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Five Millennial Shopping Trends to Consider for Your Business

Millennials: Love them, hate them or maybe — like 30 percent of Canada’s population — you are one. Either way, this global generation of tech-savvy young adults born between 1982 and 2004 has a huge amount of purchasing power and is made up of brand-loyal, mobile consumers that eschew traditional advertising and opt for social engagement instead. In a study of 1,300 millennials, Forbes found that 33 percent of those who responded said they rely mostly on blogs to help them decide what to buy, while fewer than three percent look to TV news, magazines and books.

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Millennials also love Canada. In a recent worldwide survey of 18- to 35-year-olds by U.S. News in collaboration with BAV and Wharton, Canada was voted Best Country thanks to high employment and homeownership rates as well as friendly citizenship and business practices. With a combined estimated income of $237 billion, Canadian millennials have the purchasing power to be major consumers. How do you harness that spending power? Start with these five tips for engaging a tech-savvy generation.

Get mobile.

Canadian millennials are glued to their mobile devices. According to Google, they check their phone ten times an hour on average, so mobile optimization is essential. Millennials research and purchase online, so be sure to make your website easy to navigate on a mobile device. If you create an online store with Square, it’s automatically mobile-ready.

Be social media savvy.

This mobile generation is made up of heavy social media users (88 percent have some type of profile according to Google), and this is how most millennials find and discover new products. Fifty-five percent of millennials surveyed recently cited social media as their primary source for shopping, news and information. For these reasons social media marketing should be a cornerstone of your overall marketing strategy. This approach has long-term benefits as well — 62 percent of millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer.

Create a seamless online/offline shopping experience.

Millennials are known to take part in “showrooming” — visiting stores to see products in person that they then research and buy online for less. Thanks to the rise in smartphones, consumers can now look up prices online as they shop, so make sure everything in your brick-and-mortar store is also represented on your e-commerce site. And consider charging slightly less online to lock in their business.

Enlist experts and tastemakers to build your online reputation.

Millennials look to experts and real consumer reviews to help them decide what to buy, so consider working with social influencers to promote your brand or product. Studies have found that millennials trust the opinions of strangers such as bloggers whose taste and knowledge they admire over brands (and even their friends) when it comes to making purchasing decisions.

Offer a loyalty program.

Loyalty or rewards programs are also big with millennials. According to data released by Bond Brand Loyalty, 68 percent of North American 20- to 34-year-olds said they would change where they shopped if it meant getting more rewards. And one-third reported buying something they didn’t necessarily want, just to earn loyalty bonuses. Programs that offer free shipping may be particularly effective. Most of the millennials surveyed in a recent report by LoyaltyOne said they value free shipping as a loyalty program benefit.

Marketing to millennials involves being both tech and brand savvy. If you engage online in an authentic fashion and enlist the help of influencers, you’ll likely be rewarded with a generation of loyal customers who are willing to gush about your business to their peers. Good luck!