The Times They Are a Changin’: How to Earn Loyalty in a Millennial Dominated Market
Bob Dylan’s poetic lyrics may be timeless, but when it comes to earning customer loyalty, the times are consistently changing. While in the past baby boomers may have been thrilled to collect stamps on a paper business card, millennials demand a new kind of TLC. In America alone, the country’s eight million millennials represent a quarter of the entire population, and a huge £160 billion in annual buying power. For retailers this means one thing. Winning over millennials should be at the top of the priority list.
One of the biggest myths surrounding millennials is the fact that by definition, they’re incapable of being brand loyal. Research proves otherwise, with study after revered study indicating that with the right approach, millennials can be turned into high value, repeat customers. In fact, in a recent Bond Brand Loyalty study millennials were pinpointed as a key demographic for brand loyalty programs, with 68% confirming they’d change their shopping behaviours in order to score more rewards. Furthermore, one-third admitted to buying a product they didn’t need or want, simply to earn points or boost membership status. So, despite their negative reputation, millennials can be a hugely valuable market.
Millennials single handily pioneered the smartphone takeover, so it comes as no surprise that this generation responds well to handheld devices. Thrive Analytics reports that of all millennial respondents sharing their location with businesses, 71% did so in order to receive offers and deals. This means that in order to stay relevant, businesses need to be developing loyalty programmes with a mobile-first focus.
To millennials, social media is now a primary platform to source information on brands, products and deals. For brands, this means that a dynamic social media presence is a must.
The value of rebates
Fuelled by fast-paced lifestyles and an ‘instant gratification’ mindset, millennials prefer to cash in on high-value rebates over discounts and vouchers that can be used at a later date.
Transparency is key
With smartphones at their fingertips, millennials have become fiercely savvy shoppers. For brands, this means there’s no room for ambiguity when it comes to loyalty programmes, price promises and other big claims.
A huge 87% of millennials donate to non-profit organisations, which means that earning loyalty has a lot to do with brand philosophies. Millennials have fallen hard for the concept of a ‘participation economy’ that allows them not just to consume, but contribute to, create and influence the behaviours of brands they love. There’s a reason TOMS Shoes emerged as a cult brand, and it’s not just because its canvas shoes are comfortable.
So, while millennials may seem like a tough and somewhat erratic market to crack, earning customer loyalty is not impossible. In fact, with the right tactics, rewards programmes and communication mediums in place, Gen Y is more than happy to stay faithful.
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