From duck-faced selfies to tell-all Tumblr posts, the generation dubbed ‘millennials’ are often branded narcissistic and self-absorbed. This, along with their constantly shifting habits, has made millennials a difficult demographic for most retailers to reach. Howard Williams, marketing director of digital engagement software specialist Parker Software, demystifies the connected generation.
The digital age has created a unique social phenomenon. The interconnected nature of modern technologies such as smartphones and social networking has changed the dynamic between generations, with clearly defined cultural divides ceasing to exist. Millennials are now exposed to an amalgamation of behaviours and cultures, creating a world without clear barriers that changes and develops quickly.
It’s for this reason that millennials are such a roadblock to retailers. In defying convention, they’ve forced businesses to reconsider their sales approaches for the digital age. It has even thrown the idea of brand loyalty into question, with technology driving hastily evolving shopping habits and informing customers like never before.
However, one of the most common misconceptions about millennials is that this technology has alienated them from shopping in the traditional sense — by visiting a high street shop. While retail has moved online and the structure of sales has had to adjust accordingly, shopping habits haven’t advanced as much as many may believe. In fact, traditional sales approaches may be more effective now than ever.
The high street was always a competitive environment for retailers, with each store pushing for attention through eye-catching advertisements and street teams. Things have only become more competitive as retail has moved online, with stores competing against one another on a global scale — it’s not simply enough to be better than the store next door, you’ve also got to be better than the stores in the rest of the world.
Yet the human touch hasn’t lost its appeal. The way businesses could gain a competitive advantage on the high street was to offer an outstanding customer service — connecting with their customers on an emotional level and subconsciously beckoning them back. In a digital world, direct communication has become all the more important in letting companies connect with millennials.
By using live chat software, members of the customer service or sales teams become available in real-time for people to direct their enquiries, complaints or queries to. Something as simple as that can make the difference between a millennial that visits only once and one that comes back time and time again.
To reinforce this attitude, retailers should also consider offering a bespoke shopping experience to millennials. Social media has created a web-based culture where customisation is both desired and expected, so brands should seek to tap into this by offering marketing that speaks to individuals.
Reverse IP lookup enables retailers to identify what pages a visitor has clicked on and how long they spent browsing that page. By feeding this data through software that provides intelligent email marketing capabilities, businesses can ensure that they send only highly targeted suggestions to customers.
These capabilities can get expensive for retailers though, unless they are able to find a product that combines them all into one package. Parker Software’s suite of business automation tools, for example, provides exactly this. ProspectAgent offers IP lookup to businesses and ThinkAutomation is able to use this data to inform intelligent marketing — all through a series of processes that require little employee input, letting them focus on other important tasks. ThinkAutomation can even connect a customer service representative directly to a website visitor automatically, allowing a B2B sales organisation to imitate the service provided by a sales representative in a traditional shop.
Meanwhile, WhosOn provides interactive live chat, allowing people to talk to people readily and comfortably in a context that mirrors WhatsApp and other messaging functions, creating a further level of comfort for millennials.
It is easy to think of millennials as disloyal or self-obsessed. In reality, the cold connectivity of modern technology has left many of them isolated and yearning for a human experience. Brands that can deliver this experience, communicating with them and offering a unique and tailored approach to marketing, will be those rewarded with that all-important loyalty.
By Howard Williams, Marketing Director at Parker Software. Overseeing the daily activities of Parker Software's marketing team, Howard's vision is to grow the ThinkAutomation suite into new markets and establish WhosOn as the foremost live chat solution for the enterprise sector. To discuss your digital business needs contact or call 0330 088 2943 now.