Always a hot topic among marketers, Millennials are once again poised to drive sales this Black Friday season. That's because while many shoppers think Black Friday deals aren't as good as they used to be, Millennials - more than any other age group - stand out as a group of customers that is most excited to shop this Black Friday.
Attracting Millennials require a solid marketing strategy, however, and retailers need a deep understanding of these customers if they want to meet their needs and demands. Delivering on that strategy requires answering 3 important questions about this empowered group of customers:
Question 1: What type of products and deals are Millennials looking for?
Millennial shoppers will be the most prevalent shopping group this Black Friday. That's what we found when we engaged 1,024 American adult shoppers and asked them about their plans for the 2015 Black Friday shopping season.
Just about two-thirds of Millennials plan on shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with participation skewing toward female Millennials for Cyber Monday. Male Millennials are much more likely to shop during Gray Thursday and the month-long Black Friday season compared to their female counterparts.
Millennials are important for marketers this Black Friday not only because they are likely to brave the lines, but also because they plan to spend, on average, $530. But marketers need to offer Millennials the right product and promotional mix to appeal to them - and getting those marketing elements right requires a deep understanding of what these customers are looking for.
One thing we know for sure: Millennials plan to spend their money buying products for themselves. But at the same time, Millennials only trail Generation Xers (aged 35-54) when it comes to spending on gifts.
Question 2: How can we use technology to improve the Black Friday customer experience?
Millennials are the most tech-savvy age cohort vis-ÌÊ-vis Generation X and the Boomers . Among Millennial shoppers, four in ten transactions will be done on a mobile device. In addition, four in ten mobile transactions will be done on a mobile device while shoppers are out and about.
But there are slight differences among Millennial male and female shoppers. Female shoppers prefer using smartphones slightly more than Millennial males do, while Millennial males are more likely to use mobile devices while on the go.
Many retailers are trying to capitalize on the popularity of mobile devices by playing with location-based technology, including geofencing and in-store beacons. But implementing these technologies require careful planning because some shoppers believe these tactics cross the "creepy line." And while these technologies are cool, they may not necessarily provide value to the shopping experience.
Having a deeper understanding on how and why Millennials tend to use which tech devices, at what locations, and to complete what types of tasks will provide the insight that retailers need in order to make this decision.
Question 3: How can we optimize our omnichannel strategy?
Compared to any other shopper group that we've looked at, Millennial males lead the charge on mobile commerce (m-commerce), including mobile shopping and mobile payments. They are the shopper group that's most likely to browse and buy products while in-store. And if the option is available, they plan to try pay with mobile wallet while in store. On the other hand, Millennial females are savvier at searching for coupons on mobile while in-store.
Given the various roles that mobile devices play in the path to purchase for a typical Millennial, retailers need to figure out omnichannel retailing - and they need to do so fast. Not only do customers want to shop the most convenient channel or on whatever device happens to be in front of them, they also want to be able to do it wherever they are. If you're not ready for this yet, you should be soon, because this is the future and engaging with Millennials directly will help you figure out your omnichannel strategy.
Providing a seamless, enjoyable experience to all your customers is important, but it is even more critical at this time of the year. Using these 3 questions as starting points, continuously engaging your online community of Millennials can provide the marketing edge you need to win this Black Friday season and throughout the year.