Catering to millennials with a social shopping experience
Millennials are increasingly becoming primary participants in the social shopping experience. As Retail Solutions Online magazine noted, the millennial generation accounts for more than 80 million shoppers in the United States and is just coming of age and into their peak earning years. These customers are young and have disposable income to spend at retail stores. For many, the only expense is their college loans. By 2017, they are expected to outspend even baby boomers at the point-of-sale.
However, there is no denying the millennial age bracket is fundamentally different than other generations retailers have engaged in the past. While they have disposable income, they are also incredibly conscious of how they spend their money – they are always looking to spend as little as possible. They are highly educated and eco-conscious as well. All of these unique characteristics influence not only what they purchase, but also how they buy goods and relate to and engage with brands.
For instance, the news source was quick to point out how millennials take part in a “sharing economy.” They share everything, whether it’s pictures on Instagram, their thoughts on Facebook, product reviews via retail websites or even things such as cars through programs like ZipCar. As is the case with any effective engagement strategy, merchants must embrace these behaviors and incorporate them into the shopping experience if they want to captivate buyers.
Embracing the sharing economy
Shopping has always been a social experience, but as many merchants moved to online stores and digital experiences, they have not always embraced this aspect of shopping. Websites have traditionally been static content, people browse through different pages on their own and then make purchases, but retailers can capitalize on the social nature of customers through various means.
One way is through product reviews that allow people to share their opinions on the items they purchase. This allows them to become more engaged in the shopping experience and may even help convince other shoppers to make purchases if reviews are good. People look for product reviews, and if they are not on retailers’ websites, shoppers may go off-site to find them. Sellers should always look to keep people within their ecosystems, and having on-site reviews is one way to reduce bounce rates.
However, reviews are just the tip of the iceberg. Retailers can use social media in other ways to bolster the social shopping experience, whether it is by linking product pictures on Pinterest or sharing discounts on social media. To encourage sharing, retailers could even offer special incentives, such as coupons for future purchases. It is crucial to realize social shopping does not just happen on retail sites either – merchants need to utilize a variety of social networks to really embrace social shopping.
Loyalty has always been important for retailers, and when dealing with millennials, creating a social shopping experience may be the ticket that gets people coming back for repeat purchases.