As younger generations begin to take over the consumer landscape, it is vital small businesses market themselves appropriately. With approximately 77.5 million millennials (ages 17-34) and 25 million Gen Z’ers (ages 12-17) in the United States, small business owners can’t afford to neglect this market.
Fortunately for entrepreneurs, attracting this growing audience shouldn’t be too difficult, as the up and coming generations are passionate about small businesses. In fact, not only do they prefer small businesses to large ones, they are eager to start businesses of their own one day. Sixty-six percent of millennials want to do so and nearly eight in 10 students in grades 5 through 12 say they want to be their own boss one day.
Here are some tips to make sure your small business is effectively reaching “the future”:
The easiest way for small businesses to attract young consumers is by simply being themselves. After growing up watching their parents struggle during The Great Recession, many millennials and younger generations simply don’t trust big business. Instead, they prefer the transparency and authenticity small businesses provide.
Whether you’re a restaurateur waking up early to pick fresh produce at the local market, or a clothes retailer that purchases pricier but longer-lasting fabrics for his or her designs, be sure to share your process with your customers. Younger generations want to know where their goods come from and are eager to differentiate themselves by buying products that are unique, personalized and outside the mainstream. So, stick to your roots and produce a product that will keep customers coming back.
Strong social game
Just as younger generations are wary of big business, a large majority (84%) do not connect with traditional advertising. Sales promotions, radio commercials and even internet displays don’t usually work with this group. Instead, turn to social media to grab their attention.
To ensure your small business leaves a strong first impression, it’s important your social profiles (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) are easy to read and sales-driven. Be sure consumers can make purchases or be redirected to your main website from these channels. At the same time, having your account verified on Twitter or Instagram helps legitimize your brand. Social media is also a great way for customers to share their experience and is a great opportunity for businesses to boost revenue, as 84% of millennials say user-generated content has inspired a purchase.
To complement a strong online presence, small businesses need to provide convenient and safe payment options for consumers. Fast-moving younger generations are unlikely to revisit a product if they are unable to immediately buy it. Mobile payment is especially crucial, as consumers are currently making over $4 billion worth of purchase on their phones, a number that is expected to reach $34 billion by 2020.
Resources small businesses can tap include PayPal, which is the industry standard for digital shoppers and eliminates the need for consumers to re-enter their information when making purchases. Also, as cash becomes less ubiquitous in the marketplace, small businesses can create Venmo accounts to provide a quick payment alternative or have smartphone credit card readers in their stores that simply require a scan.
The more than 100 million young consumers in the marketplace presents a huge opportunity for small businesses to lay the foundation for future success. It is imperative SBOs invest in the technology and staff necessary to reach this large demographic and develop a young, repeat customer base. The future is now, don’t be left behind.