Millennial and Gen Z collectively form the world’s most potential and promising market segment. They primarily comprise of college and university students, office goers, working professionals, self-employed and business owners. They are almost everywhere. It’s no wonder that the retail enterprises are tailoring their marketing strategies toward wooing the Millennial and Gen Z – the next generation customers. But fewer retail players succeed in this pursuit.
Retailers cannot devise effective marketing strategies without knowledge of the key features and characteristics of its target market segment. One of the areas where most retailers struggle in reaching out to the next generation customers is communication. The primary reasons for this are hasty assumptions and non customised solutions caused by mis-identification of essential characteristics and dynamics of the next generation customers.
Few key characteristics of next generation customers
Tech savvy; but not tech dependent – The next generation customers are very tech savvy. They are comfortable with online shopping and digital payment. But retailers should bear in mind that these buyers are not tech dependent. They do their own research and use their discretion to decide whether to buy something online or from the local retail store. It would be a rash decision to stereotype millennial as tech dependent.
Demanding and particular – Next generation customers have been found to be very demanding and particular in terms of what they want and availability of options and flexibilities at their disposal to choose from at the time of buying or during continuity of the services. Mobile phone manufacturers bring in product variation by offering multiple variants of same phone model to suit different needs of the users.
Sense of fairness and equality – Retailers should understand this very well that the next generation customers are well read, socially sensitive and gender neutral. Any form of unintended discrimination in dealings with customers should be fairly addressed as a top priority.
Health conscious and spiritual wellbeing – With rising awareness about fitness priorities and health related issues, the youth nowadays are conscious about their health and physical fitness. Recent years have also witnessed a growing attraction of the youth towards spiritual wellbeing; mostly to strike a work-life balance.
Environment conscious – Burning issues like global warming, rising levels of pollution, deforestation and rising prices of energy have caused alertness among the masses of this generation. The use of energy friendly and go-green measures like product recycling, digital communication and transactions (saving paper), tree plantation, hygienic and non-polluting waste disposal are received well in the good books of the next generation customers. Such measures also send across a positive image of the organisation.
By keeping in mind the needs and aspirations of the next generation customers, retail enterprises can devise an effective communication strategy and select appropriate tools and mediums of communication to connect with the next generation customers.
Brand ambassadors – Having a brand ambassador lends a virtual face to the product/service; facilitates customers relate the product or service with professional success and persona of the brand ambassador. But retail enterprises should be careful in selecting their brand ambassador while keeping in mind the priorities and expectations of next generation customers. The persona of the brand ambassador should reflect the dreams and aspirations of the new generation. Customers should be able to relate the brand ambassador with the nature of the product or service. For example, it would be more meaningful and sensitive to appoint a local sportsperson of national or international repute as brand ambassador by a local sports accessories store.
Advertisements – In the crowd of ads, it is even more difficult to grab the attention of next generation customers or make a long lasting impact on them. The less creative the ad, the quicker it fades away from customer’s memory; necessitating repetitions of ads.
With focus on next generation customers, it has become necessary to infuse in ads a creative mix of product information and product necessity with the right amount of emotions or a witty sense of humour, if possible with the reflections of relevant contemporary issues, accompanied by catchy but pleasant AV/textual content.
Today, we are living in the age of digital communication. Retail enterprises are gradually shifting their advertising campaigns from print media to the online space. The reason for this shift is obvious – achieve maximum visibility for the ads.
Online Presence – Out of over three billion internet users worldwide, a staggering two billion are active users of various social media platforms; driven by the strong online presence of the next generation.
So, it has become very important that retailers have a visible online presence to present them as an organisation, showcase their products and services, run promotional campaigns, and interact with customers like customer support over chat and moderation of user forums where customers share their experiences with the products and services.
Organizing or sponsorship – Retail enterprises can further enhance their connect with the next generation customers by organising or sponsoring local college fests and musical events or by sponsoring local artistes and sportsperson to national level competitions and events.
Feedback – Next generation customers appreciate that the products and services they use are periodically improved and customised to suit their needs. Retailers can develop a feedback collecting mechanism by means of providing their customers with simple offline or online questionnaires and consider ways of incorporating the feedback received.
CSR – Although CSR may sound like a domain of the big corporate houses, local retail enterprises too can do their bit by initiating or cooperating with the local people and local authorities in bringing about or fighting for a social or humanitarian cause. But they should not be flaunting such acts to promote their business.
In order to effectively connect and communicate with the next generation customers, retail enterprises must bring in more technology, element of interaction and reflection of the active needs and aspirations of the next generation customers; in the organisation’s online and offline communication processes.
To know more about “How you can enhance your customer experience?” get in touch with YRC Business Expert on [email protected]
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Chief Strategy Officer