As anyone who’s worked in marketing over the past decade will know, millennials have quickly become one of the most targeted demographics for advertisers and brands. 
Roughly defined as those who were born between the early 80s and the early 2000s, they’ve evolved into a rather unique generation when compared to their older Gen X and Baby Boomer counterparts. 

As digital natives (people that never knew a time without the internet) millennials have different consumer habits that make them a unique driving force in the ecommerce industry.  Researchers have identified several key characteristics that distinguish Millennials from older generations:

•    They are diverse. According to the Pew Research Center, the Millennial generation is more racially and ethnically diverse than previous generations and they are much more open to exploring new cultures and traditions.

•    They are attached to their mobile phones. Studies have shown that 4 out of 5 millennials sleep with their cell phone next to their bed, while another report said they check their mobile device well over 40 times per day.

•    They are constantly interacting with friends. Millennials are exceedingly social and are more connected than any previous generation. 

•    They care about the opinions of their peers. When it comes to making consumer decisions, millennials care a lot about the opinions of fellow millennials. This can come first hand from close friends but also includes the feedback shared via online product reviews and social media posts. 

•    They are idealistic. Millennials are a fairly optimistic generation and the ideas that really resonate with this group are those of equality, innovation, authenticity, and environmental friendliness. In a recent survey an astounding 89% of millennials said they would be more likely to shop from companies that support social issues they care about.

So, with all that in mind, what does it take to build an ecommerce business that appeals to and converts millennial shoppers? Here are 4 key areas you need to consider.

4 Ways to Appeal to Millennials

1.  Make Sure Everything Works on Mobile

As we mentioned earlier, millennials are extremely attached to their mobile devices. This means the days you can get away with a compromised mobile experience are gone. You need to be sure that your website (or app) works flawlessly on modern mobile devices.
With more than 85 percent of millennials using smartphones, every aspect of your ecommerce experience must load fast and be easy to use on mobile.

2.  Incorporate User-Generated Content

With such a high importance given to peer-based feedback, adding customer reviews and user-submitted photos or video is a great way to help establish your business amongst the millennial demographic.
As many millennials also take pride in having their content published across social channels and featured on websites, there are many opportunities for mutually beneficial relationships where you provide a platform or forum for people to share — letting individuals spread the word about your brand while they benefit from association with your company.  

3. Convey Value
Millennials, like other generations, love getting a great deal, but they also place a surprisingly high weight on the value of the products or services they use. As a business it’s important that you convey the value you can bring to a millennial shopper.
This can simply mean providing higher quality products, but value also extends to things like developing environmentally friendly solutions to business problems or supporting social causes that resonate with the generation. 
By making millennials feel like their dollars are going towards more than just the bottom line of a company, the perceived value of your services and products increases.

4. Be Transparent

As we mentioned, millennials are constantly interacting with friends or peers and most of that interaction revolves around sharing personal information and content. Arguably, this high level of transparency about their own lives has led them to expect similar transparency from the businesses they shop with. 
Millennials expect companies to be clear about how they operate, both internally and externally, and if a company makes a mistake, they expect them to take responsibility and explain how they will prevent future ones. To really succeed with this demographic, you must build trust and the best way to do that is to be honest with customers at every stage of the process.

Are you working to make your business appeal to millennials? What strategies are you using to attract this high value demographic? Be sure to let us know on Twitter or read our blog for more ways to increase your online sales.