This article appeared in the HTSA (Home Theater Specialists of America) Insight Spring 2018 magazine.
Are You Missing the Mark on Millennial Sales?
Jim Doherty, EVP of Sales and Marketing at Netsertive
Topic: How to be found by, considered by, and closing business with milestone millennials who are now buying their first homes and want to include technology and automation, the bread and butter of our audio video integrators.
For the past several years, your business has likely grown accustomed to selling to the middle-aged customer, generally baby boomers (45-63 years old) or even slightly younger Gen-Xers (29-44 years old). While these generations have dominated spending power in the past, milllennials are quickly catching up as they begin to make milestone purchases like cars, homes, and high-end technology. When the youngest of the millennials start reaching these life milestones around 2020, their spending is projected to hit an unprecedented $1.4 trillion (Accenture).
There’s no doubt that millennials are an increasingly important and lucrative buying group. However, their non-traditional purchase habits and technology-first mindset have shaken things up and forced integrators to rethink the way they’re selling and marketing. Here are a few tips to make sure your business is capturing – and keeping – the attention of these tech-savvy people.
Meet Them Where They Are
Millennials have grown up with technology and are accustomed to having information at their fingertips: 25 percent spend at least five hours on their smartphone each day (B2X). While it’s clear that they’re very comfortable and accustomed to starting their product or vendor searches online, their path to installation often ends in a showroom where they can see, touch and interact with the product they’re buying (eMarketer). Unlike most of their baby boomer and Gen—X predecessors, millennials expect a far more seamless shopping experience from mobile to in-store browsing.
Provide Personalized Experiences
Turning mobile clicks to foot traffic is only half the battle. Millennials today are an experience-driven population. AV integrators will thrive by creating unique opportunities for shoppers to engage with the brand and/or products in-person. For example, Nordstorm created “Nordstrom Local”, local stores that are focused on providing services, like buy online/pickup in-store options. They’ve replaced racks of products with manicure stations and coffee bars, creating an experience that makes their “stores” into showrooms that grow time spend on-site.
Cultivate a Strong Online Reputation
According to Pew Research, 40 percent of U.S. adults say they always or almost always read online reviews before purchasing a product. Forbes recently reported that millennials specifically, are more skeptical of national and local brands and are “more likely to trust their friends and networks about a product claim than the actual brand.”
With so much purchasing power leaning on online reviews, AV integrators need to put a greater emphasis on ensuring testimonials on Facebook, Google and Yelp are accurate and informational. Integrators should be checking reviews daily to respond to any comments from consumers, both positive and negative. Negative reviews are part of a company’s lifecycle, but it is important to remember that future customers are judging businesses not only on their positive reviews but also on how they handle the negative ones.
Millennials present massive opportunities and unique challenges for AV integrators. They’re a prime target for sales and with an omni-channel strategy that feeds their desire for experience and user/brand interaction, integrators will be poised to capitalize on their spending power and grow their businesses exponentially.