Millennials fall into the 18-34 age group that now make up the largest generation of Americans, officially surpassing Baby Boomers in 2015. They spend an average of $85 dollars a day, accounting for 28% of daily per-person spending in the United States, and that number grows each year. Capturing their loyalty is critical for retail success, but traditional loyalty programs aren’t necessarily the route to take with the younger consumer. To remain competitive in 2017 and beyond, loyalty programs must evolve to suit the tastes and preferences of Millennials.
How Can You Reach These Kids?
Consider this: one of every four Millennials has cut the cord on their cable package, and 11% of Millennials have never subscribed to cable. They opt instead for streaming services like Netflix, HBO Now, and Hulu. They don’t read newspapers and more likely to get their news from social media than any other generation. Attempting to establish relationships and develop loyalty with Millennials won’t work if retailers rely solely on traditional advertising.
What does reach the younger generation is information and advice. Having grown up in a hyper-connected, social-media obsessed world, they rely on input from others. They spend time researching products and services before making a purchase, evaluating online reviews, reading product information and blog posts, and watching videos. They don’t want to be told what to do, but prefer to draw their own conclusions based on informative and useful content.
When It Comes To Loyalty Programs, Simple Is The Word
While all of this may sound daunting, there is good news for retail loyalty programs. Millennials love discounts and they leverage loyalty programs to receive rewards and price breaks. In fact, Millennials are more likely to utilize a range of loyalty programs in order to receive discounts including coupons (26%), fuel savings programs (25%), and cash-register instant discounts (23%).
How they shop for loyalty programs, however, is different than what many retailers are used to. Millennials grew up on TV and computers, which means they have short attention spans. If something doesn’t catch their eye quickly, they move on to something else. When it comes to interacting with brand or store loyalty programs, they prefer to keep it simple. If they have to do too much work to understand it, they won’t engage.
Still Using Plastic Loyalty Cards? You’re Probably Losing Millennials
So, if you reach Millennials where they like to hang out, if you can convince them through simple messaging and social proof that your loyalty program is beneficial, you’re in, right? Maybe not. Not only do they want simplicity in terms of understanding a program and cashing in, they also want simplicity at the cash register or checkout. They don’t necessarily want a keyring full of plastic cards. They want to make a purchase and have it count without any work or effort on their part, and they want to be able to check their reward status with a tap of the finger.
A whopping 40% of Millennials use mobile apps to track and redeem their rewards, and their use of plastic membership card usage dropped by 4% during 2016. If you lack the resources to provide Millennials with what they want, a simple way to bridge this gap without overhauling an entire program from scratch is to work with a program like Plenti, that lets users collect and redeem rewards across multiple retailers, gas stations, and even chain restaurants and travel booking sites with a single card and member number.
Plenti took some time to catch on, but at the end of 2016, the program posted nearly 40 million active members who have earned more than 40 billion points with a $400 million value and redeemed their points for nearly $90 million worth of offers. Simple programs like this that give the user control will resonate with the younger consumer.
Regardless of the specific rewards program, the key to attracting and retaining Millennial loyalty is to keep the program as simple and convenient as possible. When you can meet those needs, you’ll connect with the ever-growing and ever-spending Millennial consumer.