Over the past few years the retail environment, specifically how a consumer goes about learning about your product and purchasing your product, has changed drastically. There is a new generation out there purchasing products and they have very different traits than the previous generations. We are speaking about Generation Y. It is important for all retailers out there to understand who Generation Y is, how the retail landscape has changed with this generation, and how you sell to them. This is important because there are over 80 million of them and they have an annual spending power of about $1.5 trillion dollars a year. This article will illustrate different ways to adapt to and sell to Generation Y.
The first question is, Who is Gen Y? Generation Y, also known as the echo-boomers, are the offspring of the baby boomers. The years that represent Generation Y are often debatable, but they are typically born between the early 1980’s through the early 2000’s. This Generation is often referred to as the trophy generation because they grew up receiving trophies for merely participating in a sport. Therefore, they may seem to be a bit spoiled and overly confident individuals. They also grew up glued to the television. This makes it more difficult for marketers to reach them through traditional channels because they tune out ads. A few other common traits Generation Y have are that they hate to be sold to, they want transparency, they are indecisive, support non-profits, want to ‘go green’, want everything to be customized to them, prefer texts and email to phone calls, and they are impatient. The list could go on about the traits of Generation Y, but the more important part to discuss is the retail environment today and how to sell to this generation.
There has been a shift in the way consumers do business with retailers. Generation Y is a different type of consumer and the traits that they possess have caused the retail environment to change. Not only do they have a desire to do business and purchase differently, but they also have a strong influence on the other Generations. One retailer that understood this before anyone else is Apple. Apple was one of the first companies to adapt to Generation Y and tailor their products to appeal to them. You can also walk into any store and find 65 year old consumers using iPhones. This means that consumers as a whole have been influenced by the new Generation and their expectations have changed. Consumers today want to be engaged, have transparency, and for it to be convenient when purchasing.
Lastly, we need to focus on how to sell to this Generation because it is said that by 2015, Generation Y will become the most significant spending group. A few ways to sell to Generation Y are explained below:
- Transparency is very important. This generation grew up with the Internet. They have a lot of knowledge and power, but the more transparent you are, the more they will trust you.
- Use social media and the web for advertising, communication, and transacting. They live on the web and prefer to communicate through the web, if possible.
- Set yourself a part by having a unique selling point. The competition is stronger due to the Internet. Consumers these days do not think twice about buying Internationally.
- Become a trusted partner, don’t just sell to them. They are less loyal than previous Generations. Make them feel like they are special and that they are more than just a sale to you.
- Make sure your past customers are happy, even better, get them to praise you. Generation Y listens to their peers first, parents second. Online reviews are very important to them.
- They are impatient, transactions need to be quick and convenient.
- They LOVE giveaways and try-buys. You may want to throw in an extra item for their purchase or do a give-away of an item to increase engagement.
- Engagement is key. They want to be engaged in all of their transactions.
- Have a Vision for the future. They want to know what your plans are for tomorrow.
A lot of companies have started to make changes to adapt to Generation Y. The ones that haven’t, need to consider the size and spending power of these consumers. The future of retail is changing. In order to remain successful companies, it is very important to be educated on the changes and to adjust how we interact with consumers.