Do you have a successful business and want to ensure its future success? How secure are you right now? Maybe you think your brick and mortar store is all you need. Think again. Times are changing and you’ve got to follow the trends of today to survive in tomorrow’s marketplace.
Many retailers are changing their eCommerce selling strategies to entice today’s key purchasers: the ‘Under 45s’, Generation X and Y (a.k.a. the Millennials). Keep reading as we outline the top features required in order for your eCommerce solution to gain the attention of the Generation X and Y buyers, while also being a revenue generator. This article provides insight as to how you can increase selling power and market to the younger generations with your online presence.
Sure, you have a website, but are you selling online? If you are not, you are missing out and here’s why. The younger generations have the buying power now and the first place they usually look, before even stepping foot into a store, is on the Web. Technology is a part of their daily lives; it defines these generations. Without an online retail presence, you’re losing valuable customers.
The Importance of a Retail Website is Not to be Ignored
Rich Mitton, director of IT, at Mathis Brothers Furniture recently stated, “There are many customers, especially those in California, who don’t necessarily want to drive to a store. They prefer buying from our site. If they have visited one of our stores, had the Mathis Brothers’ experience and purchased furniture, then they are even more comfortable adding those extra pieces by just buying them online. eCommerce has been a great improvement to our overall business. It’s an evolution.”
Today, it’s so easy to search for a company, business, retail store, etc. on the web and find exactly what you are looking for quickly. The competition is out there creating a brand and making a name for themselves, and making money doing it.
A television commercial for Verizon that is currently running in the New York tri-state area features a local retailer who searches for her company name on the Web and is surprised to find that it’s not listed. This is because she doesn’t have a website or any other presence on the Internet. The Verizon rep tells her, “If you don’t have a website, you’re basically invisible.” He then shows her how to create a small business website to promote her business. In the end the setup was easy, and she is happily branding her retail business via the Web.
Who are the Hot Buyers?
Take a look into the lives of your hot buyers; the statistics may surprise you.
Generation X makes up 75 percent the size of the Baby Boom generation, and just 68 percent the size of Generation Y, according to the Retail & Consumer Insights report. Born 1966-1976, they are entering their peak earning years. This generation is highly-educated and uses caution when purchasing. They are spending money on big ticket items for their children entering college.
They are buying practical products, such as home improvement equipment, furnishings, children’s needs, sports and leisure items.
Generation Y, also known as the Millennials, or the Echo Boomers, are the largest generation compared with the Baby Boomers and Generation X. Born 1977-1994, they are 120 percent the size of the Baby Boom generation, and 170 percent of Generation X. They make up 85 million of the country’s population (Retail & Consumer Insights). This generation was born into technology and image matters to them. They are the primary influencers of all generations because they have information at their fingertips via mobile phones, iPads, YouTube, etc. Constant technological advances are normal to these generations. They are always ready to seize the next big item, the latest trends and to make an upgrade.
Why Do They Buy?
Retailers should understand the needs of their consumers and adapt to each of the different generations. Know how to target these consumers and gain their trust. While the Baby Boomer generation responds to newspaper, radio, print, and TV ads, Generations X & Y respond to mobile technology and social media.
Generation X wants you to help them, not sell them. They are looking to gain more for their money. If you provide evidence as to why your product will benefit them more than your competitor’s and prove it, they will buy. Post testimonials of your products online. These buyers like to research first. The more information you have online, the better the opportunity for you to make sales. Turn your website into a retail atmosphere. Offer easy access to your products and services.
Generation Y consumers are connected to technology. They shop together in groups. They respond to word of mouth. You have to go where they are: Facebook, Twitter, mobile, school, etc. They care about communities. Be a part of their lifestyle. Build loyalty. Enable customers to use their mobile phones to obtain information on a product, download coupons, discounts, etc.
Come on and Get Social
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube—it’s the Social Network, so get on board. You have to embrace the trends and go where the buyers of today are spending their time. According to www.laptopmag.com, Twitter has gained over 190 million users since its inception in 2006. The average Facebook user has 130 friends, and there are more than 500 million active users today. The average user is connected to 80 community pages, groups, and events. Imagine what kind of marketing impact this can have for your website and your brand.
