From Millennial to Alpha: Adapting for the Next-Generation Customer


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Millennials and Alphas are beginning enter into they period buying power. From boomers to alphas, the changing customer base signals the need for business owners to adapt and implement new marketing strategies.

Over the last century, statisticians and researchers have organized age groups into cohorts that seem to carry buying and value trends. In population and workforce representation, the largest group is “imaginatively” called millennials, reaching young adulthood around the beginning of the millennium.

Right behind them is the alpha generation, a new group that is just now entering into its buying power. From boomers to alphas, the changing of the generational guard signals the need for business owners to adapt and implement new marketing strategies.

Change Over the Generations

Each cohort comes with their own characteristics. The baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, are just beginning to move out of the workforce as they reach retirement age. This leaves the generation born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X, to command the workforce.

With employment comes buying power. Millennials, born between 1981 and 2000, are just entering the workforce. Being the largest of the cohorts, millennials are poised to change the face of retail. With less familial responsibility, millennials have more disposable income than other cohorts. As millennials age, a new generation is evolving to follow their footsteps. The alpha generation, born after 2001, is just reaching young adulthood, looking for jobs, and impacting the retail marketplace.

How The Next Generation of Customers Think

Digital technology and its impact on education is one of the most significant influences on each of the generational cohorts. Millennials are the first fully digital generation, rising in number in correspondence with the increase of home computer and cellular technology.

Unlike their predecessors, millennials and alphas were immersed in a collectivist educational style. Younger generations are accustomed to having what they want, when they want it. As they age into being a retail power, merchants need to accommodate this digital mentality, developing mobile-friendly, responsive sites that interact with social media platforms.

What These Customers Really Value

Over the last century, what people value in life has remained relatively consistent but the order in which they rank the values has changed. Every generation has family and career as a top five value, but the younger generation modifies this with a need for freedom and a blending of the work-home environment.

This is one of the reasons that millennials hold the largest percentage of freelance and self-employed persons. Their spending habits reflect this need for independence and balance. Compared to the generations before them, millennials are more likely to buy smaller impulse items and less likely to make large capital purchases like a house or car.

How Will We Connect With the Next Generation of Customers?

Millennials and the upcoming alphas will buy items the same way that they live. Purchasing needs to be around-the-clock, convenient, and social media interactive. Large distributors like Amazon and Etsy have already made the switch to interactive buying.

Gift provider FTD has taken their product line and introduced lines of products like candy baskets that skew to the younger generations, offered Internet buying, and are allowing social media links to their gift baskets. This kind of wraparound interaction fits well with the millennial attitude and prepares the retailer for the upcoming surge of alpha buying.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Flavio Martins
Flavio Martins is the VP of Operations and Customer Support at DigiCert, Inc., a leading provider of enterprise authentication services and high-assurance SSL certificates trusted by thousands of government, education, and Fortune 500 organizations. Flavio is an award-winning customer service blogger, customer service fanatic, and on a mission to show that organizations can use customer experience as a competitive advantage win customer loyalty. Blog: Win the Customer!


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