As a millennial, marketer, consumer, blogger, and consistent social media user, I ask all retailers one question: what are you doing on social media? Are you haphazardly posting forced content? Fumbling around to figure out who is going to manage it? Confused as to what new platforms are relevant and what an engaging campaign is comprised of? Do you still think managing one corporate page without location pages is enough? For the vast majority of retailers, all of these questions I’ve posed ring true to some degree. And that couldn’t be more of an issue.
The baby boomers are still around, shopping your stores, and buying your products, but the future of your business relies on Generation Y, whether you like it or not. The millennials are making purchasing decisions based on who has a better social media presence and reputation. A daunting 84% of millennials said that branded social media pages play a role in their decision to buy. (Bazaarvoice) If you have no presence, you’re out of sight out of mind. If you have a weak or bad presence you’re hurting your brand, and if you have a powerful campaign, which very few do, then you’re reaping the rewards.
My research is primarily in the retail grocery sector, and I can’t stress how many negative reviews, images, comments, and posts I see uncensored, unanswered, and untouched reflecting KEY brands across the country. Not to mention 51% of millennials admit that a company’s online presence has more effect on their purchases than recommendations from family and friends. (Bazaarvoice) It’s simply baffling to believe that local pages have not been created, that content is not being created weekly or daily to engage with their customers and future customers. Retailers need to be more localized and more engaging with their customers, just because your grocery chain has 56 locations, you still have LOCAL shoppers. To note, 37% of millennials say they distrust big business. (Forbes) The millennials are the future consumers of your brand, they are pushy, demanding, and will not tolerate a run of the mill or poor standard of customer service and business practice. That pertains to activity in your store and your presence on the web, particularly referring to Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr.
When Generation Y has a bad experience they post, tag, and blog about their experience. When they love and adore a brand they check-in to your stores, hashtag your items, share pictures of their experience and ultimately light up their newsfeed with the good and the bad. Right now 70 % of millennial women think of shopping as a shareable form of entertainment. (Urban Land Institute) This means your products and your stores are being published daily by thousands on their social outlets. And those numbers will continue to grow.
Although a great social media campaign will get millennials into your store you will still need to keep them in there. Getting hip, trendy, and tech savvy is the direction retailers are going in order to keep the millennials around. And the smart ones are doing this, Whole Foods being at the forefront of this movement is being met by big news this week that Aldi’s will move to a more “organic” experience for shoppers. The big brands that have the research dollars are putting more and more emphasis on trending topics as well as using social media to leverage their brand and develop lifelong customers out of the consumer hungry millennials. In fact, they are starting to incorporate technology into their consumer experience by building customizable apps, online coupons, and in store touch screen options. 56% of millennials are willing to share their location to get localized coupons, and 25% of them are willing to give out personal information for exclusive deals. (USA Today) This is all exciting news for manufactures and retail grocery chains. It’s providing evidence that young shoppers want a more digital shopping experience and the opportunity to leverage this information is boundless. So I ask the question again, what are you doing on social media?