The millennial consumer is a totally unique consumer that the marketplace has never seen before. And while some of the preferences millennials have are hard to satisfy, there is one that businesses are taking seriously: the demand for personalization.
The Millennial Demand for Personalization
Everywhere you look, millennials want personalization. And while some will try to spin this as a selfish desire that epitomizes the millennial culture of wanting everything handed to them, the truth is that you can’t blame millennials. They’ve grown up in a world that’s full of progressive technology and customization.
The majority of millennials barely remember when the internet wasn’t a significant part of their lives. They’ve grown up in a society where virtually anything they want or need can be purchased and consumed on demand. Millennials are nothing more than a product of their environments.
3 Ways Businesses are Responding
There’s no sense in arguing how it happened or whether it’s right or wrong. What businesses need to focus on is how they can leverage the demand for personalization. Many are already doing it, while others are waiting for the right opportunity to shine.
Let’s take a look at three specific areas of focus.
The best place to start is with product personalization. We’re seeing this in a lot of industries and it allows customers to make choices beyond standard product offerings. This is very popular right now with the millennial female demographic. Female millennials love placing personalized monograms on clothing and apparel. However, it shows up in more ways than one.
Nike is leading the personalized product trend. Instead of offering four or five different versions of each shoe, they now allow customers to choose from hundreds of different colors, patterns, and designs. Just check out these Nike soccer shoes. There’s camouflage, neon, traditional black and white, high top, low top, indoor, outdoor, and every imaginable combination in between.
When businesses are able to personalize product offerings, it makes the consumer feel like they have more control over the process. This results in more purchases and increased satisfaction.
One way businesses are reaching customers and maximizing the money they spend is by personalizing marketing efforts. Thanks to advancements in technology, it’s now possible to target customers based on time zone, search history, demographics, location, and dozens of other factors.
Businesses that personalize web experiences for their customers see a 19 percent increase in sales on average. However, 71 percent of companies are still failing to personalize their websites. This represents a major missed opportunity and we look for more and more businesses to take advantage of personalized marketing and web design in the future.
More recently, we’ve seen a rise in the subscription economy, which is an aspect of personalized ordering. Millennials have gotten a taste of automatic reordering and they’re beginning to crave it in many different areas of their lives.
One really interesting development in this area is Amazon Dash. This is Amazon’s new program that allows customers to reorder everyday items with the click of a button – literally. Amazon Dash buttons are small physical devices that can be placed in the home. They have Wi-Fi technology built in and all a user has to do is press the button and a replacement order is delivered. How’s that for personalization?
Personalization will look different for every business. The key is to identify what customers want and satisfy these desires in highly personalized ways that emphasize the value of the customer and their needs. Until businesses do this, they’ll struggle with reaching millennials.