Millennials – 18 to 34-year-olds – spend more than any other generation in the US: around $1.2 trillion a year. A challenge for companies who sell online will be learning to entice this important audience who grew up on e-commerce. We have consolidated here some strategies for attracting and keeping these valuable customers.
1. In-store Returns Are a Must
Over half of consumers in their twenties like to return purchases in-store, even if they bought them online. Many millennials say returning items online is a pain: you have to print a label, repackage the item, and schedule a pickup or drop off the package yourself at a carrier location. It is inconvenient, but also causes stress because of the uncertainty of when you will get your refund. Many decide to just keep the unwanted stuff to avoid having to send it back, which can cause a grudge toward a brand.
You don’t want these valuable customers to hold a grudge against your company for not offering in-store returns. Improve your rules about returns because this key demographic is likely to find another retailer if they see they can’t return it in-store.
Define your refund policy so customers will know when to expect their refund and not have the stress associated with a typical online refund. This will also help consumers have a positive idea of your brand. If you don’t have a physical store, you can make returns easier by including return labels in packages, saving customers time and adding convenience.
2. Think “Inside the Store” for Fulfillment Options
Today, for all customers, especially millennials, the expectation for fast delivery has been raised to where consumers demand same-day or next-day shipping…for free. Plus, many retailers are now offering reduced shipping rates to drive more purchases, which is creating a decline in what is considered acceptable cost.
There are some solutions to these challenges. For instance, omnichannel brands can ship-from-store, selecting the nearest store with the available items to reduce time and cost for delivery.
You should consider adding buy online, pickup in-store (BOPIS) as an option as well. This lets consumers pick up orders themselves with no shipping costs. According to surveys by Entrepreneur and ChargeItSpot websites, 88% of millennials actually prefer BOPIS to save money and 75% impulse buy other items in-store when they go to pick up their online order.
If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store to offer BOPIS, try establishing minimum order values to get premium shipping. Consumers are encouraged to buy more to meet the minimum requirement to earn free or faster delivery.
3. Value Visibility
It is well noted that millennials value transparency and you can be assured that transfers to their transactions. According to Dotcom Distribution’s 2017 eCommerce Study, increased visibility on orders in transit influences repeat purchases.
Add visibility with quality order management systems (OMS), inventory management systems (IMS), and transportation management systems (TMS). Accurate estimates of delivery times and shipping costs builds trust and leads to future purchases – improving the lifetime value of the customer.
Not offering accurate estimates will cost you customers. According to TargetMarketing, an increasing number of millennial shoppers – 26% (up four percent from 2016) – will abandon their virtual shopping carts because of slow shipping estimates. TargetMarketing also reports that 28% of millennials abandon carts because of unexpected costs, showing again the importance of transparency and visibility in conversion rates.
The significance of estimated delivery is growing as millennials continue to lead the shopping population. This demographic will seek out other options if they think their purchase will take longer to arrive.
With their spending power and influence in the eCommerce market, millennials will continue to be a sought-after demographic for retailers – and resenting their values will get you nowhere. E-Commerce retailers should meet the needs of this audience by employing strategies that highlight visibility, convenience, and flexibility.