Ecommerce for Millennials: How to Gain Their Loyalty

Woman standing in front of blackboard with think bubble drawn behind

Some marketers may say that millennials (those born between 1982 and 2004) aren’t loyal customers, but research shows otherwise with 64 percent of millennials considered to be brand loyal, or more brand loyal than their parents. But millennials do have specific purchasing habits that distinguish them from other customers.

Ecommerce businesses that wish to capitalize on millennial purchasing power should consider their values and habits when engaging them through customer loyalty programs. Those looking to win the hearts of this generation need to use strategies that resonate with them. And with millennials spending $600 billion per year, it’s worth investigating what makes them tick.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some tips you can use to transform your millennial ecommerce customers into loyal ones.

1. Mobile

When thinking about millennials, how you sell is almost as important as where you sell. And in case you had any doubts, that place is on mobile. Millennials are more likely than other consumers to use their mobiles to research and price compare and to pay for products.

In fact, 79.4 percent of millennial mothers said that mobile was an essential device for finding the best price on a product they were interested in, whilst 21 percent of millennials who are 25-34 years old use mobile to purchase at least once a week. Furthermore, 23 percent of millennials said that they shop with their favorite brand because they have an easy-to-use mobile site. 

It’s tough to ignore those stats, which means that having a mobile-friendly site is essential to keeping your millennial customers happy. And a perfect way to reach out to millennials on their mobiles can be through text, with millennials responding to call to actions through text 40 times more than through email.

2. Personalization

Personalization is a must-do for all generations, but even more so for millennials who have been weaned on it and therefore expect nothing less. Identifying their tastes and sending relevant offers that make them feel connected to your brand will help keep them shopping with you.

Chief of Marketing at Facebook, Gary Briggs puts it this way to marketers: “You know a lot about me. I’m liking things, I’m tweeting things. You should be able to put something relevant in front of me.”

63 percent of millennials don’t mind sharing their personal information if it means getting personalized deals and offers from businesses, highlighting how important this aspect is to them. When it comes to millennials, make sure to use the data you have available to offer them the deals they want. That will keep them shopping with you.

3. Corporate Social Responsibility

Did you know that 75 percent of millennials think it’s important for businesses to contribute to society rather than just concentrate on profit margins? And 39 percent take the time to look up sustainability information about a company before they buy something from them, leaving 4 out of 5 millennials more motivated to buy from a business that contributes to a cause they feel strongly about.

Linking a loyalty program with social and environmental causes stimulates millennial participation. Donating to charities, hosting events and other strategies can boost your standing with your millennial customers.

Consider this example…

TOMS Shoes makes a matching promise to their customers. For each pair of shoes bought, a pair is donated, which has seen over 60 million shoes donated to charity. Founder Blake Mycoskie explains: More and more [customers] understand what the impact of their purchases are on the rest of the world. By doing that, we’re able to form more loyal customers; we’re attracting new customers. While we spend a ton of money on giving, we also feel that there’s a real return on that investment.”

Finding a way to include social and environmental causes in your marketing to millennials will help you build your relationship with them. Knowing that their dollars are going towards a cause that’s important to them will increase their loyalty to your brand.

4. Status Rewards

70 percent of millennials would switch businesses for a better rewards program. So rewards do matter to them, but not all rewards programs are created equal. With millennials, use tiered rewards programs that recognize their continued loyalty and spending, instead of using blanket discounts or points programs.

This type of reward system is a play on gamification, giving millennials a stage to strive towards and rewarding them for their dedication. Don’t make it too easy to reach the highest tier, otherwise it takes the status away from the high-spending millennials who want to be recognized for it.

Studies show that for luxury brands, giving discounts through their loyalty programs backfired with millennials, while increasing the customer’s status worked well.

5. Social Media

Millennials are huge consumers of social media so incorporating it into loyalty programs helps to increase millennial engagement. Did you know that 88 percent of millennials look at news on Facebook, another 83 percent on YouTube and 50 percent on Instagram?

That’s great news for marketers wanting to woo millennials with social media.

Even better news is that social is highly shareable, meaning that any posts you share with your millennial customers can easily reverberate throughout the social media-sphere.

And did you know that 62 percent of millennials are more likely to become loyal customers of brands that engage them through social media? Incorporating social into your loyalty program will score big points with this group of shoppers.

But we also must not forget that the visual aspect of a loyalty program is essential to captivating the millennial generation. Plain text doesn’t speak to this crowd, particularly since they tend to have shorter attention spans than other customers. Visual information is processed by the human brain 60,000 times faster than text, meaning that an image or video will reap better results than printed words, and that is particularly true for the millennial consumer.

When spending your marketing dollars on loyalty programs with millennials in mind, make sure you understand their habits and preferences. They love to use their mobiles to shop and price compare, spend a percentage of their purchases on an important cause, receive personalized offers, and view visuals that captivate their attention. Use these strategies to win over your millennial customers!