By STAFF at VendingMarketWatch.com
Opt for products and sales strategies that will span generations.
For micro market operators, it is important to look at the workforce as it evolves. That means balancing product selection and marketing strategies for the 80 million Millennials now making up the majority of the workforce while continuing to appeal to the Baby Boomer generation encompassing the most spending capital.
In many ways, Millennials and Baby Boomers are different in how they shop and determine value, but there are also many sales strategies that work across multiple generations to make today’s diverse work environment a gold mine for the savvy micro market operator.
Brand loyalty continues
Millennials, or those born from the 1980s to 2000s, can be very loyal to brands, similar to the tendency of the Boomer generation, those born from the 1940s to 1960s. A recent survey of 1,300 Millennials by Forbes found the 60 percent of this age group says that “they are often or always loyal to brands that they currently purchase.” Admittedly, Millennials become loyal to a brand differently than Boomers. They seek brands that evoke beliefs and feelings such as trustworthy, transparent, dependable and those that encourage participation. Boomers usually like brands they know and trust, making national, well known brands or popular local names a good bet for popular selections in the micro market.
Aim for healthy, hip products
Convenience foods seem to be coming into a great era as Millennials are willing to increase their spending in this category, says research group NPD. The latest numbers cited by the convenience store industry show Millennials are spending over 11 percent of their food and beverage budget at convenience stores, compared to just 7.7 percent in 2006.
The NPD Eating Patterns in America study further breaks out the product categories seeing the most growth in the breakfast and better-for-you items for both Millennials and Boomers. The popularity of each segment is expected to increase as we enter 2016. Focusing on quality breakfast items such as bars, sandwiches, wraps and bagels in the micro market will encourage both Millennial and Boomer customers to make eating breakfast at work a ritual and increase sales at the micro market.
Healthy eating is another important aspect that crosses generations with Millennials opting for fresher, less processed products such as organic items, as well as those lower in sugar. Boomers are searching for items that can address their lifestyle needs as they age with an interest in nutritional ingredients as well as a focus on foods lower in calories and sugar. Expanding product selections in these areas will meet preferences of both age groups.
Use coupons and special offers
Value is another trait Boomers and Millennials share. They both appreciate a good deal. In a multi-generational retail strategies white paper, Synchrony Financial Analytics found that Millennials and Boomers were very similar in their usage of coupons. Both Millennials and Boomers were more likely to purchase a product if they had a loyalty discount or coupon, 66 percent and 63 percent respectively. This suggests micro market promotions involving coupons for a specific product or discount based on loyalty will be effective across multiple generations. In fact, the same research showed that over 60 percent of both groups were likely to take advantage of discount offers.
Both generational groups also do research about product and companies online. According to Synchrony, 81 percent of Boomers and 90 percent of Millennials have researched a product online in the past three months. For micro market operators, this means their Websites must be working properly and have information that allows both groups to make informed decisions. In addition to the company Webpage, Millennials are specifically influenced by social media. Synchrony found that Millennials were more than twice as likely as Boomers to state that they purchased a product after seeing it on social media.
Social media can still drive sales for Boomer as well as keeping brand awareness high. Mobile interconnectivity is another good strategy that will make a micro market more appealing to multiple generations. After all, Millennials are also only slightly more likely to own a digital device than Boomers (97 percent compared to 88 percent), so having an app or mobile promotions/payments will be advantageous to both groups. This includes a seamless transaction that works well and is easy to perform and is secure.
Marketing is an important part of keeping sales high in a micro market, and is therefore an area of focus for micro market operators looking to maximize profits. Trending product brands that appeal to the quest for quality and nostalgia of Baby Boomers as well as the transparency and collaboration desired by Millennials will be top sellers. Coupons and loyalty programs maximize your potential to lure both groups with additional sales as well as well-working mobile connectivity with the micro market. These are great ways to craft a marketing strategy that will appeal to a work environment that spans generations.