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Are You Paying Attention to Millennials?

In the past few years, millennials, their habits, and their influence on the world have become hot topics.  The term “millennial” has become a way for the earlier generations to stereotype their younger counterparts and almost an ongoing joke about the behaviors of 20-somethings today.  Although the prevalent narcissism and entitlement in the millennial generation, as well as their attachment to technology does lend itself to jokes from others, everyone running a business should be paying close attention to this group.

Who are Millennials?

Millennials are also known as Generation Y and, for the most part, are considered to be the consumers who reached early adulthood in the early 2000s.  In 2016, Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers to become the largest living generation in the U.S.

Why are they different?

Millennials are unique in the sense that while they tend to be very “civic minded” and have a strong sense of community both locally and globally, they are also very consumed by technology.  There is a unique balance for Millenials, between constantly relying almost exclusively on electronic communications and having a great desire to remain active and influential out in the world.

As young professionals, they tend to be on the go a lot of the time and seek out convenient alternatives for everyday meals.  However, the days of fast food as the answer to a quick meal have seemingly come and gone.  As fast-casual restaurants like Chipotle have become popular for their fresher and healthier options, more Millennials are looking toward the convenience store for similar options without the wait.  In 2014, 11.1% of Millennial food and beverage stops were at convenience stores, vs. 7.7% in 2006.  This generation is far more likely to stop at a convenience store for food or a drink than any other age group. 

millennials having picnicWhat do they want?

While Millennials are looking for healthier food and beverage options, they’re no less concerned about price than any other age group.  Millennials are concerned about the value for their money and don’t intend to spend even $1 if they don’t feel it’s truly worth it.  The convenience industry benefits from this trait, as they’re often able to offer a great deal in comparison to a restaurant meal price.

Studies have shown that while Millennials may visit the convenience store at least once per week, they’re not very brand loyal.  Millennials value variety and c-stores that offer a wide selection of products allow them the opportunity to satisfy their cravings regularly.  For the 17% of Millennials that visit a convenient store on a daily basis, having options is key.  Because the Millennial generation knows there are plenty of options out there, they are much less likely to simply settle for a store or product that doesn’t truly meet their wants or needs.  Keeping your store properly stocked with a good selection of packaged snacks and beverages is important, but adding good food service options to your store will be key in satisfying this group.

As the more tech-savvy generation, 18-24-year-old consumers prefer to shop at stores that value the same technology that they engage with the most.  Implementing text message marketing programs or even getting active on social media is a great way to stay top of mind with customers.  Instead of posting your BOGO soda deal on your window, where only people who past the store can see, you can put the offer right in the hands of your customer no matter where they are in the world.  The internet and mobile devices have made staying connected to consumers easier than ever and taking advantage of this opportunity gives businesses a major advantage, especially with Millennials.

What are the key tips?

  • Provide a quality experience that includes: good customer service, cleanliness, and quick shopping.
  • Stock your store for variety. (Pay attention to consumer trends in brands and types of products)
  • Take advantage of digital marketing.
  • Price competitively.
  • Offer a loyalty program.
  • Stay up-to-date with payment technology and security.
  • Offer fresh and hot food and beverage options.
in Building Your Business, Industry News