Catering to Millennials: How They Want to Shop


Just having an online business presence isn’t enough anymore. The Millennial generation is becoming more and more of a force in business and they won’t be satisfied if you just have “a website.” If you want to boost your sales in the short term and set your business up to snag the interest and attention of this generation through their adult lives, you should be paying attention to the way that they want to shop. Meeting them on their terms will give you a foothold into the industry that other companies might miss.

On the Go with Mobile Shopping

In the 4th Quarter of 2013, over 26 percent of page views for sales sites came from mobile devices. Whether it was a tablet computer or a smartphone, the Millennials don’t want to be tied down. They can turn every bus ride, every elevator delay, and every second of their lunch break into a shopping opportunity. You don’t want to miss out on their income. In order to tap into this somewhat impulsive market you should make sure that your website is streamlined to optimize mobile viewing. In most cases it’s not necessary to build a separate mobile website. Unless you anticipate handling a very large amount of traffic at a constant rate or you know that the vast majority of your clients will be viewing your site only from their mobile devices, you shouldn’t worry about something that drastic. Just make sure that text is readable and navigation is easy to operate on a touchscreen device.

In addition to mobile shopping, Millennials respond well to businesses that show they’re up to date with wireless technology. A wireless barcode printer from Shopify, for example, is the kind of technology that they find reassuring rather than exciting or new. There’s a base level of technology that they expect to find in modern places that they can trust.

Always via Their Credit Card 

Cash only businesses are on their way out. That’s never been clearer than in the last few years, when just 27 percent of purchases were made with cash, according to National Journal. Millennials are the forefront of the no paper transaction trend. One in five of them don’t even carry cash with them, and of those who do 60 percent carry less than $20. This means that if your business sells things that cost a little more you’re almost certainly going to need a credit or digital payment option. In fact, the more options you have, the better. Millennials get a little bit attached to their preferred method of payment and you don’t want to turn them down for something that could be so easy to accommodate.

Convenience Above All

The desire for convenience doesn’t end when a Millennial wants to use their debit card instead of cash. They want things to be simple, straightforward, and efficient. This doesn’t mean that they don’t want any fun involved, however. In fact, Millennials put an emphasis on having personal time even when they’re at work. Given that this is the case, they want a lot of options when it comes to how they interact with your store (both online and in person) and how they get their products. Many Millennials want things shipped not to their home (which might be difficult if they live in an apartment) but to a store where they can pick it up in their own time.

In addition, Millennials don’t think that a product stops being the company’s problem once they’ve bought it. Perks and adjustments to existing products are one of the hottest impulse buy categories now, according to Martin Designs. Referred to as micro transactions, these small perks and upgrades will keep a customer happily coming back to the business for months or years to come just to tweak things on an already beloved product.

Where Their Friends Shop

It’s not just that Millennials are so connected to the hive mind that they can’t think for themselves—though that’s what a lot of the older generations like to believe. Having a social media campaign can really spread the word about your brand, but not just the way that you think. Following that other people in their social group bring up on social media is like getting a personal recommendation from someone. When a teen girl learns of a new brand, she’s likely to tell a friend or sister about it, with almost 80 percent choosing to text this information, according to Arch Point Consulting. This means that you should be getting your brand out there as soon as possible. At the very least you should have social media pages where people can like or otherwise subscribe to you. This lets other Millennials know that you have someone’s seal of approval.



About the Author

Financial professional and online entrepreneur, I'm best known as The Financial Blogger. I want to make money because I like enjoying life the way it should be; with a lot of great food and wine! I also love to spend time with my lovely wife and 3 kids!