The Millennial generation — people whose birth years range from the early 1980s to the early 2000s — are a part of the population that retailers simply can’t ignore. There are 80 million millennials in America alone that bring with them $200 billion in annual buying power.

To attract a younger audience to your retail shop and keep their attention, you have to maximize marketing and merchandising efforts by providing them with real value and unique products, all while rewarding them for their behavior.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind as you shape your marketing tactics, communications and strategies to gain millennials’ loyalty.

All Things Mobile

Millennials grew up with a mobile phone in their hands and those ages 25-34 spend more time on mobile apps than any other segment of the population. In fact, they’ve been found to spend almost six hours a day on their phones.

When they’re in a brick-and-mortar store, three-quarters of them use their smartphones to conduct research on products, and 68% of them consider their phone their most important and valuable device.

What this means for retailers is that to appeal to the Gen Y crowd, you have to have a mobile-friendly site and apps that are simple — and even fun — to use. The customer experience should be equally professional and personal, both in-store and online. You can build deeper connections with them by making sure that your customers enjoy a special curated journey, which will later lead to gaining their loyalty.

Get Creative With Advertising

A study conducted by HubSpot found that 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising, and spamming them with outbound marketing efforts like magazine ads, direct mail campaigns, and radio spots won’t impress them. To millennials, these come off as company-focused and impersonal.

To gain their attention, sales, and loyalty provide them with informative content that highlights leadership and expertise. Millennials are 44% more likely to trust experts, and they’re 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites.

This group is looking for helpful guidance — think YouTube, influencers, fun Instagram Stories with how-to’s — and when your brand takes the time to provide that, they’ll come to appreciate that and reward you with their loyalty.

Reward Them

It’s a stereotype that Millennials like to be pampered, but there is some truth behind that assessment. According to Hawk Incentives, Millennials are members in an average of 6.5 loyalty programs, higher than the overall average of 6.2 programs. Not only that, but they are  active in an average of 4.2 programs, and 55% of Millennial respondents said that some type of reward card would keep them most engaged.

The key to having a great loyalty program for Millennials? Reward certain behaviors beyond purchase. Consider rewarding behaviors such as brand advocacy, friend referrals, and social media shares. Millennials want to feel involved, and offering something more personal than just a creative souvenir will keep them coming back for more.

The Bottom Line

In closing, if you want to win over the loyalty of Millennials for your souvenir store or gift shop, you need to “wow” them with a personalized shopping experience that caters to their unique needs. Attend IGES held Nov. 5-8 and 6-9 in Sevierville and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee to source a diverse array of unique merchandise that will draw this demographic into your store and help increase your bottom line.

By Nicole Leinbach Reyhle

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