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Why Millennials Should be the Focus of E-Commerce Strategy

As a dropshipper, the more you sell, the better for your business, so you aim to rank high in search engines and use all the analytic tools at your disposal to make sure you do. This is certainly a good way to be noticed…if your target market is looking for your name in their search results. But are they?

Dropshipping is a business with no limits in terms of product choice; as a dropshipper you are in a unique position to grab any opportunity to profit from shifts in demand at any time, unhampered by considerations of stock or capital investment. In order to do this effectively, you need to identify a market segment that not only represents a significant portion of the buying population but is highly influential to the general population.

There is any easy answer to this: Millennials.

Millennials in E-Commerce

We have discussed the basic psychology of Millennials in a previous article, as it pertains to online clothes shopping. The basic tenets still hold true:

  • They are social animals.
  • They shop online all the time.
  • They are much more cautious about spending money as children of the economic crisis than their baby-boomer predecessors.
  • They are more likely to believe strangers than family and friends when it comes to product reviews.

Millennials are the largest segment of the population with disposable income in the US, which is why they are the natural choice when developing an e-commerce marketing strategy for any product — not just clothes and apparel. 

It bears mentioning that Millennials generally make up a population between the ages of 14 and 34 in 2014. You'll see slight variations in categorization, depending on who you ask.

This government study, however, points out that the largest population within that market segment is 23-year-olds. This means that they have their prime earning years still ahead of them — about 30 of them, in fact. Those 30 years should make Millennials tempting targets for any e-commerce strategy. That’s pretty good in terms of sustained returns.

If you're a smart dropshipper, and I know you are, you're going to read on to find out why Millennials warrant your full attention.

What the Numbers Say

We have said that Millennials represent the largest segment of the U.S. population, but what we really mean is that they represent trillions in sales, and not just because there are at least 80 million of them. Their impact on retail isn’t confined to what they actually buy, but how they will influence subsequent generations to follow their lead.

Think about it: Millennials are children of technology and would rather chew off their arms than give up their smartphones. And yet we also see non-Millennials who have become just as dependent on their own gadgets, which weren’t even around when they were the same age as Millennials are now. This is an example of how Millennials influence the behavior of other generations. This means that when you target Millennials, you aren’t just targeting 80 million people, but also their social spheres of influence as well.

It’s also interesting to note that Millennials are much more involved with their favorite brands. They’re active in providing and reading feedback, both positive and negative, for nearly every product they encounter.

They also fill out surveys to provide data on how they want to be treated, what products they want, and what content they like to consume. This is incredibly valuable information from a marketing perspective, because they’re not shy about demanding satisfaction. An e-commerce strategy that incorporates these insights into the overarching marketing plan is the most likely to be effective.

Value for Money

But marketing is not the end-all, be-all for the generation in question. According to a Businessweek article, Millennials are more likely to be cautious about their purchases because they’ve grown up in relatively lean times. Having experienced want, they are more likely to take their time when checking value for money before making a purchase. They look for reviews and post relevant questions in their social media circles to find out about a particular product they’re interested in.

Millennials are also smart about getting the most bang for their buck. They're always on the hunt for perceived “deals,” such as promos, coupons, and discounts. They are willing to wait for a flash sale or bid in an auction, hoping to stretch the dollar as much as they can. This is an unfortunate side effect of having about 7 percent less disposable income as their parents on average.

They will also eschew purchases that are not considered necessary, although they see no harm in “looking.” Millennials are notorious for online window shopping; a lot of clicks doesn’t always translate to a lot of sales, so pay-per-click campaigns have to be considered carefully. Knowing all this, an e-commerce marketing strategy should not only emphasize only desirability or popularity, but also practicality.  

Technology Use

And of course, we can never forget that Millennials are not only tech-savvy; they are tech-needy. They have the power to choose at their fingertips and by golly they’re going to use it.

Brands that persist in staying strictly offline lose a lot of millennial patronage, because they don’t offer the option to canvass prices online or to find reviews. Millennials prefer brands that they can check out online before purchasing. In other words, if you want to sell to them, you have to get with the program.

Here are a few more interesting statistics according to Pew Research:

  • More men than women prefer to buy everything online (40 percent vs. 33 percent).
  • Nearly 30 million Millennials have trust issues with big corporations (good news for independent sellers).
  • Millennials have an annual purchasing power of $170 billion.
  • Millennials have a more pronounced social conscience and will be willing to purchase products associated with a good cause.
  • Good customer service is a key factor in the decision to buy of one-third of Millennials.
  • Price is more important than quality as long as the disparity is not too great.
  • Millennial mothers spend 17.4 hours weekly on social media networks.

Conclusion

There you have it: all the reasons and data you need to get started on designing your millennials-focused e-commerce marketing strategy for dropshipping. Still not convinced? Well, they do say a picture paints a thousand words. Check out this infographic detailing a few more relevant facts about Millennial purchasing habits.

Thanks for reading. Let us know what strategies you’re using in your e-commerce strategy to target this or any other major demographic in the comments section. 

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