Turn Down The ‘Suck Dial’ To Lure Millennials

Millennials, people who were born between 1980 and 2000, also called Generation Y, are doing most of the browsing, clicking and shopping online these days. These cross-device shoppers use mobile handsets, tablets and laptop and desktop computers to surf the web, accounting for 80 million internet users in the U.S., with about 60 million utilizing their mobile phones most of the time.

Yep, we millennials are glued to our devices. We’re fed by the thrill of sharing purchases we made on social media and finding out about new brands from word-of-mouth, trending hashtags, cool ads (like $1 Shave Club), unboxing videos and even the news. And Facebook is our go-to social network, with about 70% of us using that and 63% of us relying on YouTube.

As your brain begins to process this data, I’ll cover some of the most prominent millennials online shopping statistics, and will explain to you along the way why your store’s not getting my business. All so you can know what tinkering you have to do under the hood to see those conversions spike.

Millennials Online Shopping Statistics

I know that our ComScore statistic said $170 billion per year in spending power, but recent reports say it’s more in the realm of $200 billion per year. Your ads do nothing for us, and the most recent surveys and statistics back that up. We actually hate ads and prefer to research products we are interested of our own accord. The best ad we’ve ever seen was a friend showing us a new gadget they bought that we loved (most often from a shared post on Facebook) or the $1 Shave Club ad on YouTube.Even though 61% of us can’t afford a home, which leads many of us to lease a home, 71% of us still buy a car. Go figure. This oddity also means that we like to make impulse purchases, with 33% of us actually taking the time to read a blog before we make a purchase just to see what the blogger had to say about said product.

But we still have a healthy $1.3 trillion purchasing power behind us, explains the Boston Consulting Group, and that makes us one of the most attractive demographics for online purchases. Oh, and let’s not forget that the Census Bureau says we account for one-fourth the U.S. population with Nielson reporting that 80% of us own smartphones.

I’ll show you a number of ways that you can turn down the suck knob and attract your most valuable demographic by making some simple changes at your online store. Keep reading if you want to improve your conversions exponentially. We’ll start with some stats and go from there.

  • 70% of millennials use Facebook (Statistica)
  • 63% of millennials use YouTube (Statistica)
  • 51% say online reviews are more important than in-person referrals (Bazaarvoice)
  • 37% do not trust large businesses and brands (Forbes)
  • Millennials spend over $170 billion annual on purchases (ComScore)
  • 52% are likely to make impulse purchases (TIME)
  • 69% prefer to research products from a smartphone or tablet (Barkley)
  • 70% of females and 50% of males consider shopping entertainment (Urban Land Institute)
  • 45% spend 60 minutes or more daily researching retail products online (Urban Land Institute)
  • 63% follow brands they like on Facebook (Ipsos)
  • 41% are already using their smartphone to make online purchases (Edelman Digital)

Shipping Prices

Look, almost everyone wants free shipping (UPS says this number is about 81% or greater). Duh, that’s a no-brainer. Who wants to pay for shipping? Nobody. When it comes to we millennials, we’re hell-bent on paying zilch for shipping. But we’re also able to be enticed.

What you need to start offering to get people like me to shop at your online store is something called a free shipping threshold. This is where you offer free shipping once a minimum order value has been met. For example, a study by Red Door found that a free shipping threshold can increase orders by 90%.

No Social Presence

Given the aforementioned statistics, we are a social media loving crowd. Since most of us conglomerate to Facebook, it’s necessary for you to maintain, at the very least, a strong presence on this social juggernaut. But you really should be as active on as many social channels as possible to help attract more sales.

According to Fact Browser, Facebook sends 65% of all social media referrals and has one of the highest average order values. There are some other pertinent social commerce facts you can glean here. But the main point is: stay active on social media, connect with your millennial shoppers and you will be rewarded with loyalty, retention and conversions.

No Amazon-Like Experience

Millennials are picky shoppers. We don’t want to fuss with shipping, returns or bad customer service. Instead, we want this to all be handled from our smartphone or tablet in a few clicks. We don’t feel like we should suffer from a bad shopping experience just because we bought something online. Instead, we feel we should be catered to by the convenience of this shopping decision.

