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Millennials In The Marketplace….What Makes Them Tick?

Written by Karin Sheridan

March 15, 2022

Millennials like to turn buying into something akin to a social event and it gets competitive! Take my daughter-in-law Farin and daughter Megan for example. Around Christmas time my brother told Megan about the ibotta app. She in turn told Farin, who downloaded the app and Megan received a $5 referral. It’s been on like Donkey Kong since then. Farin is using the heck outta that app. She’s accumulating some serious cash back on everything from milk and cheese to produce. So has Megan.

This is so typically Millennial. The sharing of information and passing along discounts. They put a lot of stock in other user-generated feedback. These are different creatures than we have ever experienced in the marketplace. Understanding them is really key if you want to sell to them.

As a generation they are just now entering into a life stage where making big purchases is finally occurring. Yes, its delayed but it’s here now. The “why” is certainly up for debate, and a whole conversation in and of itself. Let’s just stick to the now and my girls are a perfect example.

While making almost all purchases Millennials view pricing as dynamic from food to cars. They expect to get a discount or break. There is going to be some rebate, some discount, some app or reward program that is going to compensate them for making a purchase….and there almost always is. I just couldn’t imagine purchasing say, a washer and dryer, without actually being in the store looking at it. But a Millennial will and not think twice about it. Purchasing on-line is second nature. Another trait is their need to view other user-generated content on products…all most always. They put almost as much stock in a total stranger’s feedback as in their parents. (I still like to believe my kids put value in my opinion, so let me live in my own pretend world on this one, please) And cash….ask a Millennial for a buck and see what happens. It’s not that they won’t give you one; it’s that they don’t HAVE one! Cash? What’s that?

So how do we use this information to our advantage?

First off, as relatively new consumers Millennials are not yet brand driven. That’s good. It gives you the opportunity gather them as consumers to our brand, your store. Their loyalty is still up for grabs.  Since they share feedback, experiences and referrals on a daily basis, the “build it and they will come” theory can really work to your advantage, if you play your cards right. A good experience will almost always be accompanied by a positive post purchase comment, and vise versa. Couponing apps are big. So if you can participate in one, do it!

If you haven’t explored having an on-line ordering platform with drive-up pickup, now would be the time to do so. Fingertip buying-its second nature to them. Anything that will make the buying process easy they will respond too. With Millennials being your target demographic for the next 50 years, it’s almost imperative that you make these adaptions to your store and marketing before they move on to somewhere else that has. You just can’t take the same approach you have in the past.

I’ve yet to talk about your social causes. As a small community business this topic is even more imperative for you. There is a HUGE emphasis placed on shopping at businesses that promote their communities, contribute to social causes and has a charitable cause. I can NOT stress this enough. Your marketing should reflect your causes as well as your in-store audio messages and social media. Word will spread like wildfire.

You’re selling more than groceries these days…your selling an experience as well. Maybe that sounds hokey but it’s really true. Millennials are looking for a feel good type experience to accompany their purchases.

So all these topics I’ve been covering this month contribute in one way or another to the overall experience, and will ultimately determine just how much Millennials will relate to your store. Everyone needs to eat, so that means everyone needs to shop. Let’s get as many Millennials loyal to you as we can…because 50 years is a long time.


Blue Skies Everyone


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