Create website appeal by making it easy for them to click and buy. Performance matters when it comes to your website. Make your site easy to manage and browse. Become interactive by adding virtual screen options, such as a room planner where one can select a product and preview it in a room for size, color and style. Enable customers to “check-in” with Facebook Places through their mobile phones and reward them for “advertising” your company. Their network of friends can instantly see the places they’ve checked into, triggering more potential customers to notice your brand and strike an interest in visiting your store.
Start a following on Twitter with tweets that grab the consumer’s attention. Twitter runs in real-time, so your response is instantaneous. Offer a one day sale and highlight deals in your tweets. Focus on your local community of followers. You can offer specials to those who follow you on Twitter and in turn, convince them to buy online or in the store.
Keep them engaged and coming back. Give them coupons; offer discounts for referring or sharing with a friend, or donate a portion of their purchase to charity. Create loyalty programs so that they return and invite their friends to shop your store. Social media is huge for advertising in retail.
Post Pricing on Your Products
It’s an instant turn-off to buyers if you don’t have price tags for your products on your website. You are automatically running the risk of losing the potential buyer’s trust. What do you have to hide? Your competitors are listing price tags. If your products are expensive, but well worth the quality, give them the opportunity to shop. If you prove your quality and offer the essential reasons they should purchase your products, young consumers will buy.
“eCommerce was a big move for us because we’ve always been so guarded in protecting our retail pricing. Ironically enough, we found out that people don’t like to look at websites without pricing. So we had to look at the hard facts and make a change for our customers. The younger generations (X & Y) are shopping online and that’s how it’s going to be in the future,” stated Nestor Reyes, Director of IT at City Mattress.
Why is My Website Important to Them?
Consumers feel secure with your business when they can find you on the web. Having a website places your business a step above the competition. Offering the option to buy online makes life easier, and saves the shopper time.
Reyes continues, “Having an online store is a lot less expensive than opening an actual retail store location. It’s a great compliment to our store network because people like to research online first. Then they will come to our store with papers in hand ready to purchase. It also makes it easy to manage products. In store, we update our pricing and it populates directly into our website. We don’t have to update pricing in separate locations. It’s the wave of the future.”
Other smart retailers have jumped on board the eCommerce platform because they know that it can only increase their branding, sales and staying power. The Consumer Behavior Report of Online Purchasing Trends by Generation reported that 69 percent of consumers purchase online as much as they do in store. Also noted, 96 percent of online consumers are confident that the site is safe and secure for purchasing. If your website is suspicious, slow, or quirky, they won’t buy. Web performance can be a killer. If your online retail site is not up to speed, Gen X & Y are not going to stay. They want it to be easy and fast. They are multi-taskers.
Top 100 retailer American Furniture Warehouse has been an innovator with their eCommerce website. They understand that reaching out to the key buyers is important, and they’ve created a website that is consumer friendly. “We’ve been using an eCommerce platform for years. It’s nice to have real-time inventory and order information on our website, and it’s seamless to our store operations. Online sales are really growing for us as we’re projecting record sales online this year,” confirmed Jake Jabs, owner of American Furniture Warehouse.
Why My Website is Important to Them
- 18 percent of traditional TV campaigns generate a positive ROI
- 90 percent skip commercials via TiVo or DVR
- 78 percent consumers trust peer recommendations
- 14 percent trust ads
The Future is Now
What’s next is already here. Interactive displays in store and online are sweeping the consumers off their feet. This technology offers the ability to use touch screens to find products, view them room by room, share the look with family or friends, and even check into the store online for a coupon.
Are you convinced yet? Sure you’d like to keep marketing to the Baby Boom Generation. They respond to TV commercials, newspaper and print ads. But the up-and-coming buyers do not. They skip TV commercials on recorded shows, using TiVo and DVR technology. They view content on iPhones, iPads, and the web. Gen X is emailing and instant messaging, while Gen Y is texting, blogging, tweeting and so on… The best way to succeed is to stay at the forefront of technology, by connecting and interacting with these active buyers.
Michelle Beres Skyta has over 10 years of industry experience with Advertising and PR. She has been with STORIS Management Systems, a leading retail software solutions and services provider for Big Ticket retailers, for the past five years. Currently, a Marketing Communications Specialist, Michelle is a Millennial embracing new technology and social advancements. She holds a degree in Mass Communications and Media from Ramapo College of New Jersey. For additional information please contact Michelle at (888) 478-6747 x286 or firstname.lastname@example.org.