This is one of the primary reasons why Amazon is still outselling your store. They make it just as easy, if not easier, to buy something online than it is to go local. While you certainly can’t ever hope to compete with Amazon, you can borrow a few rules from their playbook to appeal to millennial shoppers. Just use these Master Yoda’s Jedi Hacks To Make The ‘Force Awaken’ At Your Online Store to get a head start.

Bad Online Reviews

I will say this as stern and straightforward as possible: online product reviews help you make more money. Period. Check out the crazy factsheet I have created for you at the previous link in here (it’s worth it) because the proof is indeed in the pudding here. You shouldn’t fear these reviews; you should embrace them because they really help shoppers in my demographic make buying decisions.

Online product reviews help add more content to your online store, which aids in helping your SEO. Namely, however, they help you bring in more sales. Studies, one from Bazaarvoice, have found that:

  • One review added to a product page can improve conversions by 10%.
  • 30 reviews added to a product page can improve conversion by 25%.
  • When over 100 reviews are added, sales lift increases by 37%.
  • Average order value increases to 3% from product reviews.

Limited Payment Options

Here’s some food for thought: why are you saying no when people want to give you more money? How is this possible, you surely are not, you must be wondering? Because when you are limiting payment options on your shopping cart, what you are really doing is saying no to a ton of people who want to give you money but can’t or won’t because you don’t allow them to.

A readwrite publication followed a survey and white paper that found that 80% of consumers want alternative payment options. Specifically, when no credit card was required to pay online, the study predicted that over $100 billion more would be spent by shoppers. So stop saying no to more money. Integrate more payment options and say yes to all the greenbacks that come your way.

Site Loading Speed

How fast does your website load on both mobile and desktop devices? If it’s too slow, you are losing out on millennial shopping rush. I say rush because we like to quick-click our way to purchases and we are very much so impulse shoppers. A related Akamai study found that 47% of all shoppers want a site to load in two seconds or less, and if it’s too slow, you stand to lose 65% of them.

The good news is that you can get a free website speed test at pingdom. But the bad news is that you may need to spend some money on having your site updated so that it can be quicker. Bear in mind that this is money that comes back to you in the form of more purchases made by shoppers like myself who won’t wait for a slow site to load. Use these website speed statistics to get your site up to par.

Shoddy Mobile Site

How does your website look on a mobile device? If it’s hard to read the text, if the loading time is sluggish or if the experience is not relatively seamless, millennials like me are taking our business elsewhere. According to a Search Engine Watch publication, 72% of consumers want mobile-friendly websites. When it comes to ecommerce, this means the difference between conversions or bounced users.

We’ve all been there before. Or at least many of us have. We’re shopping for something we want to buy online. A quick Google search reveals a few websites that we can consider. But when you click on the one you like, it takes eons to load. Impatient, we simply backpedal to the results and find the next site to click. Don’t be that site. Test your site on mobile devices and optimize it or you will lose the millennial shopper altogether.

Bad Return Policy

Finally, we arrive at the infamous return policy. What do millennials want from your return policy? We want it to be hassle-free, convenient and to offer no-questions-asked returns for at least 30-days from the time of purchase. If you don’t offer this convenience, guess what? Tons of other stores do that we’ll happily spend our money at instead.

The thing is that you can actually profit from offering easy online returns. A number of studies have collectively proven that stores that offer the simplest returns, like Amazon and Zappos do, get more conversions and enjoy a much higher customer loyalty rating than stores that do not. What’s more, millennials see it this way: either returning the item is easy or shopping at your online store is just a hassle.

So how do you offer a great return policy? Read my guide How To Be MacGyver About Ecommerce Product Returns and you can get your policy setup to attract millennials like me. And if none of these elements listed here today concern you, then you are either not trying to market your products to one-fourth the U.S. population, or the suck knob at your online store is permanently stuck to 100%.

Need more info on millennials and our shopping habits? Check out this awesome infographic that was created by Bazaarvoice.


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