Millennials: Roadblocks or Enablers of Success?


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Anything can go viral these days – that includes product reviews and customer stories. Posts about customer experiences are easily published from any device, anytime, and last forever as an online archive that becomes a permanent part of a brand identity. Millennials have overtaken the consumer market – they are even projected to overtake Baby Boomers in total population this year – and as avid social media users, this generation holds the power to make or break a brand image. Millennial shoppers are the new brand ambassadors whether companies like it or not, so it is about time they get serious about giving them what they want.

This digitally fluent generation has grown accustom to instant satisfaction at the click of a button, and they expect brands to cater to their needs and desires. These choosy shoppers are a shrewd judge of products and experiences, willing to switch products when something that speaks to them more comes along. Pleasing them is no easy feat, let alone winning their loyalty, which is why getting inside the typical millennial’s head and showing them exactly what they want to see is essential to maintaining profitability in any industry. Here are the ways modern brands can become a reflection of the millennial customers they mean to win over.

Get Inside Their Heads – And Their Posts

Displaying values that align with millennial thinking attracts the generation to brands. This younger breed of buyer wants their purchases to reflect their guiding philosophies on living their lives, typically this includes sustainability, charity, cultural appreciation, and global good. Consumers are not only more likely to buy products with causes and associations they believe in, they are more likely to post about them organically, generating completely natural marketing material.

Traditional tactics of begging consumers to subscribe to certain brand channels have lost their believability. More and more potential customers are looking directly to their peers’ own posts to identify the brands worth their while. These unsolicited posts ring true with people looking for that authentic recommendation. This “human” communication actually increases the likelihood of customers purchasing a product by 1.6 times according to Forrester Consulting.

But getting into a millennial’s head and identifying the causes close to their heart is not as simple as gleaning insights from email marketing campaigns, it requires a far more modern back-end processes and technology to collect and analyze data.

Use Tech to Tailor the Customer Experience

Providing a unique experience that is not only differentiated from the competition, but also makes the individual feel that the brand truly understands them is a job for modern technology. Millennials want brands to “get” them as a generation, but more importantly, they want brands who know them at the personal level. Companies can create this effect by embracing machine learning and AI to ditch the one-size-fits-all tactic of stocking stores.

The future lies in offering distinct locations particular inventory based on what is trending in that district. By leveraging localized customer data, brands can create micro-assortments of product selections that will fit the exact needs of that culture and community. Machine learning and AI make these regional assortments possible and have the power to further create selections down to the individual shopper. Imagine receiving a special offer from a retailer in which all the products shown were exactly your style – or notifications on when a product that coordinates with your past purchases goes on sale. This sort of special treatment is what millennials are experiencing in digital services like Netflix – which makes searching through its catalogue unnecessary by displaying the type of shows and films the individual will want to watch up front. With this AI enabled decision-making, digital and physical retailers alike can take the work out of shopping or searching for what you want and make the entire process easy.

Follow-Through Is Everything

A negative review on social media can be the kiss of death for small retailers, and more often than not, they have to do with supply chain problems. Once a brand has attracted a customer to its product, the relationship does not end with the purchase, the customer still needs to receive the item – preferably on time. Millennials are nothing if not instant satisfaction seekers. This prompt delivery time is essential in keeping them coming back as customers.

It may be concerning then, to know that 80 percent of data necessary in keeping supply chains running smoothly lives outside the walls of the company. Luckily, there are networked solutions that offer retailers a bird’s eye view into where their products are at all times – and how they are being made. This is especially important as millennial consumers become more and more conscious of the sustainability practices of their brands.

Millennials are not roadblocks to success, they are the ambassadors every brand needs- if they are treated right. Prioritize their values, give them the personalized treatment, and deliver products ethically and on time. The social media accounts of millennial consumers will be the best marketing brands ever had.

Erick Rowe
As the Strategy lead for Infor’s Retail and Fashion business, Erick is leading the strategy to build next generation solutions to address the digital disruption taking place in the fashion and retail industry. Through his ongoing engagement with customers, he collaborates with them to define and optimize approaches to accelerate their business by leveraging the Infor suite of software applications. Before Infor, Erick worked at Oracle and Target where he led groups that managed product strategy, solution marketing and business development for merchandising and commerce solutions.


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