Nobody quite knows when they start or finish, but the term The Millennials first appeared in the early 80s, and was used by the advertising industry to describe that cohort of children then entering preschool, and who would come to economic independence around the turn of the Millennium. The industry already had the term “Generation X”, but that was an unwise coinage, in that it left only two more letters in the alphabet to go.
The Millennials, by contrast, serves as a vivid start to the story of how to market to this cohort. Because while we might not know exactly what the Millennials are, we do know that they are immensely important to businesses that rely on discretionary spending, hospitality providers notable among these.
The habits and mindset of The Millennials are affecting the way hospitality venues do business, and in particular how a Point of Sale (POS) systems can accommodate their ‘frictionless economic’ ways.
One reasonable definition for “The Millennial Generation” as currently used is; a cohort whose experience of economic life has been predominantly online. The oldest Millennials may just remember life before the internet, but are thoroughly habituated to its use. Most Millennials can barely imagine life without the ability to conduct large parts of their economic life online.
More to the point, they have become accustomed to finding that new things can be done online, to effortlessly taking up these opportunities as they arise, and to favouring the businesses that offer them.
As we will discuss, Millennials’ brand loyalty is highly provisional and temporary. Their purchases are strongly influenced by the online reputation of the products and services they supply.
Smart Phones – The Millennials Point of Purchase
Almost by cultural definition, a Millennial has a Smart Phone. According to a recent survey, 83% of them sleep with it. And they are likely to make far fuller use of its features than members of preceding generations. Apps like Uber have shown them the way buying services can be conveniently done without making a call, waiting in a queue or fishing for a wallet. They are increasingly expecting that their entertainments come to them with the same sort of ease, and will favour businesses that use technology to oblige.
The survey also showed that over a third of Millennials made a purchase at least once a month using a mobile device. The Millennials increasingly see their Smart Phones as a Point of Purchase. It’s up the hospitality industry to respond.
Brand Response – All that glisters is not gold
Millennials are sceptical of the wisdom of crowds, and have an instinctive preference for the small, intimate and personalised. In our survey, 52% of American Millennials said that a business’ effective use of technology was a more important driver of their purchasing than its brand name. The same survey found nearly half of respondents had been introduced to a valued brand by someone else’s social media activity.
This suggests that brand iconography is losing its potency; that Millennials are looking beyond it to the inherent quality of the products and services they buy. Brand loyalty is a busted flush, and this is a great opportunity for small venues. Millennials will readily transfer their loyalty to a business that engages more fully with them as individuals; a strong Social Media presence is a must. Modern Point of Sale systems have evolved sophisticated ways of enabling hospitality providers of any scale to meet these expectations.
If your business depends on capturing the Millennial dollar, your POS is the headquarters of your campaign. If you’d like a Health Check to make sure you POS is up to the challenge, give your Bepoz representative a call today.