; they have been trained to identify and retain content in more efficient ways than any previous generation.

So in the vast and ever expanding world of social media, how do you go about getting a Millennial’s attention?

  • Be true to your brand. Less than genuine efforts are easily noticed and you will be quickly disregarded.
  • Beware of thinking that your social media preferences are the same as others; Snapchat and Instagram actually have more millennial users than Twitter, so be sure to broaden your social media platform range.
  • Teach them something about your brand. Use your social media posts to teach your millennial audience some history or fun facts. Show them your business is cool.
  • You are asking them for their attention and business so give them something back. Use real time discounts and promotions.
  • Make Millennials feel like they are a part of your brand. When they do engage, use their content. Millennials will be more receptive to your brand if you take notice and use their thoughts, plus it shows that you are listening.

Trying to keep up with the millennial generation is not going to be easy. Technology and new ideas on how to connect to others happen very quickly today. Media outlets sprout up faster than the dandelions in your neighbor’s yard, and the next Facebook could be one of them. So, as a retailer these days, you need to seriously step up your game, embrace the new, and expand your marketing efforts beyond traditional methods. If you are already marketing your business through social media, great, but don’t stop there. Become more knowledgeable about all of the different social platforms, their distinct nuances and how best to utilize them. Seem exhausting and daunting? Perhaps, but you could always hire a Millennial to do it for you.

Why do I work at AWG? “Having grown up locally, my second job as a teenager was actually at Price Chopper on 78th and State Ave., also throughout the years I have known many family and friends that have worked, or are still employed with AWG. Given all my exposure to AWG I have seen a stable, growing, company that cares about it’s employees. The qualities which I hold highest from an employer.” -Bryan