Global retail e-commerce sales hit over $4.2 billion in 2020. This year, the industry is expected to reach around $4.9 billion, especially as the pandemic continues to limit the movement of populations all over the globe. Combined with the continuous shift of business towards the online space, we can only expect the e-commerce industry to progress even further in the following years.
Among the most notable changes in the e-commerce industry is the emergence of millennials and Gen Zs as the largest cohort of online consumers. Today, the world’s youngest generations make up a large percentage of online buyers, including the oldest millennials and teenaged Gen Zs. With that in mind, there is no better time for businesses to prioritize how they can attract these generations, which have unique consumer behaviors, just like the older ones.
Here are some of the best ways companies can turn millennial and Gen Z consumers into loyal customers:
Online consumers, regardless of age, prioritize convenience. And what can make online shopping more convenient than an app? The biggest retailers like Amazon and Shein have set the stage for retail apps, making it somewhat a standard for businesses to have their own apps for a more convenient shopping experience.
However, it’s not only the big name brands that should invest in this vital feature. Even small- to medium-sized businesses can and should develop their own shopping apps to improve the customer experience. Luckily, app development has become more accessible throughout the years. Today, businesses can hire a mobile app development agency to address their needs instead of developing their own apps by themselves.
Make websites mobile-friendly
Let’s say a customer doesn’t like a brand enough to download an app (or there is no app to download at all). The next thing they do to shop is to go on the company’s website—only to find out that the site is not mobile-friendly. Some customers would persist, but most would exit the website before exploring further, resulting in a high bounce rate.
Making websites mobile-friendly is imperative to a positive customer experience, and not just e-commerce businesses. Over half of online users use their mobiles to browse the Internet, and with the growing accessibility of smartphones, that number is only expected to rise in the following years.
For this reason alone, businesses of all types must make their websites mobile-friendly if they want to attract consumers, especially the youngest generations who use smartphones more than any other demographic.
Advertise on social media
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the holy trinity when it comes to social media advertising. Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find a millennial or Gen Z who doesn’t use at least one of these platforms. Hence, social media is one of the most competitive—yet effective—ways to reach the younger demographics.
However, advertising on social media can be tricky. Millennials and Gen Zs have developed a keen sense of which brands to follow and which brands to ignore. In general, they tend to follow brands that:
- Display a good sense of social and environmental responsibility
- Post aesthetically pleasing and attractive content
- Do not come off too “sales-y” in their pitches
- Offer the best value for money
- Hop on the latest trends—but not excessively
- Have a good brand personality instead of just being a faceless company
- Hire relevant, non-problematic influencers
Establishing a community
Millennial and Gen Z consumers crave “community” in e-commerce. They desire real-life consumer experiences while discovering new products and connecting with their peers. They crave human interactions as they would experience in in-person stores. All these things considered, e-commerce brands should incorporate the idea of a community into their marketing strategies to better connect with the younger generations.
There are many ways brands can do this. Here are several of the most common ones:
- Host virtual events and live streams
- Hold special sales throughout the year
- Hold pop-ups at several key locations
- Set up an exclusive community for loyal customers
- Work with social media influencers
- Host contents on social media
- Utilize user-generated content
Increase environmental responsibility
The younger generations are more environmentally conscious than any other age group, seeing as they were born into the age of global warming and natural disasters. As a result, these groups are warier consumers, opting for brands that put more effort into environmental sustainability and carbon neutrality.
Marketing to the younger age groups can sometimes be a hit or miss. But with these marketing strategies in place, businesses will be better able to attract and gain the loyalty of their millennial and Gen Z audiences.